Tech Topic: Pumps
They keep water and systems moving
Pumps move liquids. Sounds pretty uncomplicated, until you realize that there are so many applications where a pump is vital to a specific process or is key component in a system. Essentially, if the pump stops, the system stops.
Reeves Journal talked with some industry folks who know their pumps. Sharing their expertise with us this month is Mark Chaffee, vice president of governmental affairs and sustainability for Taco Comfort Solutions; Robert Hentrup, product line manager for Zoeller Pump Company; and Jeremy Cantor, vice president of sales and marketing for Wayne Water Systems.
Reeves Journal: What are some of the more common pump applications in the West?
Chaffee: In the West, we see a lot of hydronics, radiant heating and cooling, geothermal, air-to-water heat pumps, solar thermal and hot water recirculation. As for hot water circulation, California’s Title 24 is the basis for new construction. It serves as the main reference for achieving the most energy efficiency and water savings and it calls out the use of demand-style hot water recirculation pumps, like the TacoGenie.
Of course, there’s real need for energy and water savings. Both are key concerns in the Western U.S. Taco has developed an entire line of products in response to homeowners who expect greater savings along with comfort and convenience from their plumbing system. Specifically, the wait for domestic hot water is frustrating, with many homes seeing a delay of three, four or five minutes. Amazingly, while a homeowner waits for hot water at a sink or shower, they waste water, lots of it, up to 12,000 gallons a year for a family of four. They pay for the water, and to send it down the drain, as well.
The TacoGenie recirculating system provides hot water on demand and, at the same time, saves water, energy and money. TacoGenie is a small, silent pump attached to the hot and cold water lines under the most remote plumbing fixture. Cool water normally allowed to run down the drain is recirculated back to the water heater through the cold water line. An easy retrofit option, SmartPlug technology makes any corded circulator up to 94 percent more energy efficient by learning hot water usage patterns and delivering hot water when it’s needed. This increases hot water comfort, reduces energy use and helps extend the life of the hot water heater.
Hentrup: We sell many Sewage Ejector packages in the Western United States. This would include the submersible Sewage Ejector pump and a basin, or pit as some call it. Sewage Ejector packages can be used for cabins, workshops, garages, additions, and pool houses. Sewage Ejector packages come in a variety of different sizes but most commonly as 18x30, 24x24 and 30x36 for residential use. We offer a grinder system, called the Qwik Jon Ultima, which sits directly behind a toilet so there is no need for digging or breaking up concrete floors. The Qwik Jon Ultima sits in a tank and connects to a rear discharge toilet for an easy installation. It can accommodate a toilet, sink, and a tub/shower.
RJ: What applications/types of pumps are there?
Cantor: Sump pumps, the most common water pump, are automatic pumps used to remove ground water from sump pits and transfer basement drainage to prevent residential flooding. Battery Back-Up Pumps are added in addition to your primary sump, and are powered off a 12-volt battery. This completes your sump pump system and provides additional protection to remove ground water during a power outage, primary pump failure or heavy rain.
All of our Blue Angel sump pumps have three unique attributes that set them apart: top suction design: never worry about air locks again; a virtually silent performance, Blue Angel Pumps’ energy efficient motors, and quality engineered design provide ultra-quiet experience; and a vertical float switch tested to one million cycles.
Hentrup: Zoeller Pump Company manufactures multiple types of submersible pumps. Sump and Dewatering pumps are used for moving groundwater away from building foundations. Applications for Sump and Dewatering include basements and storm water drainage. We also offer Effluent pumps which are capable of passing ½” – ¾” solids and are used in septic tank applications.
Another type is a Sewage Ejector. Sewage Ejectors have the capability of passing a minimum of two-inch spherical solids, depending on the pump. Ejectors are used in sanitary plumbing applications where raw domestic sewage waste is discharged to public sewers. The last type of submersible pump Zoeller Pump Company offers is a Grinder pump. Grinder pumps are also for sanitary applications where toilets are being used but are usually chosen when a sewage ejector has repeated clogs or failures due to pumping debris not normal to a sanitary application such as wipes, diapers, etc.
Chaffee: Water as a medium of BTU-exchange, or the transfer of heat, is the most efficient and natural way to move BTUs around a system to heat or cool a home or facility. At the heart of any hydronic system is the pump, whose efficiency and effect on overall system performance has improved enormously, even over just the past few years.
As for energy efficiency, Taco began selling circulators with ECM pump technology in 2012 and now offers a broad range of circulators and pumps with these super-efficient motors. With ECM circulators, versatility is a strength. For instance, 00e circulators offer several variable speed pre-set options to match the job, including differential temperature, constant and proportional differential pressure, infinitely variable speed, set point heat or cool, boiler protection, or external control via a building management system.
On the commercial sized ECM pumps, built-in, web-enabled access and the ability to change settings remotely make installation, monitoring and service easy. ECM-driven pumps offer up to an 85 percent decrease in electrical consumption compared to standard pumps of the same size, so that’s a big step in the right direction.
One product that ties to all of this is Taco’s recently-introduced 00e VR3452. This high-efficiency circulator is an ECM-powered, wet rotor variable speed circulator for chilled and hot water applications, offering up to 34 feet of shut-off head and 52 gpm flow.
RJ: What are some common mistakes contractors make regarding pumps? How can they be avoided?
Chaffee: Even though it’s a challenge noticed decades ago, there’s still a tendency for installers to over-size pumps. However, the new generation of circs and pumps helps substantially to offset the damage that’s done when this occurs. Many of the new ECM variable speed 00e pumps and circulators are self-regulating and will automatically adjust their performance to match system characteristics – saving electricity and improving overall
Hentrup: One of the most common mistakes we see in regards to pumps is how they are sized and replaced based solely upon horsepower. Pumps can last numerous years without issues as long as they are sized correctly and not only selected by horsepower. For example, Zoeller offers multiple ½ hp pumps that support many different applications. Pump life is a direct result of being applied properly. Zoeller Pump Company has a great Product Support staff that will assist with proper sizing to ensure the pump selected is the correct one for the application.