Weekly Intake: A Water Intake Systems Blog

4 Common Traveling Water Screen Maintenance Issues & How to Fix Them

By Michael Stock



Low chain tension, improper spray pattern and inadequate spray pressure; these are all common traveling water screen maintenance issues. Staying on top of routine maintenance schedule is key keeping your water screen system up and running with little downtime. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for during routine maintenance and a few tips to to extending the life of your intake equipment.


1. chain does not have proper tension


The drive chain is a crucial piece of the intake system puzzle. If the chain is not moving properly it can be detrimental. 

A loose chain can be detrimental because it can jump the lower sprockets or foot wheels and jam the screen. It can also drag through the boot, wearing grooves in the boot plate and eventually cutting through it completely. A loose chain can also be an indication that the joint in the chain is worn​.

Typically, fixing the tension of a chain or replacing a chain is something you can do yourself. But if you think your drive chain needs some professional attention, our maintenance technicians are always here to help with any maintenance needs. 


2. Head shaft is not level

A head shaft that is not level can lead to a whole host of problems within your traveling water screen system because it is connected to so many other parts.

When the head shaft is not level it begins to wear on the head shaft bearing unevenly. The head shaft can also push the chain out of center of the tooth pockets, wearing down and eventually jamming in the chain guides.

To correct this issue the head shaft will have to be separated from its bearing and realigned.


3. Spray pattern is not overlapping


It is very important that your traveling water screen's spray pattern is overlapping and covers the full width of the screen’s mesh. The spray needs to cover the entire width to ensure that all debris is being cleaned from the screen.

If your system is not spraying properly, there is a good chance that your spray nozzles are clogged. The nozzle will need to be removed and cleaned to get rid of the clog. To help minimize clogging in the future,  you might want to consider installing water strainers on your spray nozzles.

An improper spray pattern can also mean that your spray nozzles are worn and need to be replaced.  Need to buy some extra nozzles or other intake parts? Visit our website.  


4. Inadequate spray pressure

A spray pressure that is too low or too high can be a sign that your system needs maintenance. A spray pressure of at least 60-80 PSI is needed to ensure that debris is being properly removed. On the flip side of the coin,  if  the spray pressure is too high debris will be splashed onto clean baskets.

Low spray pressure can be a sign that spray nozzles are clogged and water is not flowing out, causing pressure to build up. A buildup of pressure could potentially damage other parts of the intake system.

Ice build up can also cause low spray pressure. If this is an issue you experience with your traveling water screen, you might want to consider installing heaters in your housings (something our maintenance technicians would be happy to do for you).


Is your traveling water screen system in need of a little TLC?

We offer a variety of services, such as:

  • Onsite topside inspections and screen evaluations
  • Yearly maintenance contracts
  • Dive services
  • System rebuilds

Visit our Intake Services page to learn more

Don't forget to download our FREE Intake System Maintenance Checklist to help with your routine maintenance!


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