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Water Pumps FAQ's

1. What is a water pump?

A mechanical device that is used to move water from one point to another. There are several different types of water pumps that are suitable for specific applications. A water pump is generally used when the pressure supplied by the municipal water supply is not adequate to give the desired pressure and volume of water.

2. How does a pump work?

There are several designs of pumps, however, generally pumps on the whole use a motor and an impeller to add energy in some form to the water, thus increasing the speed and or pressure of the water coming into the pump. Different types of pumps are designed to highlight or improve on a particular performance feature that we may require, for instance: some pumps increase the pressure but not too much volume, where others increase volume significantly but not too much pressure.

3. What types of water pumps do we stock and what are they used for?

We stock several types of domestic and industrial pumps. Domestic pumps are those that are generally used in homes, while industrial pumps are usually found in applications where much larger volumes and water pressure is required. Industrial pumps are also defined by the size of the inlet and outlet; for example on larger municipal mains such as pipes that are larger than 2 inches in diameter. Mains in Trinidad can be up to 6 inches in diameter, while pipes used in domestic installations are usually 3/4 inch diameter.

The main types of water pumps we stock are as follows;

A. Centrifugal water pumps: a pump that moves water by centrifugal force developed by rapid rotation of an impeller. As the rotating impeller whirls the water around, centrifugal force builds up pressure forcing the water through the discharge outlet. These pumps are ideal for domestic and industrial water system applications. There are both single and multiple stage pumps in this category, a multi stage pump simply has more than one impeller on the same shaft, and it's like having several pumps in one!!

B. Self-priming jet pumps: shallow well jet pumps are practical for wells or reservoirs that require a total pumping lift of less than 5.5 m (18 ft).

The three main components of the shallow well jet pump are an electric motor, an impeller and a jet assembly. Although a simple centrifugal pump would pump water at this lift, including a jet assembly will greatly increase the discharge pressure and suction. This combination makes the shallow well jet pump suitable for use in farm water pressure systems.

C. Peripheral pumps: a centrifugal pump with a running wheel that has a so-called peripheral shape. The linear characteristics of a " linear " wheel differ fundamentally from a radial wheel (as found on a regular centrifugal pump). The tolerance (space between the wheel and pump housing) on a peripheral pump is very small, thus foreign particles from dirty water can " jam" the impeller. Peripheral pumps that are allowed to sit without running for extended periods of time will tend to also "jam" due to corrosion on the inside of the housing. These pumps are typically used in applications where lower volumes and higher pressure is required, it is a lower cost pump compared to centrifugal or jets, ideal for small water systems.

D. Submersible pumps: a pump that is designed to operate under water, usually these are electrical pumps that have the motor encased in a waterproof housing. The whole assembly is submerged in the fluid to be pumped. The advantage of this type of pump is that it can provide a significant lifting force, as it does not rely on external air pressure to lift the fluid. Submersible pumps are found in many applications, single stage pumps are used for drainage, sewage pumping, general industrial pumping and slurry pumping. They are also popular with aquarium filters. Multiple stage submersible pumps are typically lowered down a borehole and used for water abstraction or in water wells.

4. How do I know what size pump to use?

Choosing the type and size of pump depends on several factors. Pump manufacturers supply charts that show the performance of the pump. The charts are usually graphical in nature and show the relationship between volumes (expressed in liters and galls) and head (height the water needs to be lifted to/ expressed in meters and feet).


  • A. How many faucets in the house.
  • B. How many levels (storeys).
  • C. The number of people living in the house.
  • D. Are you using the pump for external irrigation or gardening.

Generally we recommend a ½ hp jet or 3/4 hp centrifugal pump for a single storey home with (3) three bedrooms, and (2) two baths. If it's a (2) two storey home a ¾ hp jet or 1 hp centrifugal pump can be used.

In the end it really depends on the volume of water as well as the budget of the customer, for instance a 1/2 hp jet pump will provide the basic requirements for a home, where a 1 hp multistage pump will do the job, but with extra pressure and volume to spare, however, it costs more!

5. What other accessories do I need to use with a water pump?

A pressure system requires a few basic components to perform adequately. Most systems require the following:

A. A pressure tank or electronic flow control.
B. A pressure gauge and pressure switch.
C. A float switch (not required if a electronic flow control is used).

6. How does a pressure tank work?

A pressure tank in a water system is designed to have extra gallons of water on reserve (under pressure) so small demands don't require the pump to switch on and off. An example is turning on a faucet for a few seconds to get a glass of water. The larger the pressure tank the less infrequent the pump starts and stops.

Pressure tanks are available in fixed bladder and replaceable designs, fixed bladder type cannot be repaired if you have a defective bladder.

Please note: if using a pressure tank with your pump a float switch is required to protect the pump from running dry and burning the motor.

7. What is an electronic flow control (smart head)

It is an electronic device that controls the start and stop of an electric pump. The smart head senses when there is a drop in pressure or when water stops flowing when you open and close a tap. If there is no water in the system the smart head also senses this and would not let the pump run dry, thus protecting the motor. For this reason a float switch is not required.

  • protects the pump from running dry and burning the motor.
  • compact and easy to install.
  • the pump cycles more than a system with a pressure tank.

8. What is a pressure gauge and what is it used for?

A pressure gauge is a device that indicates the amount of pressure that your pump is producing, it's usually expressed as lbs per square inch. A typical cam 50 will produce about 30 lbs of pressure.

9. What is a pressure switch?

It is an electrical device that is used to start and stop the pump. This switch operates by a set pressure, usually the switch is set to a specific pressure range; say 20 - 40 psi, if the pressure drops below 20 psi the pump automatically turns on, and if it goes above 40 psi the pump is switched off.

10. What types of fluids can our pumps handle?

We have pumps that will handle clean (potable) water, salt water and sewerage (submersible sewerage pumps that can handle effluent with suspended particles).

11. Do we have pumps for pumping fuel?

No we do not, there special pumps for pumping gasoline and carbon based fuels.

12. What is cut in pressure?

The set pressure that the pump comes on at.

13. What is cut out pressure?

The set pressure that the pump turns off at

14. What is the function of a check valve?

The check valve prevents the water stored in the pressure tank from going back to the pump, it's actually a one way valve.

15. What is a multi stage pump?

A pump that has more than one impeller, it can be a 2, 3,4 or even 5 stage pump. Multi stage pumps generally produce more volume and pressure, we stock the ultra, which is a centrifugal multi stage, pump with a stainless steel head.

16. What is a float switch?

As the name implies it's actually a switch which "floats" in your water tank, this switch is connected to your pump and tells the pump when your tank is empty or full, it protects your pump by turning off the pump when there is no water in the tank.

17. What is a linear air pump?

Linear air pumps are designed to continuously pump large volumes of air with low pressure. These pumps operate using an electromagnetic device, thus they are a totally different design than a water pump. Linear air pumps are used in applications that require a constant supply of air: aeration for septic systems, fishponds, aquaculture etc.

Linear air pumps are designed to run for many years with very little maintenance, usually the air filter should be changed or cleaned every six months.

We stock several sizes of linear air pumps;

Db 15 - 15 litres of air per minute
Db 40 - 40 litres of air per minute
Db 60 - 60 litres of air per minute
Db 80 - 80 litres of air per minute
Db 120 - 120 litres of air per minute

Linear pumps have the following characteristics :

  • clean oil less air
  • extremely quiet operation
  • long service life
  • low starting current and low power consumption