Burcam Tankless Jet Pump

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Valveman

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I am very familiar with that type system. They are exactly like a Masscontrol, which is sold under many names, and exactly like the old Grundfos MQ that they no longer make. It is a flow off and pressure on type system, and they do have a little teaspoon size tank built inside you can't see. They have no control over the pressure, so you get whatever the pump can deliver. A jet pump can only build about 60-70 PSI max, so that is not too bad. But a submersible can build way over 100 PSI, which is too much for the house lines. They keep the pump running as long as at least 1/5th of a GPM is being used, which isn't enough to cool most pumps. The biggest problem is because there is no tank, any leak or flow less than 1/5th of a GPM, like a dripping faucet or leaking toilet will cause the pump to fail from rapid cycling on/off.

You will find devices like these all over the Internet. Many pump companies have added them to their pump line. However, pump companies make their living selling pumps, so they push pump controls that actually shorten the life of pumps. If you want to fall in line with the pump companies planned obsolescence program and plan on replacing that pump on a regular basis, that is the perfect pump control for you.
 

Traveller

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Thanks for that. I have only seen these advertised but have never seen one up close.

A friend of mine who lives in the southern part of our Province phoned me last night for advice on one of these units. The company that sold it to him told him it would produce 65 psi on a constant basis. However, there are problems, as he is not connecting it to a shallow well. Rather, it is being connected to the lower end of a gravity feed water system as a booster pump.

As you might guess, when this thing comes on he instantly has 90 psi on the delivery side of the pump. He was a bit surprised when I guessed the vertical drop of the gravity system at 50-60 feet and the static pressure of the water going into the pump at 20-25 psi.

I suggested to him to go back to tried and true technology, ie. a jet pump and bladder tank controlled by a pressure switch. But, with the static intake pressure at 20-25 psi, will there be problems if the cut in pressure is too close to this? Might he have to set it to at least 40/60 psi?
 

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If it were me I would set it at 40/60 with a constant 50 PSI from a CSV, because I like strong pressure in the shower. A more efficient way would be to use a 20/60 pressure switch with a CSV setting of 50 PSI. This way the city is supplying 25 PSI water without the pump running for small uses like toilets and hand washing. But when you open a larger demand like a shower, the pressure will drop to 20, the pump will start, and the CSV will deliver 50 PSI for as long as the shower is running. This keeps the pump from running unless it is really needed, but will also leave the house at 25 PSI most of the time. If this was a really large system with multiple houses, the 20/60 pressure switch might save quite a bit of energy. But on a single house it won't make much difference and I would prefer to just use the 40/60 switch.

The manufacturers answer for that problem is to add a pressure reducing valve to the inlet side of the pump. If you keep the inlet pressure reduced to say 10 PSI, the outlet pressure will be reduced to about 70 PSI. But those controllers do eliminate cycling, which is very important. They just don't maintain a constant pressure while doing so like a CSV does.
 

LakeResident

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http://www.burcam.com/en/products?v..._id=100&section_id=20&cat_id=220&sku=506532SS

Has anyone ever tried one of these units? They claim a pressure tank is not required for this pump.

Realize this is an old thread, but thought I would add my experience. In our case, we are drawing water from a lake. In traveller's friend's case, Burcam do recommend a pressure reducing valve on suction as well as a pump bypass, in event pump needs maintenance.

I installed a Burcam pump with Fluomac controller in 2008. I replaced the pressure switch/bladder tank system we had previously. One reason - we had twice damaged internals of one Goulds and one Berkely pump when, for one reason or another, the pump kept running and overheated.

Second reason, was that our home water pressure was very low at lower limit of pressure switch, which was, I believe, only about 25 psig. Plumbing is about 25ft above the lake level, underground pipe is 3/4" and house piping 1/2". At pumphouse near lake, we have a suction screen, large auto backwash filter and a 5 micron whole house filter before UV light. Even a 30/50 range wouldn't have helped much.

The Burcam pump cuts off at about 65 psig and when running pressure at pump is about 57psig. Even so, we still only get about 3gpm at house with two faucets open. But good pressure for showering!

Regarding pumps. Our Burcam ran without a problem from 2008 to 2015. Then an internal plastic venturi cracked. I was able to buy the spare part from Burcam. They do stock parts!

