The stuffing box area is getting hot

There could be several reasons for the exra heat:

Too much heat is being generated at the seal faces. Remember that unbalanced seals generate more heat than balanced seals.

  • The carbon is being insulated by a gasket of some type and cannot dissipate the heat.
  • You are using high friction face materials. Two hard faces usually generate more heat than carbon vs. a hard face.
  • The carbon-graphite seal faces are positioned too far away from the circulating barrier or buffer fluid in a dual seal application. Carbon-graphite is a poor conductor of heat compared to either silicon or tungsten carbide hard faces.
  • The faces are running dry.
    • The stuffing box has not been vented. This is especially important in vertical applications.
    • You do not have a barrier fluid between the seals in a dual seal application.
  • You have lost an environmental control.
    • Flushing has been shut off.
    • The quenching connection is not operating.
    • The cooling jacket is clogged or not functioning for some reason.
    • The discharge or suction recirculation line is clogged.
    • The barrier fluid has stopped circulating in a dual seal application or you are using oil as a barrier fluid. Oil has a low specific heat and poor conductivity making it a poor choice as a heat transfer medium. If you must use oil as the barrier fluid you may have to forsake convection and go to a forced circulation system or a pumping ring.
    • An API (American Petroleum Institute) type gland has been piped incorrectly
  • Poor heat conductivity of the hard face. Silicon carbide is better than 99.5 ceramic.
  • There is too much spring load on the seal faces:
    • A wrong installation measurement.
    • The impeller was adjusted after the seal was installed. Any pump impeller that adjusts against the back plate has this problem. Durco pumps are a good example.
    • Excessive axial movement of the shaft.
    • Thermal expansion

A seal component is rubbing the inside diameter of the stuffing box or against a product that has attached its self to the inside of the stuffing box. Hard water forms calcium deposits and petroleum fluids can form coke solids at elevated temperature.

  • The seal is not concentric with the shaft.
  • The shaft is out of balance.
  • The shaft is bent.
  • The pump and driver are misaligned
  • There is a pipe strain problem.

The sleeve, shaft or rotating seal is hitting a stationary component.

  • A protruding gasket or fitting.
  • A bushing in the bottom of the stuffing box.
  • A thermometer well could be penetrating into the stuffing box.

A foreign object is loose in the stuffing box.

A suction recirculation line was used to lower stuffing box pressure. The high velocity re-circulation in this line is heating up the return line.

Here are some ways you can control the stuffing box temperature to prevent premature seal failure.


  • On February 18, 2018