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Why Waste Water? Replace Gland Packing in Pumps with Mechanical Seals

Today, we're celebrating World Environment Day! 🌎 And even though we should appreciate our environment every day, today we're taking the opportunity to highlight a simple way to save water: switching to mechanical seals on pumps. This small change in industrial practices can have a huge impact on our planet, potentially saving an incredible 25 billion gallons of water each year.


Gland packings are typically applied to rotary equipment, such as steam valves and pumps, or for static sealing operations on boiler joints. They rely on compression to create a seal, unlike mechanical seals which use a rotating and stationary element to form a barrier.

Advantages of Mechanical Seals

Mechanical seals offer several advantages over traditional gland packing. The biggest benefit is their energy efficiency, but another huge advantage is their ability to withstand higher pressures and temperatures. The robustness of these types of seals mean they're less prone to leaks, which reduces risk of accidents, environmental harm, and equipment failures.

Four key advantages of mechanical seals:

  • Superior Sealing Capabilities: Mechanical seals can handle a wide range of fluids, including corrosive and abrasive substances, making them more versatile and reliable.

  • Energy Efficiency: Reduced friction on the shaft leads to lower energy consumption, saving costs and reducing the carbon footprint of operations.

  • Reduced Maintenance Costs: Mechanical seals need less frequent replacements compared to gland packing, which is prone to wear and tear. This means lower maintenance costs and less operational downtime.

  • Decreased Breakdowns and Improved Performance: With better sealing capabilities and reduced maintenance needs, mechanical seals contribute to smoother, uninterrupted operations.

Mechanical seal and gland packing

Challenges in Implementation

Despite the obvious benefits, transitioning from gland packing to mechanical seals is not without its challenges. The primary obstacles include:

  1. Initial Setup Costs: Mechanical seals are more expensive to install than gland packing. This upfront investment can be a significant barrier for some companies.

  2. Specialised Knowledge and Equipment: Installing and maintaining mechanical seals require more specialised knowledge and equipment (cough, that's where deckpro can help 😜).

  3. Persuading the Industry: Convincing companies across various industries to make the switch would be an uphill struggle. It requires a concerted effort to educate and persuade stakeholders about the long-term benefits and cost savings.

A Sustainable Path Forward

The push to replace gland packing with mechanical seals is about more than just water conservation. It’s about embracing sustainability and efficiency in all aspects of industrial operations. By making this shift, companies can significantly reduce water wastage, decrease their environmental impact, and improve the overall performance and reliability of their equipment.

However, if your pump is older or less efficient, gland packing may be a better option as it is more forgiving of misalignment and vibration. Or a better option still, talk to us about upgrading your whole pump system and we'll help calculate the savings and wider benefits of doing so.

The journey may be uphill and the initial costs may not be budgeted for, but the payoff—in terms of water saved, operational efficiency, and environmental impact—makes it an investment well worth pursuing. Industries have the opportunity to lead by example, showcasing how embracing advanced technology and sustainable practices can yield substantial benefits for both business and the planet.

What's Next

Get in touch with us to discuss your pump and seal options. We'll provide open and honest advice, delivering solutions that take into account your needs, budget and site application.

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