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What Is Pump Testing?

K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning

Pump testing is a method by which a wide variety of pumps is evaluated for efficiency, safety, and overall function. The process is commonly completed annually as a part of regular maintenance. Pumps can also be tested before they are purchased in order to ensure that they are able to handle anticipated flow. The tests can be performed on equipment such as fuel, sump, or water pumps.

Two of the most common specific elements evaluated during pump testing are fluid pressure and flow. By measuring these things, it is possible to determine if a pipe has proper capacity for the level of fluid it processes. These elements can also show whether energy is being used efficiently.


Pump testing can be done one pump at a time or with an entire pump station. While testing individual pumps can help in troubleshooting specific problems, testing all pumps at once can help a professional to gauge whether the system as a whole is performing adequately. The pump testing process typically includes both kinds of testing as there are strong benefits to both big picture analysis and fine tuning. It is also possible that a pump will function differently alone than it will with other pumps. One that may be acceptable on its own could fail to perform when run with the rest of the system.

The flow meter is the primary tool used in most pump testing. It is attached to the pump, where it then records the amount of power used. The meter also evaluates the difference between outer and inner fluid pressure. Tests usually consist of a series of small tests performed at timed intervals.

Pump testing can be performed by in-house personnel or outsourced. If it is done by employees, often the best results come from the individuals who regularly work with the pumping system. There are also testing facilities where equipment can be brought in for examination.

Most organizations will have guidelines for perform a pump test. These can include instructions for the testing process or a list of standards that the equipment must meet. There may even be scoring systems that can be used to measure the adequacy of the pump. By having guidelines for these tests, an organization is more likely to have uniform results, which can ease the process of potential troubleshooting and repair.

In addition to general pump testing, there are also thermodynamic pump tests. These focus only on the amount of power used and temperature changes. They are most often performed to ensure efficient use of energy and safety.

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