On March 3rd we noticed one of  our vacuum pumps running a bit louder than usual. The very next day our Datacer system showed a vacuum level of only 18″. Before we had a chance to investigate, the vacuum ended up dropping to 0, and the next morning we found a seized up pump. This is exactly why we have a backup for every piece of equipment.

While navigating the wet area near our Robinson road pumphouse is not something we like to do, we ended up successfully swapping the pumps, though we did get the tractor stuck for a while! After hooking up the backup, we were disappointed to find that the wires leading into the motor were damaged and shorting out. This left us with a good motor attached to a bad pump and a bad motor attached to a good pump. Luckily the motors were compatible and similarly sized, after swapping a few couplings and re-attaching the motor we were up and running again! The two days without vacuum most definitely shortened the tap hole life on this property, but we ended up getting several more loads of sap before the season ended.

We’ll check out the seized pump next month. Based on the noise leading up to the seizure our guess is the bearings failed first, leading to additional failures. We’ll be sure to purchase another backup over the summer, one without wire damage, to be ready for next season!


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