Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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What Causes Water Pumps to Fail? Protect Your Pumps with These Tips

The larger your New York City property is, the more pumps you use in its day-to-day operation — for water distribution, fire suppression, boiler operation, and more. Here is a review of what causes water pumps to fail, so you can better understand what’s happening if one of your pumps is malfunctioning. We’ve also included some tips about how to fix these issues, many of which you or your management crew can try on your own before calling Antler Pumps for a service visit.

Causes of Water Pump Failure

Improper mounting or installation

Nature of the problem

Pumps must be properly secured in place to prevent excess movement that can compromise their function. Depending on the type of pump, it must be bolted or strapped into place to keep it steady. Pumps must also be level or plumb (perfectly vertical according to the force of gravity) to run correctly.

Signs to watch out for

If you notice the entire pump is moving around or making excess noise during operation, the mounting may need tending to. Some pumps may fail to turn on automatically in this situation.

Prevention tips

Most pumps should be installed by a pump specialist, like Antler Pumps. We always make sure mountings are secure, which you can check, too. In the case of devices like sump pumps, we check to ascertain that they are not tipped off the vertical, which can cause failure.

Pump too small for demand

Nature of the problem

All pumps must be the right size for the job they are to perform. When a pump is the wrong size, typically, it’s too small for the demand placed on it.

Signs to watch out for

There are multiple signs that a pump isn’t up to the task at hand, such as:

  • Running constantly when it should only be operating intermittently
  • Inadequate water pressure
  • Failure to pass sprinkler inspection test
  • Frequent breakdowns necessitating repair or replacement parts
  • Downstream problems due to reduced volume of flow
  • Water damage or sewage backup (sump pumps or sewage ejector pumps)

Prevention tips

Again, professional installation of a pump can avoid this problem. You may think you’re saving money, but in the end, it’s costing you more to buy a smaller pump for less. When you upgrade building systems or add onto your property, always consult with your pump experts to ensure your existing pumps can handle any load changes.

Reaching the end of its lifespan

Nature of the problem

Sometimes, pumps simply become too old to operate properly anymore.

Signs to watch out for

You will notice virtually all of the warning signs listed in this post when a pump nears the end of its useful life. Most importantly, it can no longer be tuned up or repaired. Sometimes parts are not available for it.

Prevention tips

Keep track of the age of your pumps and know their predicted life expectancy. Perform routine maintenance as suggested by your pump professionals. Don’t wait until little problems become bigger ones, as this can reduce any pump’s lifespan.

Inadequate water filtration

Nature of the problem

Pumps in New York City rental properties typically move thousands of gallons of water every day. If the quality of the water is not good, it can cause problems with the pump.

Signs to watch out for

Most of New York City’s water is fortunately not too hard, save for a few areas in Queens. However, sediment, rust, and other undesirable materials can still accumulate in your pumps. You’ll see this everywhere; the pump itself may become clogged, and you may notice sediment or discoloration in tap water, the boiler tank, radiators, appliances, and the like.

Prevention tips

A thorough filtration system can catch sediment and particulates further upstream from your pumps. Together with our partners at Sanitary Plumbing, we can suggest the right water filtration system for your building, whether that’s a simple strainer-type filter or something more sophisticated to treat additional issues simultaneously.

Disintegrating seals or gaskets

Nature of the problem

Seals, gaskets, and O-rings are used in pumps to prevent leaks throughout the entire pump mechanism, including on the interior of the pump. These are subject to wear and tear that make the pump less effective overall.

Signs to watch out for

As well as pump malfunction, the biggest sign of a worn, cracked, or torn gasket is leaking water. This may be a small drip or a more substantial flow.

Prevention tips

In-house pump inspections should always include checking over all seals. Call your pump specialists as soon as you notice any leaks, so new components can replace those that are no longer working properly.

Bearing or lubrication problem

Nature of the problem

Just like the pumps in your motor vehicle, water pumps use bearings and/or lubrication to prevent friction and run more smoothly. When you have excess friction, the pump may not run efficiently or may fail completely.