Prior to the pump failing, I bought a spare Mastercraft pump from Canadian Tire. This pump looked almost identical to the Burcam and I mistakenly assumed it was just re-branded. I ran that pump from 2015 until recently (2019) before it too failed. In this case, the internal plastic diffuser failed - a hole developed in an area you wouldn't think would fail. Suspected defect in plastic molding. Then I found, that NO parts are available for the Mastercraft pump and the Burcam parts don't fit.

I repaired the hole by gluing the broken piece back in with crazy glue and then reinforcing with JB-WEld. Currently been running for 3 days with out a problem!
 

LakeResident

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ADDED: What I have learned about these pumps with Fluomac (or equivalent Mastercraft) controller, is that they are both very sensitive to small leaks. My pump at present is cycling on and off. Interval about 2-5 minutes. And this even with line to house valved off. No visible leaks in pumphouse piping. One tiny occasional drip from backwash filter valve housing. Otherwise, maybe check valve on suction line (**) may leak slightly? There is a check valve (but not a very good one) inside the Fluomac, so in theory slight back flow shouldn't matter.

Still trying to determine cause of cycling.

** - Because intake is in about 20ft deep water, over 100ft out in lake and not accessible, we don't have a foot valve. Check valve is in suction line to pump before sand screen.
 

Reach4

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No visible leaks in pumphouse piping.
I suggest that you put the word
index.php
into the search box above.
 

Valveman

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Yes those are very sensitive to small leaks. I don't think you have a suction leak, which is what the foamy cream is for. For the pump to cycle there must be a leak. Most likely the check valve is leaking, which is a common problem with those type units. The short cycling causes the check valve and everything else to wear out more quickly than it should.
 

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Going back to this old thread! Last Fall, after a problem with out 2008 Burke pump, I decided to buy a new Burke pump with Fluomac - almost same as original. It worked well for 10 months. But recently we find that almost every morning, we have no water. Pump still has power to it. All it takes to get pump running again, is switching power off and on. When I do that, I do see air bubble passing up the discharge hose. But then the pump works normally all day. But overnight cycle repeats itself. I can only assume that a very small amount of air leaks in while pump is not in use for 6 or 7 hours and that somehow prevents the pump from starting.

I am going to repipe the suction to try and eliminate any possible leaks. I finally acted on Reach4's post about shaving! Sounds like a plan. Although I will pressure test the assembled suction line before installing which will leave just two connections to foam check.

Is it possible that air could leak into the pump itself? Perhaps through the seal? Would the pump be under negative pressure to allow that? Maybe if suction check valve was leaking?

In past, another source of suction leakage has been the suction screen. We gave up on the Burcam type with sight-glass that always leaked. Now using an all-plastic type intended for pressure washers. It has just one o-ring seal. But the o-ring tends to leak. Even new o-rings that the manufacturer sent us a supply of! I am using unused o-rings from my car filters! Any suggestions for a reliable suction screen for the Burcam pump?
Standard-PP-FPT-Line-Strainer-Polypro-web.jpg
 

Valveman

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If you don't have a check valve or foot valve, the control thing is acting as the check valve. In that case the pump below it can drain out over time if there is the slightest leak anywhere. But....If there is voltage to the pump and yet it is not running, the control thing itself is most likely the problem. Should still be under warranty??

I would not use a suction screen on a booster or well pump, as starving the suction of a pump is a bad thing. But those type controllers may recommend a suction screen to keep debris from getting in the flow switch. A good pump controller like a PK1A doesn't have a flow switch, and therefore would not need a suction screen. But a regular wye strainer with a 20 mesh screen should not be a problem as far as leaks go.

What was the problem with the old pump, and could that still be the issue?
 

LakeResident

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If you don't have a check valve or foot valve, the control thing is acting as the check valve. In that case the pump below it can drain out over time if there is the slightest leak anywhere. But....If there is voltage to the pump and yet it is not running, the control thing itself is most likely the problem. Should still be under warranty??
We do have a check valve on the suction line. This pump draws water from Lake Ontario - about 20ft below surface via a tripod arrangement with three inlets about 2ft above lake bottom. Inlets don't have screens but do prevent large items (like fish!) from entering. Originally we tried foot valves, but they just would not work in this environment. To clear them would require a diver or a means of raising the line from a boat, or in winter, breaking through 3 ft of ice ;)

Our 1 1/2" heated suction line, includes a Hanflo check valve and the Valley Industries strainer I mentioned earlier just before the pump. The Hanflo valve is great. Never a problem, and it allows the system to be drained back to lake by just removing the cap. (We often travelled in winter so draining the complete water system was neccessary.).

