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June 27, 2024 — Kent Clark

Generally, no. Centrifugal pumps are not reversible with the exception of some liquid ring pumps and using them in reverse can cause a lot of damage to them. Two major reasons why are the impellers and the pump casing.

Centrifugal pump impellers are often shaped under the assumption that they will be used in a single direction. 

SEN 15 Impeller

A SEN-15 pump impeller and an RVN helicoidal pump impeller. Both are shaped in ways that would inhibit function if run in reverse.

Another thing to keep in mind is the volute within the pump head. This is shaped to direct fluid in one direction. The impeller spins the liquid in a CCW direction and the centrifugal forces sends it out of the volute (casing) though the discharge. The result is that if your pump is running in reverse you will see greatly reduced performance because the flow is no longer in the direction of the outlet.

Finally, a lot of centrifugal pump impellers are threaded on to the dirve shaft. If the pump runs in reverse the impeller can unthread and violently impact the front of the volute causing extensive damage to both items.

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