Concrete Pump Troubleshooting: Locating A Blockage

24 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog

When compared to other methods of concrete delivery such as wheelbarrow use, the use of concrete pumps usually reduces most of the stress involved in concrete construction. Since it reduces the amount of spills in a given construction project, it is a good way of keeping costs in control. It is a faster method of concrete delivery and can also make delivery of concrete to hard-to-reach areas easier since all that one has to do is point the discharge hose in the right direction.

However, all these concrete pump advantages can evaporate when a pump gets blocked. This may be because of the use of the wrong mix, inadequate pump horsepower or malfunctions that occur due to improper set up. In such cases, locating and fixing the blockage is all that matters. Here are tips that will help you with locating the concrete pump blockage.

Note the rate of pressure build-up

An easy way to tell whether your pump is blocked or not is to look at the pressure gauge. A consistent increase in the pressure gauge reading is a reliable indication of increased resistance that is caused by a concrete pump blockage. What is even better is that you can tell where the blockage is located by observing the rate at which the pressure rises. If it builds up at a relatively fast rate, then the blockage is likely located within the pump or at the reducer – the connection point of the piping system and the concrete pump. However, if the rate of build-up is slow, then you are dealing with a blockage that is located down the piping system.

Use a hammer to tap along the pipeline

A section of a pipeline that is filled with concrete usually produces a different sound from one that is empty. This makes for a good way to detect areas of blockage. All that you need for this method to work is a hammer. Tap along the lines of the pipeline system while paying special attention to the elbows of the system. Take note of the sounds produced. If you hear a ringing sound, then that area is clear. Any sections that produce a thud are the ones you will want to concentrate on. They are the likely culprits.

Inspect for grout leaks

Cement grout is what makes it possible for a concrete mix to flow smoothly through a pump's pipes. When it leaks, it robs the mixture of the ability to move through the pipes. The increase in friction is what may then encourage concrete pipe blockages. Therefore, if you find grout leaks in the piping system, joints that come after the leak points are likely to be the source of your concrete pump blockage problems. In such a case, simply sealing the leak may be enough to stop future blockages. Contact a business, such as Oesterling's Concrete Co Inc, for more information.