Although there is voltage to the pump, when I check the pump, the controller failure light and the power light are on. The Fluomac shuts down the motor if it doesn't sense flow. Air in suction or pump housing can do this and this may be the problem.
I am in process of redoing all the piping because problem could very well be due to air getting in. Otherwise perhaps controller problem or maybe sticky bearings or seal.

The pump is under warranty. But Burcam are very difficult to deal with when it comes to warranties. They always ask all the same questions. If your installation doesn't comply 100% with their phone agent's check list, they will blame the problem on your installation. In my case, on an installation that ran from 2008-2021 with the same type of pump. But they still blame the new pump's problems on my installation! And I only phoned them to find out why the cut-out pressure was 72psig vs 65 psig for my old pump and whether or not it could be adjusted (They say it can't)

I would not use a suction screen on a booster or well pump, as starving the suction of a pump is a bad thing. But those type controllers may recommend a suction screen to keep debris from getting in the flow switch. A good pump controller like a PK1A doesn't have a flow switch, and therefore would not need a suction screen. But a regular wye strainer with a 20 mesh screen should not be a problem as far as leaks go.
The strainer has given us problems because of leaking manufacturer supplied o-ring seals. For this type of application, a strainer is essential to keep out grit and seashells and protect the (plastic) internals of the pump and the Fluomac! Burcam insist on it being there! I would not eliminate it, but would like to find a better design. (my purpose oin restarting this thread)

What was the problem with the old pump, and could that still be the issue?

I don't actually recall - It may have been the seal. I bought the new pump because I found it at Princess Auto at a much lower prices than HD & HH. Bought it while I could. Original pump was showing it's age, but it still does work.

So back to my query - Anyone have good actual experience with a reliable suction strainer?
 

Valveman

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There is no such thing as a reliable suction strainer as they will get clogged up and are not reliable. But you can get Wye Strainers that at least does not have leaky o-rings like these. https://www.watts.com/products/plumbing-flow-control-solutions/strainers/y-wye-strainers

Pumps will pass fairly large particles right on through, so it is best to filter on the discharge side of the pump so the pump is not starved for water. It is the flow switch in the controller that needs the strainer. Like I said a good pump control doesn't need a strainer. A good pump and control will also last several times longer than what you have.

Here is a picture of a pump control that was the predecessor to the Cycle Stop Valve where the pump was not touched for 52 years. The Cycle Stop Valve is even better and should make the pump last even longer still, but 30 years of history is all we have so far. You will have replaced that type pump and controller 4 to 10 times in 50 years, and you will have been out of water each time it happens. This is how a pump manufacturer does the math. One pump with one Cycle Stop Valve will cost $800-$1000 and last 50 years. The type pump and controller you have may only cost 400 bucks. But the price will go up considerably in the next 50 years and it will need to be replaced about 10 times. Figuring 600 bucks each, times 10, means over the years the pump manufacturer will get $6000 of your money instead of $1000 if you had used a Cycle Stop Valve. See why pump manufacturers do not market or even like Cycle Stop Valves? Purchasing what the pump manufacturers advertise, or offer at a low price can be the most expensive thing to do.

Hydroservant and pump.jpg


Hydroservant.jpg
 

LakeResident

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There is no such thing as a reliable suction strainer as they will get clogged up and are not reliable. But you can get Wye Strainers that at least does not have leaky o-rings like these. https://www.watts.com/products/plumbing-flow-control-solutions/strainers/y-wye-strainers
I am familiar with Y-strainers and basket strainers as used in industry. Our lake water pump suction is unfortunately not a very good application for a Y-strainer - small screen area, more difficult cleaning and higher pressure loss. Other than quality, our unit with basket & bowl works - screen never gets clogged up. I posted because I was looking for any experience some may have with better quality units. That is all.

Pumps will pass fairly large particles right on through, so it is best to filter on the discharge side of the pump so the pump is not starved for water. It is the flow switch in the controller that needs the strainer. Like I said a good pump control doesn't need a strainer. A good pump and control will also last several times longer than what you have.

