Water Pressure--Booster Pump?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by dpmcclary, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. dpmcclary

    dpmcclary New Member

    Messages:
    6
    We installed an irrigation system this year and were told we had low water pressure. System works fine---if no other water is being used in the house. The company installed different nozzles for our pressure. We contacted the city and they informed us that we were at the far end of our water district and since we are up on a hill our pressure will always be low. They measured our pressure at 55psi with approx 6 gpm flow. We have also recently done a BR remodel with a big tub and custom shower. We have two other showers in the house. It would be nice to have more pressure so that two people could take showers at the same time or to be able to fill a tub and use a shower and have good pressure or to be able to use water in the house when the irrigation system is running. We were told by the city and by the irrigation company that we could either replace the line into the house (presently 3/4") with something bigger or we could put in a booster pump. The house was built in '79 and the pipe is copper coming into the house.

    Have looked at booster pumps on-line (Hydrascan?--good quality? right type of thing?) and the expense seems a lot more reasonable than putting in a new line to the house.

    Any thoughts? Thanks, Dave
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,835
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pump

    Depending on the length of the 3/4" line it may, or may not, work. That pipe will only deliver a finite amount of water, and if the pump tries to "suck" any greater amount through it, it will cavitate and destroy the pump. If you use a conventional pump/storage tank system, to boost the pressure, that effect will be minimized, but could still occur once you deplete the stored water supply.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The best choice is an atmospheric (non-pressurized) storage tank controlled with a solenoid valve controlled by a float switch. You may have to install a double backflow device on that line and if so, install it before the solenoid valve. Do install a shut off (ball) valve before everything else.

    Then out of the tank, use a submersible pump in the tank or a single line (shallow well) jet pump, either controlled by its pressure switch controlled by a float switch to prevent the pump from running dry and then a pressure tank plumbed to the house.

    You'll have better pressure, a new (larger) line in the yard will not increase your pressure or pleasure, more water (gpm) and you can go with a Cycle Stop Valve or constant pressure pump controller.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  4. dpmcclary

    dpmcclary New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thank you for your detailed explanation (a little beyond my plumbing expertise--almost none). I am wondering if anyone has installed/used the Hydrascan Booster Pump? I have found info on it all over the web and it sounds like a good system. Not sure exactly how is works compared the previous poster's recommendation. It does shut off automatically if flow is too low among other features. If anyone has any experience with this pump, please let me know. Here's a link to some info on it:http://www.pressurebooster.com/

    I am wondering if I should buy this or some other pump and then call a plumber to install it or should I just call a few plumbers and have them come out and tell me what they would recommmend. I figure I would save some bucks if I purchased the pump myself rather than let the plumber or plumbing company sell me a marked up pump that might not be as good. OTOH of course, this pump could be crap and I may once again be asking for problems if I get too involved in deciding what's right or good or bad rather than simply relying on the local plumber's recommendation. Thoughts please!

    Thanks, Dave
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,835
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pump

    Just remember if you buy the pump and you have ANY problems with it, that are not directly related to the actual installation, the plumber will charge you for the calls to check it, even if he cannot fix it.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    My suggestion doesn't cause you to run out of water unless the city supply fully stops. Your choice can and probably will because it is sucking water straight out of the cilty water line (and can cavitate); not a good idea IMO, but then I know a bit about pumps.

    Sorry but you'll do best by talking to pump guys or well drillers than most plumbers because most plumbers don't get into that many pumps. It's just a fact of life, nothing against plumbers (for the sensitive types among us here :) ).

    Like HJ, I do not suggest buying a pump etc. and then hiring someone to install it; that is not a good idea regardless if it's a pump guy, driller or plumber. Frankly I'd charge much more to do that than to sell you the pump and tanks including installation. Buy it and learn to do the simple plumbing to install it yourself.

