Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Water pumps. An introduction to their types and functions

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If we live in a city, we may not give too much importance to how the water we use daily reaches our home. Even small cities often have a home supply network, so all we need to know is how to turn on the tap to get the precious item. However, if we move beyond a city, the situation will surely be different. The water supply is now independent from our neighbor, because each home has its own well and mechanical system to extract the water. At the heart of every exhaust system is a bomb, and this is just a simple example of the vast universe of water pumps.

What is a water pump for?

Today the use of water pumps extends to a wide variety of commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural applications, covering various situations such as the following:

  • Drain water from a basement.
  • Draw water from a well.
  • Moving water from one place to another, even at different levels of the ground.
  • Increase the water pressure or flow.
  • Empty and fill pools, ponds, or hot tubs.
  • Drain shallow areas that are flooded.
  • Water lawns or agricultural areas in a traditional way or by sprinkling.
  • Distribute fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Perform various tasks in the construction area.

What are the main types of water pumps?

Of the many classifications of water pumps, we are going to review only the most useful ones, which respond precisely to our needs.

To this end, a first classification is based on two extremely important parameters: the type of energy that receives the pump motor to run and the primary use of the bomb.

There is a wide variety of single feed systems Water Pump: electricity (AC and DC voltage), fuel (gasoline or diesel), steam, water, hydraulic systems, natural gas systems, pneumatic or compressed air systems, manual systems (remember the old well pumps) and power systems solar. Of all, we will only deal with those with the greatest current commercialization: electricity and fuel.

Regarding the use of the pump, we have seen that there is also a wide variety. However, there are four fundamental applications and those are detailed in the graph that follows. It should be noted that, regardless of the type or application and in addition to the surface ones, the water pumps can also be submersible, that is, they can be introduced into the liquid that we need to lift or extract.

Classification of water pumps

A second classification, a little more technical, is the one that groups the water pumps according to their operating mode. In this case we have two main types:

a) Centrifugal pumps

They use a rotating impeller to move the water in the pump and pressurize the discharge flow. They can process all kinds of liquids (water, wine, milk, etc.), even low viscosity ones. These pumps work well with light liquids and high flow rates. Most common uses:

  • Buildings: pump the water supply and in places where suction lift is not required.
  • Water wells: water supply systems for domestic use.
  • Fire protection systems: provide a source of continuous pressure, but these pumps must meet the relevant standards.
  • Hot water circulation: to move water in a closed system that requires small hydrostatic head.
  • Cesspools: can be horizontal or vertical water pumps, operated by an automatic switch controlled by the float.
  • General applications: increase the pressure in the water intake.

b) Volumetric or positive displacement pumps

They supply a fixed amount of flow through mechanical contraction and expansion of a flexible diaphragm. They can be reciprocating type or rotary type, and are ideal in many industries that handle high viscosity liquids or where sensitive solids are present. They are recommended for low flow / high pressure combinations, high viscosity liquids or other applications.

Components and operation of water pumps

Beyond the differences inherent to each type of pump, in general we can identify a series of components common to any class of Water Pump. The following graphic mentions and describes them.

Main components of water pumps

Main components of water pumps

In the figure below we see the components of a pump for clean water, used in domestic applications, gardens and rainwater intake, ponds, streams and wells.

Parts of a water pump

Parts of a water pump

  1. Pressure tap (male thread R1)
  2. Screw for water drainage
  3. Pressure gauge
  4. Suction connector (R1 male thread)
  5. Screw for water filling
  6. Pressure switch
  7. Power switch

The operation of both water pumps and electric water pumps is very similar and the centrifugal pumps They are, by far, those with the highest production in the world because they allow the mobilization of much more water.

In the following videos we can learn how a centrifugal pump of water, as well as other interesting details.

What are the water pumps that the market offers?

In a future article we will focus on how we should proceed to choose the Water Pump that best meets our needs and what characteristics we have to consider.

However, and returning to the concept of the first figure of this note, it will be useful if we already know some of the water pumps The best-selling in the trade that are extremely useful for the most common needs and that, in many cases, are also portable.

Motor pumps: They are generally the most powerful pumps, equipped with 4-stroke engines, but they are not submersible. Its fundamental application is in places where there is no access to electrical connections and we want fast work with extensive autonomy of use. They can extract clean or residual water from ponds, streams, fountains, barrels and rainwater cisterns, and their recommended uses are for traditional irrigation or sprinkling of green areas, orchards and gardens. They are also used as pumps to provide a uniform flow at all times, or in heavy work.

Electric pumps for clean water (not potable): also called household pumps, are mainly used for traditional irrigation or sprinkling of green areas, orchards and gardens, extraction of water from ponds, streams, springs or barrels / cisterns of rainwater, supply of service water and pumping of clean fresh water, water from rain or water with a slight foam content.

Combined electric pumps for clean (non-potable) / waste water: They are especially suitable for the rapid emptying of tanks, ditches or flooded basements, and can be used for clean water and dirty water containing dirt particles up to a size of between 20 and 30 mm in diameter.

Electric pumps for waste water: Similar to combination pumps, except that they are specially designed for dirty water with a particle size of, according to the manufacturer, up to about 40 mm in diameter.

Garden pumps: They are special for watering gardens, they deliver a large flow of water and are powerful. They can also be used for sprinkler irrigation and even for the extraction of water from ponds, streams and springs or barrels / cisterns of rainwater.

Submersible pumps: They are electric pumps and their main application is to extract water from, for example, wells, reservoirs, fountains or cisterns at depths that, depending on the model and manufacturer, can reach up to more than 30 meters. They are designed with a special casing that protects them from oxidation and corrosion, and they do not depend on air pressure to drive the liquid, since being submerged they can transport it to greater distances.

Deep Well Pumps: They are also submersible type electric pumps, with the difference that they have greater power and are therefore especially suitable for wells up to more than 60 meters deep.

Pumps for pressure (drinking water): are the typical electric pumps used in buildings to drive mains water, from a cistern at street level to the tank (s) on the terrace. They can also draw water from a well for the provision of treated water or for irrigation. The advantage of pressure (or jet) pumps is that they are compact and, depending on their power, they can push water up to a height of 30 meters. They are also ideal for small spaces, such as cabins, mobile homes or individual homes.

New tendencies

Solar pumps: a clean technology

The solar water pumps they are a cost-effective and reliable method of supplying water in situations where water resources must be spread over long distances, electricity supply is scarce or non-existent, or where fuel and maintenance costs are considerable. They can be surface or even submersible solar pumps, as we see in the following figure.

Submersible pump

Submersible pump

They are specifically designed to operate on DC supplied from solar panels and have been optimized to operate, if necessary, in low solar light. Unlike conventional AC motor pumps, solar pumps can operate over a wide range of voltage and current, and move smaller volumes of water over an extended period, requiring much less energy and minimizing the size and cost of the pumps. photovoltaic panels or generators.

What main applications does a solar pump have? Let us mention a few:

  • Supply of drinking water for homes and cabins outside the home network.
  • Water supply for livestock (it is the most widespread use of solar pumping systems).
  • Aquaculture for aeration, circulation and thawing.
  • Small-scale irrigation.

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