Water Pumps: Finding the Right Tool for the Job

Whether you have a well, a constantly flooded basement, a sprinkler system or a wastewater business, water pumps are versatile tools—but what does a water pump do, and when should you use one?

On the broadest level possible, water pumps move water from one location to another. How that goal is accomplished depends on what type of water pump you choose. Read on for an overview of the different types of water pumps and their uses.

What does a water pump do?

Water pumps use motors to create either kinetic or rotational energy, which is turned into hydrodynamic energy—that is, fluid flow. The motors move the water using positive displacement, centrifugal force and other techniques, which transport it from one location to another.

For example, positive displacement pumps have two cavities on either side of the motor. The expanding cavity is on the suction side of the machine, while the decreasing cavity is located on the discharge side. This type of pump works by suctioning up water and pushing it out. They have regular cycles in which a constant volume of water is displaced.

Centrifugal pumps use an impeller. The impeller rotates, which allows water in, then forces it out through the impeller’s tips. This increases the velocity and water pressure, which directs it through the pump’s outlet. Centrifugal pumps, unlike positive displacement pumps, have a varying flow rate.

Types of water pumps

Electric water pumps are primarily designed for indoor use. Most of them operate on 120V, so you can easily plug them into your standard wall outlets. If you choose a 220V or above pump, you will need to have an electrician install an outlet that can handle the increased load. Electric pumps typically require less maintenance than gas pumps—you won’t need to change the oil—but they’re not quite as powerful.

Gas water pumps are for outdoor use only, since they produce carbon monoxide emissions. These pumps are quite powerful, moving up to 750 gallons of water per minute. Use gas water pumps for industrial-sized jobs in which you need to move a great deal of water.

Choosing a water pump

When you pick a water pump, you’ll need to choose the right size for the job. The GPM (or gallons per minute) rating will tell you how many gallons the water pump can move at any given time. THL (total head lift) is the total distance from the water source to the destination—in other words, how well the pump can move water over a distance. Finally, suction head ratings will tell you how well the pump can move water vertically, which is important for submersible pumps. When you’re pumping water vertically, the deeper the pump, the more powerful the motor needs to be.

Choosing a water pump depends on how you plan to use it, so consider the above ratings in comparison to the job you plan to do. If you need help picking the right pump or have more questions about when to use a water pump, call Central Equipment Company today.

Read More