Everything you need to know about submersible pumps
If you are looking for a detailed guide to submersible pumps, then you have landed in the right place. On this page, you will find everything you need to know - from how they work, to what they are used for, to tips for buying the right one.
How do they work?
Submersible pumps are also known as submersible water pumps, electric submersible pumps (often shortened to ESP) and sump pumps. As you might have guessed, they get their name from the way they work - by being submerged in fluid (usually water) and then pumped. The motor is fully protected by a hermetic seal. They are different to most pumps because they push fluid upwards, instead of pulling it along. In this way, they are very energy efficient, when compared to other types of pumps.
What are submersible water pumps used for?
They are used for a wide variety of purposes and in a wide variety of contexts including draining pools or in sump pits. They are popular for both domestic and industrial applications all over the world.
These types of pumps are very common in backyards around Australia because they are very effective when it comes to filtering and keeping water clean. Some popular domestic uses for them include drainage, gardening (especially watering), collection of rain water, removal of ground water, removal of stormwater and extraction of water from underground. If your house is in a high-risk area for bush fires, then it can be good idea to have a pump on hand. What's more, it can make the job of washing your car or boat much, much easier.
Meanwhile, in industrial contexts, sump pumps are frequently used for large-scale movement of fluid, offshore drilling, and general pumping, especially when a lot
of power is needed.
What are the different types of submersible pumps for sale?
Not all pumps are the same. In fact, it is important that the right pump is applied to the right task, to avoid breakdown and, in some cases, hazards.
While some submerged pumps operate when you plug them into power, others are automatic. If you have the former, you must switch it on and off before and after use. Should you leave it running too long, causing the water around to dry up, the pump can become damaged. The majority of pumps that must be switched on and off can handle water levels as low as five centimetres. To reduce this to as low as three millimetres, you should invest in a puddle pump (often referred to a puddle sucker), which can work even when only partly underwater. For this reason, puddle pumps are often used on flat surfaces, such as cellar floors and roofs.
In contrast, automatic pumps detect water levels and switch themselves on and off automatically. All you have to do is set the water levels before the pump gets going. Automatic pumps work this way because they are fitted with float switches. The catch is that they need some surrounding room to work properly, so they are not well suited to very small spaces.
It's also worth keeping in mind that many pumps are designed for particular types of water. For example, some are built for clean water, others for grey water and others still for soiled water.
Once you have decided which submerged pump is right for you, it is crucial to think about what size pump you need. Please read on to find out about that. You will notice that pump prices vary, depending on what type of pump you buy, and how powerful it is.
Tips for buying submersible pumps
Before making a purchase, you should be clear on what you will be using it for. Different types of pumps are built to do different kinds of jobs. For example, if you want a pump to act as a filter for a body of water in your backyard, then a small pump will do the trick. But, for an industrial level job, such as pulling water up from underground, then you should consider a larger pump.
The next step is to figure out how much power you need. For example, if you are buying a pump for domestic use, then you must calculate how much water needs to be circulated and how often. In a medium-sized body of water without any underwater life, circulation should occur about once every two hours. But, if you keep fish, then you'll need to increase the frequency because the water gets dirty more quickly. Furthermore, if you're planning on swimming in the water, then it should be pumped for about 6-8 hours per day. But, should you notice at any point that the water appears unclean, increase the pumping time by half an hour lots, until it is consistently crystal clear.
To be more specific, you need to compare the pump curve to the requirements you have for the job you are trying to do. This will allow you to ensure you have the right flow rate and pressure. Are you in any doubt about how much pumping power you need? Feel free to get in touch with our friendly staff members - they are always happy to answer questions.
Thirdly, you should pay attention to quality and reliability. It can be tempting to buy cheap equipment, but this often means poor workmanship and lack of technical support. It is better to pay a higher submersible pump price and enjoy peace of mind than take a risk. Whenever possible, go with a trusted brand, such as Sparkle, Zenit or DAB. That way, you can be rest assured you are investing in a durable, long-lasting product from a company offering excellent company service. You will be unlikely to face any problems, but, if you do, you will usually be able to get assistance easily and affordably.
What are the advantages of the submersible water pump?
There are many benefits - from ease of use to increased energy efficiency to aesthetics. First of all, there is no need for priming. Priming refers to the act of putting water into a pump's casing, to prevent an air lock and allow it to work. But, with a submersible pump, you simply have to place it under water. That means less effort on your part!
Secondly, a submerged pump is usually much more efficient than another type of pump. Most pumps need energy to pull in water and push it along. But, with a sump pump, this happens automatically. That is better for you, because it means reduced electricity bills, and, of course, it is a bonus for the environment, too. Unnecessary, excessive energy use is a major contributor to climate change. Choose a solar powered pump and you will be doing the planet an even bigger favour.
Thirdly, the fact that this type of pump operates under water means that, unlike an above ground pump, it is not an eyesore. Plus, it is difficult to hear. If you have put a lot of time into landscaping and care about keeping your backyard beautiful, this is a serious plus. No one need know your pump is even there. You can go about hosting alfresco dinners, outdoor gatherings and parties without having to think twice.
A fourth benefit of these types of pumps is that you can usually find one to suit your needs, applications and budget. As you can see from 4 Pumps' selection on this page, there is a large variety of gear for sale. All you have to do is work out what type of sump pump is best - be it automatic, magnetic switch automatic or one that is switched on and off by hand.
What are the disadvantages?
So, is there a bad side to the submersible water pump? There are not really any disadvantages, but it is important to take good care of your pump. It should be fully submerged whenever in use - the water keeps the motor cool, stopping it from overheating and malfunctioning.
Also, as with all equipment, you must make sure that you look after it carefully. If crucial parts become corroded, then the pump's performance might be reduced and, in severe cases, damage can occur. For example, if the seals start to leak, then water can slip into the pump's motor, preventing it from working altogether. The longer you leave damaged parts, the more expensive - and lengthy - the repair process.
Tips for maintenance
Before thinking about maintaining your pump, you should make sure it is installed properly. Poor or careless installation can create problems down the track. For example, if the pump's wires are positioned so that they come into regular contact with a hard surface, such as the walls of a well, they are highly likely to become worn out over time, due to abrasion. Unless you are experienced in installing pumps, your best bet is to employ an expert. Sure, this will cost you some extra money in the short term, but it will lead to significant savings in the long term.
Once your submerged pump is installed correctly, maintenance is fairly straightforward. The trick is to keep an eye on things on a regular basis. For a start, if you see any debris floating near the pump, then remove it as soon as possible. This might include leaves, rocks and unidentifiable bits and pieces. If these are left too long, then they might cause clogging. It is particularly important to do a clean up following bad weather, especially strong winds or storms.
Secondly, have a close look at the pump's lines and screen from time to time, to make sure that there is no clogging. If you live in an area where there is snow fall, then the line is also at risk of becoming frozen. Should you notice any blockage, clear it immediately, as long as it is safe to do so (please see below for safety precautions).
While you are checking the line, also check the float. For the automatic switch to work correctly, the float must be able to move without any obstruction. This is very important because, if the automatic mechanism fails, then the pump might continue working, even after its surroundings have dried up, leading to damage.
It is also important to test the float once every few months. You can do this by adding water around the pump and watching what happens. If the float is working properly, it will rise with the water, kicking the pump into action. Is the pump doing nothing? You might have a fault on your hands.
Another crucial element of maintenance is observing performance. Keep a record of the pump's activity. For example, if you use it to draw water from underground, then take note of how much water is obtained and of the pump's readings, in terms of electricity use. Should you happen to notice any changes at all - be they gradual or sudden, your pump needs a closer inspection. Get in touch with a professional.
Are there any safety issues?
When using and maintaining an electric submersible pump, it is vital to keep safety in mind, to avoid injury or death. Electrocution is one of the main risks. If any electrical work is needed, then you should not try it yourself, but call a fully qualified electrician.
In general, when performing maintenance, be very careful. Before handling the pump, take a good look at the power cord and plug. If either is damaged in any way, then do not touch it. Note that deterioration can occur quickly and unexpectedly, especially if the pump has come into contact with an unusual liquid, or has been in use for a long time and is wearing out. Also, be aware that, if the motor has burnt out or if water has entered the motor through leaky seals, then the pump can be dangerous. And, as with any electrical equipment, it is always a good idea to unplug before touching - even when the switch is off, the pump can still be live.