    What I suggested is your best choice all around and won't cost much more than a Davey booster pump that is properly sized for you house and peak demand water use. A good site to get an idea of pump and tank prices is www.pumpsandtanks.com he's an ex-well driller and one of the professional pump poster guys here with 22 years experience. I only have 18 :D

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,360
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    As HJ mentioned earlier, you can only get so much water through a pipe of a given size. I would certainly consider increasing to a 1" line and seeing what that would do, and if you have an old 5/8" meter, I'd change that to a 1" also. If you have a 3/4", it would only be a slight improvement to go larger. You must use a backflow preventer when you use your domestic water supply for irrigation no matter what else you do. Also, set you timer to irrigate only in the wee hours of the morning when this is the least amount of use on the water main. That's better anyway to minimize evaporation loss.
  8. RainMaker

    RainMaker New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Dave,

    Being and Irrigation Contractor, I've seen this problem quite a few times.

    The best solution is to install a pump immediately after the water meter. This will boost your pressure for the entire house, even when the irrigation system is running. I typically use Grundfos or Aeromotor pumps. Grundfos is the quieter of the two if noise is a consideration. I also use a unit called Mascontrol to fire the pump.

    http://www.watergroup.com/pdf folder/brochures/mascontrol.pdf

    This eliminates any relays/pressure tanks and is easy to install, it mounts on top of the pump.

    It is CRUTIAL to spec the correct pump. 6 gpm sounds a little on the low side for 3/4" copper service. What is the distance from curb box to water meter? I would also do a bucket test to see what you gpm is. If 55 psi is your static pressure, your dynamic is probably around 30 psi (irrigation system running). This is definately on the low end for an irrigation system. Look for a pump that will give you a 30-40 psi boost @ 6 gpm if thats what your system is designed to flow. This will give you an operating pressure of about 60 psi. Your showers will definately be more exciting... lol.

    RainMaker
  9. Towle-Whitney

    Towle-Whitney New Member

    Messages:
    3
  10. neili

    neili sales of irrigation, pumps, water wells

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    north dakota/montana
    Call you irrigation contractor, well driller, or pump supplier. I sound like a broken record, but Gould’s and Grudnfos make excellent products for this kind of thing. Unless you are a pump, motor, or electrical expert you need help with the project and need someone to service it in the future. Some people understand these things and can do a good job at keeping them going, if you are not one of these people hire it done professionally.
  11. GoDillos

    GoDillos New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    California
    Gary, I am interested in possibly upgrading to this solution at my house. I have an old pressure system with a broken pump ... probably because it is fed by a city line that only flows a 4 gpm. A few questions:

    1) How difficult is it to keep the atmospheric tank clean? Due to the size of my house and the weather in my area, I'd probably keep that tank outside. Do I have to treat that water with chemicals?

    2) How difficult is it to mount the submersible in a small tank? I'm looking at a 100-300 gal tank. Would I be better off just getting any external pump?

    Thanks for your help. You are the only person I've seen online advocating the atmospheric tank. I think it makes a lot of sense.
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    There's no pump that I'm aware of that you can feed 4 gpm and have it increase your flow and pressure. The pump would starve for water and cavitate the impeller which ruins them. So atmospheric or pressurized storage is the only solution, unless you go with a Davey that when there isn't enough water it shuts off... which leaves you with no water...

    You can get storage tanks for potable water that have a manhole for cleaning. How frequently depends on your water quality but.. outside causes algea and bacteria to grow due to the higher temp of the water and possible sunlight on/through the tank.

    You can hang a 1/2 hp 13 gpm submersible pump in about 24" of head room. Just keep it 2-4" off the bottom and sides. You should hang it on at sch 40 or 80 PVC. Otherwise you use a shallow well single line jet pump and set it outside the tank to suck on the tank.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  13. neili

    neili sales of irrigation, pumps, water wells

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    north dakota/montana
    If you hand a submersible, make sure to have a flow sleeve to help cool the pum p motor.
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes, that's a good idea and you can find info on making one at:

    www.franklinelectric.com

    Gary
    Quallity Water Associates
  15. hws22

    hws22 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Need Help

    I have read your posts but unfortuantely I need an elementary lesson. The problem I am having is my house is at 60 psi static, When one shower is turned on, the psi drops to 40 psi, when another shower is turned on the pressure reduces even more.

