Note: This tutorial addresses electric powered pumps only. While most of the information here also applies to fuel powered pumps the formulas don’t! You must use different formulas for calculating the size and flow information for fuel powered pumps. If you have an engine powered pump (gas, diesel, propane, corn liquor, etc.) you should contact the pump manufacturer and request a copy of the pump performance curve. As a general rule, fuel powered pumps require more horsepower than electric pumps. Let’s look at the major types of pumps, with a focus on those commonly used for irrigation systems.
(If you just jumped to this page without reading the first page of the tutorial you may be making a big mistake. Please take a look at the consumer warnings on the first page of the tutorial so you don’t get ripped off!)
There are numerous types of pumps designed for various purposes. Pumps commonly used for irrigation fall into two broad categories: Displacement Pumps and Centrifugal Pumps. Within those categories there are sub-categories that further define the type of pump. This tutorial will focus on those types of pumps most often used for irrigation.
Continue reading Pumps Step 2: Types of Water Pumps
Q. I have a shallow well that was drilled this summer and a centrifugal pump pulling up about 15 gallons/min (HAPPY!). The problem, it will only produce somewhere around 30psi (sad!). Am I able to add a booster pump to this setup to produce more psi or should I just forget it and go for a submersible pump? Obviously the booster pump would save me $…
A. You can add a booster pump but it is tricky. The flow range of the booster pump needs to match that of the existing well pump. Using two pumps will probably use considerably more electricity than a single new pump, especially if it is a submersible. Submersibles are by nature more efficient than a centrifugal pump at the top of the well and now you are adding the friction drag of two pumps rather than one. I can’t tell you how much the electricity cost difference would be, that’s beyond my knowledge level. But ongoing electricity cost is certainly something to look at.
Essentially when you couple two pumps together they are going to have to play nice with each other. You don’t want one to over-power the other and do most all the work while the other just causes drag. Plus you need to deal with the wiring issues and how you will start the two pumps. Hopefully they would both stay primed so, in most cases, you could start them both together using the irrigation controller connected to a relay connected to the pumps. You might need two relays if the pumps exceed the capacity of the relay.
Finally you will need to deal with figuring out if and how you will handle problems such as the malfunction of one of the pumps. If one burns out the drag created by the burned out pump could very quickly burn out the other. Hopefully you would quickly notice the problem, since the irrigation system would not work well at all if only one pump was running. But what if you were on vacation when it happened?
You probably should get a local pump professional who knows his/her stuff and has experience with two pump systems to help you if you use two pumps.
Basically if you want to keep this a simple do-it-yourself project I’m thinking buying a new submersible for your well would be the better way to go.