Signs to watch out for

Your pump may not run as it used to when bearings or lubrication need maintenance. Two telltale signs are:

  • The pump runs very hot as a result of friction and may even shut down due to overheating.
  • The pump is noisy when operating, making grinding or shrieking noises.

Prevention tips

Call your pump experts if you observe either of the two signs above. Regular pump maintenance usually catches this problem before the pump becomes damaged or fails.

Sensors not working properly

Nature of the problem

Many pumps today utilize sensors that trigger the pump to operate automatically. When the sensor malfunctions, the pump fails to turn on or off.

Signs to watch out for

Usually, when a sensor is at fault, a pump simply won’t turn on when it should. Your boiler level could get low if this happens with the automatic water feeder. When a sump pump sensor fails, you will have rising water coming up into the property. Sewage or wastewater can back up when a sewage ejector pump basin overfills due to sensor failure.

Prevention tips

Some sensors are more complex than others and may require professional attention. However, you can try this fix on your own: make sure the sensor isn’t stuck to the side of whatever vessel it sits in, whether that’s your boiler tank, sump pump basin, or sewage ejector pump basin. Sometimes that entails giving the basin a good cleaning and removing any obstacles. It may also be that the sensor or the arm that holds it needs replacing. As much as possible, we recommend pump controls to alert property owners and managers to sensor problems before they morph into serious scenarios.


Nature of the problem

Cavitation is a potentially dangerous situation where cavities or bubbles in high-pressure water, such as in a commercial boiler system, collapse. The resultant shock waves can cause permanent damage to the pump’s impeller, cause the pump to fail entirely, and even cause safety issues due to unsafe pressure.

Signs to watch out for

Boilers and other systems in which cavitation is occurring are noisy. It can sound like there’s gravel rolling around the pump, and you may see cauldron-like bubbling in the water. The pump may provide insufficient flow, vibrate, or shut off (especially if you use a control system that catches cavitation). Pitting in the metal of a pump’s impeller or corrosion is a sign of past cavitation.

Prevention tips

Depending on the type of pump involved, there are various solutions to cavitation, most of which must be implemented by a pump specialist:

  • Make sure the pump isn’t operating faster than it needs to be (slowing it down can reduce pressure).
  • Monitor the temperature of the water being pumped to ensure it’s not too high.
  • Consider using a booster pump to reduce the load on your primary pump.
  • Make certain the pump’s impeller is the right size and configuration for its task.
  • Check to be sure liquid levels are adequate at the pump’s suction side.
  • Never use a pump that’s too small for the load it has to handle.
  • Try increasing the space between the pump impeller’s vanes and the casing/shrouding (the general rule of thumb is at least four percent of the impeller’s diameter).
  • Make sure the pump and its valves have no blockages and that everything else is functioning correctly.
  • Use a pump controller to monitor the pump’s function automatically and prevent situations that lead to cavitation.

Electrical power malfunction

Nature of the problem

Most pumps these days are electrically powered. Therefore, any problems with the electrical components will affect the pump’s ability to move water.

Signs to watch out for

There are many ways electrical issues can manifest with your pump:

  • Failure to turn on
  • Pump running intermittently
  • Pump won’t shut off
  • Worn or frayed wires or other electrical elements (plugs, outlets, etc.)
  • Circuit breaker triggered or lights dim when a pump comes on
  • Shocks when touching pump components
  • Pump overheating

Prevention tips

Your pump specialist can check for electrical issues related to the pump during maintenance calls or service. Anything caused by the larger electrical system should be addressed by a licensed electrician immediately.

Are you having problems with a water pump on your property? Antler Pumps is here to help. Call us at 212-534-2500, or reach out online today to schedule an appointment.

Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
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  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

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The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Omnia Mechanical Group, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

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The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Omnia Mechanical Group. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

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Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

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The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

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10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

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This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: