Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Pumps and Motors

Moving water from the source to where consumers will use it frequently requires a pump.

The type of pump depends on the type of water source (e.g., river intake versus well) and the pump capacity must be sufficient to provide enough water to meet the needs of your customers.

Pumps, Generally Speaking

In theory, a pump and motor combination adds energy to the water, which in turn forces the water through the pipes. A pump installation typically consists of a pump, electric motor, and controls. The pump moves the water from its inlet to its outlet and a motor is attached to the pump providing the energy to move the water. The controls automatically turn the pump on and off in response to the demand for water. Some examples of control devices are switches that respond to water level and pressure.

Common Types of Water Pumps

Pump and motor combinations that are typical for small water systems include:

Jet Pump

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Jet pumps utilize a suction pipe submerged in the water source to feed water to the pump, which, along with the motor, is located above the water source in a dry location within the pumphouse. A foot valve located on the suction pipe keeps the pump primed with water when not in use.

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Submersible Well Pump

A submersible well pump and motor are suitable for installation in a deep well. The electric motor and cables are sealed and therefore can operate underwater. The motor is located below the pump unit and water enters the lower portion of the pump and flows through its top end onward to the discharge piping.

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Verticle Turbine Pump

A vertical turbine pump may be used in a shallow well and the pump unit is submerged in the water. The electric motor is not suitable for submerging in water and therefore is located at the main floor level of a pumphouse atop a discharge head.

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Hand Pump

In some small systems hand pumps may be utilized. They are simple to operate and do not require complex electrical or mechanical equipment. Hand pumps are limited in the quantity of water that they are able to provide.

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Choosing a Pump and Motor

Pump and motor ciombinations each have capacities to suit particular applications. Specifically, pumps have different flow and pressure characteristics, and motors vary in horsepower, voltage, and amperage

A deep well, for instance, needs a submersible pump and motor combination that takes the depth of the well into account.

*NB: It’s important to note that selection of pumping equipment may affect other system components such as water treatment equipment.

Operating and Maintaining Pumps and Motors

Pumps and motors should be operated and maintained as specified by the manufacturer.

It’s a good idea to keep a supply of replacement parts for your pump and motor.