Most Common Causes of Mechanical Seal Failure


Rubber glove blocks suction, burn-up seal.
Rubber glove blocks suction, burn-up seal.

       At EMC, we recognize that one of the most frustrating encounters for operators are mechanical seal failures. “The most common cause of pump downtime is a mechanical seal failure.”1 Sometimes a mechanical seal can fail simply due to normal wear & tear. However, there are more common causes for failures of mechanical seals. One common cause of mechanical seal failures, especially here in Harris county, Texas is due to heat causing mechanical seals to deteriorate. If the temperature limit of a seal has been exceeded, then the seal will have “…lost its elasticity (compression set) or become hard.”2 Similarly, damage done to a seal during its installation can also lead to failure. Not only that, but a seal made out of material not appropriate to its intended function can also lead to a mechanical seal failure: “…seals that fail very quickly, or never seal at all upon start-up, are typically victims of seal-installation damage or simply improper installation of the seal.”3 Excessive vibrations can also cause seals, as well as machines, to fail: “Pump vibration can be caused by improper alignment… These vibrations damage the machine and lead to reduced seal life.”4 One other possible cause for why a mechanical seal may fail can be due to letting a pump run dry: “…If the seals run dry, the friction will cause heat to accumulate, and cause damage – causing thermal shock. Your seal can disintegrate just 30 seconds after heating up!”5 Regardless of what may have caused a mechanical seal to fail, we here at EMC are experts at diagnosing such problems and we are very happy to help you diagnose and solve whatever your problem with mechanical seals and pumps may be.


2  https://www.mechanicalseals.net/SealFailure.htm


4  same as 1

5  same as 1