A water booster pump helps increase the pressure and volume of water that flows from your faucet or shower head. Low water pressure can make simple tasks like bathing or brushing your teeth a hassle, but a booster pump could be the perfect solution. John Woodard, our Master Water Specialist, answers your most frequently asked questions about booster pumps.
What is a booster pump?
A booster pump is just like it sounds. It is a pump that boosts pressure and flow. The pump could be for a household, or moving water from a tank, or for a commercial application.
How does a booster pump work?
A booster pump works just like a fan. It has blades that spin around, and it boosts the air movement. That's what a booster pump does. It has a blade like a fan inside and it's boosting water pressure in the same fashion.
What are the components of a booster pump?
The booster pump has very significant components and no matter who the manufacturer is, they're pretty much the same. They have a motor which makes the impellers spin. The impeller is what moves the water. They have an inlet and an outlet. This pump has a sensing device that helps manage and maintain a level of pressure.
How are booster pumps used?
Booster pumps are used in a variety of applications. We go back to the root word of the product, booster. When we are in a household that doesn't get enough pressure from the city supply, for example, a booster pump would be a great application to increase pressure and flow through the entire house. Another application might be to re-pressurize water from a tank. If you collect water into a tank, like a rain harvesting system, in order to use it, you've got to pump it out of the tank and into the house, whether you're flushing toilets or using it for laundry, for example. You would use a booster pump to move that water.
An example of a booster pump in installation or application would be in a household where you want to improve pressure and you want to improve flow rates. In this particular instance, we've got a booster pump in the basement that is right on the line as it enters the house. The outlet of the booster pump improves pressure to the kitchen, to the bathrooms, and the showers. This is one of many, many types of installations.
How do you install a booster pump?
A booster pump installs a where you're going to need to move water from. For example, in a household with low pressure, you should install the pump on the main line is it comes into the house. Plug the inlet in and then the outlet goes to the back to the plumbing supply. Always have a bypass, just in case something happens or the pump doesn't work right. You can bypass the pump and still get water into the house. It's very important. The other thing that you want to make sure you do is have a way that you can test the pump without having to run water through the house. Sometimes, a leak can occur and the pump will cycle because you have very little flow rate. The pump will turn on and run for a second and then turn back off.
Water booster pumps are activated by flow rate or they're activated by pressure or both. If you've got a leak, it's important to be able to isolate the pump to test it to make sure the pump's not the problem, and then, you can solve the leak problem. To review, you plug in the inlet, and the outlet goes to back to the house-pulled line. Don't forget to put a bypass in case you after ever have to go around the pump.
Another thing to think about with installation is pump vibration. If you hard plumbed them into copper plumbing in the house, the pump vibration will carry into the plumbing, and your whole plumbing system will make noise because of that vibration. So it's a good idea to always use a flex connector for the inlet and the outlet so that the pump vibration doesn't carry into your plumbing system.
How do you size a booster pump?
To find the right booster pump for your application:
- Figure out what you're looking for-- Do you have a two-story, four-bedroom, one-bathroom house?
- Are you moving water a significant distance?
- Is the water you're drawing from quite a few feet away, or are you going down into a well supply?
All of those questions are going to play into which booster pump is best for you. Some pumps have a single impeller. It's not going to be very good at drawing water. So that's not what you would use for drawing water from a distance. Let's say you had an intake out in the pond and you're using this pump as an irrigation pump. If you're pumping water up a long way, you got to have something with a little beef or some horsepower to move the water. Water weighs eight pounds per gallon. And if you've got a one-inch pipe that goes up quite a few feet, that can turn into a significant amount of weight that the pump has to push. So all of those elements play into which pump is right for that application.
Do I need a booster pump?
A person's going to need a booster pump when they need boosted water pressure or a higher flow rate. And it could be a variety of applications-- pressurizing a household as low on pressure, bringing water out of a storage tank, pumping water from a lake or a pond, or maybe even an industrial application where an appliance or some type of apparatus needs a lot of water at a higher pressure. A booster pump can work in all of those applications.
Will a booster pump enhance pressure and/or flow rate?
A booster pump boosts water pressure and, in many cases, improves the flow rate. As it's running, the fan blade pushes water at a faster rate, at a higher pressure. Now there's a pump curve to keep in mind-- as the pressure goes up, the flow rate comes down. Think about a garden hose that you put your thumb over. All of a sudden, the water's coming out at a very high pressure, but our flow rate is restricted because of our thumb. A booster pump works in that same fashion. It can provide a lot of water at a high flow rate at a very low pressure. So if I was just pumping water out of the pump without any kind of restriction, just open out to the front yard, it would provide a lot of flow rate. But if I start putting this into the plumbing of the house, and I've got elbows and we're going uphill and we're running through a kitchen faucet, then the flow rate's going to be a lot slower and I'm going to have higher pressure.
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