We DO filter on the discharge side. On the suction we have a strainer to remove the larger stuff. After pump, automatic backwash filter, 5micron cartridge and UV light.

We originally had conventional Berkeley & another cast iron shallow well type pump in this service for ~29 years. Total cost incl maintenance was high. Pumps had the usual pressure tank and switch control. The switches were no end of trouble and we had at least two pressure tanks. The pressure switch ports either blocked or the switch malfunctioned. We had two pumps self-destruct - melted plastic internals and other problems due to not shutting off. Bought parts and repaired. I considered some type of temperature sensing shut-off, but never found anything that was worth buying along with a new pump for $$$. Maybe the controller you are peddling tries to solve this problem for pumps of this old type. Anyway, I don't need one :)

Going over my records - In 2008 I bought our first Burke pump with Fluomac. The Fluomac includes automatic shut-off if flow is not established. So instead of another Berkeley or Goulds, I basically paid $279 for new pump including built in pump protection controls! I disposed of the water tank and old pumps that just took up space :)

My experience with the Burke/Fluomac over past 14 years:
- replaced internal plastic venturi and two o-rings - $27
- replaced pump seal $20
- replaced diaphragm on Fluomac cone due to small drip. $15

I found a pump of similar design but different make on fire sale. Bought it to install while doing repairs. Always good to have a spare! (It is almost identical to Burke, but sold by Canadian Tire who do not sell any parts for their pump!) It still works after a JBWeld repair :). Now my second spare!

In late 2021, I bought a new Burke + Fluomac for $400. Decided to install seeing warranty starts from purchase date. Still running and original still available as a spare (easier swap that my other spare). I have solved the problem of it not starting after sitting overnight. Very small suction leak.

Here is a picture of a pump control that was the predecessor to the Cycle Stop Valve where the pump was not touched for 52 years.
Looks like those pumps are ready for the dump!

OK - back to looking for a better suction strainer or just o-rings that fit the existing. I have found several, but no first hand experience or reviews.
 
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Valveman

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There are lots of different kinds of wye strainers. You can always use a larger one and bush it down to your pipe size, and that will give you more surface area and less friction. But if you never catch anything in the strainer you have, I would just not just not use a strainer as that is one of the problems.

I am glad you found an inexpensive pump and have had fairly good luck with them, but that is not generally the case. Most people see the problems you are having with that type pump on a much more frequent basis.

I am also sorry you had problems with the old traditional pressure tank and pressure switch system. The nipple to the pressure switch needs to be brass or SS and it should not ever clog. Then a little pressure relief valve set just above the off setting will keep the pump from melting if the switch does malfunction. The only problem with a traditional pressure switch/pressure tank system is that the cycling on/off it uses as primary means of control causes failures of pressure tank bladder, pressure switches, and even pumps themselves. Adding a Cycle Stop Valve to one of these systems eliminates the one thing that causes all the problems. Most traditional pressure tank systems will last 20-30 years, and adding a CSV makes them last even longer.

Wishing you luck!
 

LakeResident

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There are lots of different kinds of wye strainers. You can always use a larger one and bush it down to your pipe size, and that will give you more surface area and less friction. But if you never catch anything in the strainer you have, I would just not just not use a strainer as that is one of the problems.
I don't think I said that.
I did say in response to your comment about screen clogging up: "Other than quality, our unit with basket & bowl works - screen never gets clogged up" Our in-line screen/filter causes incoming water to spin . Larger particles, mostly sea shells, at first collect on screen, but when flow stops, they fall to bottom of bowl. Never any 'clogging'. Just open and flush out any debris once a year. The ONLY problem I have is that the plastic bodied strainer is not too well made and the o-ring seal sometimes leaks.

Most lake systems here do have suction screens. Sometimes large ones located at end of line out in lake. Works for seasonal cottages where line is removed for winter that are on inland lakes But not for our year round system drawing from Great Lakes.

Anyway, I think we are done here.
 

Valveman

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You can get spinning lake screens and many other kinds. I have made screens that use some of the discharge water from the pump to go back and spray off an external screen many different ways. Also, installed many self cleaning or self flushing filters using pressure differential, timers, and other things.
Anyway, I think we are done here.

Your welcome! It is great when people appreciate the help.
 
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