    A Davey water booster was installed but that did not help the problem, All lines have been check, everything is clear, I have 3/4 " cooper line.

    What exactly do you recommend, My only concern is that the pump is quiet ..

    Thank you inadvance ...
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,152
    Location:
    New England
    Start a new thread, and describe your system.
  17. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Atmospheric Tank Controls

    The best control for filling an atmospheric tank is a float valve. You can get one similar to the old toilet tank valves. If you get one with a threaded outlet, it can be piped to provide an air gap to preclude any possibility of backflow. Check Grainger Stock No 2X525, $18.45, and you need a 6" plastic float Stock No 4UV73, $8.10. It is a 3/4" bronze valve and will probably last longer than you will. The float valve will cost less and be more reliable than a switch and solenoid valve, and you don't need to run any wires for it.

    The valve is very reliable and you may choose not to use a float switch to protect the pump, if you trust your piping. Otherwise, put a float switch in the pump circuit to turn it off if the water gets too low in the tank.

    Your municipal water should have a little chlorine in it which should keep the algae down (regulations say 0.2 mg/liter, minimum). If it is not enough, add about 2 tablespoons of non-scented household bleach (the cheapest you can get) per 1000 gallons of water in the tank, about once a week. Add that much again if that doesn't control it.

    If you want the quietest pump, get a submersible and connect it with polyethylene pipe. The water kills the sound. If you lay it on the bottom of the tank, get a soft mount arrangement so there is no hard connection to the tank.

    You should not need a sleeve. Franklin has been rating the motors for 85 F water without sleeves. If you do install a sleeve, make sure the water comes in at the bottom, and the top is closed. The quickest way to burn out the motor is an improperly installed sleeve.

    If noise is not too critical, you can use a multistage centrifugal or a jet pump outside the tank.

    Figure out your demand (GPM) and pressure requirements before you buy the pump.
  18. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Jet Pump Booster

    If I were doing this for myself, I would use a booster, rather than mess with an atmospheric tank. That assumes that you can get enough water through the 3/4" line when the pressure at the house drops to zero.

    You could install a small jet pump as a booster, and have a flow switch to turn it on when the flow exceeds 2 GPM (or some number that you determine).

    That gives you acceptable pressure without the pump when you are shaving or running a bit of water in the kitchen, but gives you more pressure at high flow for two showers or irrigation.

    I would also put a regulator in the discharge line, set at about 60 psi, so you don't have too much pressure at low flow just above the start setting of the pump.

    The jet pump will pull the inlet pressure down to below atmospheric in your line, but not in the main, so you will get maximum capacity out of the main.

    I would pick a shallow well jet pump something like the Goulds 1/2 HP J5S which delivers 10.2 GPM at 40 psi with 5 ft lift. It will go to 16.5 psi at 30 psi with 5 ft lift and shutoff is about 65 psi above the suction pressure. Because the pressure will usually be above atmopspheric at the inlet, your pressures will be higher.

    The jet pump will not cavitate at low supply pressure because it is always pumping throuhg the internal jet, and it won't overheat because it will come on only when the flow switch says you have flow.

    You could have a variation on this system by using a pressure tank and switch. That would turn the pump on less often.
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    What do you suggest hws22 do with his problem that caused us to revisit a year old thread? He already has a booster pump (with no storage tank) that isn't solving his problem....

    IMO, a mechanical float valve will not last problem free near as long as a float switch. And using part of a jet pump's power to suck on the city line is not going to get him/them as much flow and pressure as a submersible pump in an atmospheric tank will produce. Wih 6 gpm recovery, an atmospheric tank can be a smallish 100-150 gallon square covered plastic tank that is easily cleaned and very affordable.

    I've found that customers don't normally like adding chlorine to their water and thereby will fail to, and if it isn't sufficient to keep the tank clean, there's little sense to suggesting they do it.
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