What Are the Different Types of Water Pumps and Their Uses?
The ability to control and move water was one of the most important, revolutionary, and underappreciated developments that allowed humanity to rise above the animals and enter the agricultural era. Without it, ancient civilizations like the Mesoamericans, Babylonia, and Ancient Egypt wouldn’t have been able to create and sustain the first population centers. The Romans modernized systems of moving water from one place to another, and the rest is history.
In the modern day, water pumps have a myriad of potential uses. Agriculture is still a main use, but water pumps are also used in construction, wells, pools, to clear flooded basements or houses, and many other uses. There are many different types of water pumps, so let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.
Types of Water Pumps
There are a few different ways to categorize water pumps, but the broadest and most general is through their power source. There are two main types of powered pumps: electric and gasoline/diesel. Both have drawbacks and benefits and are good for different situations.
Electric pumps are useful because they can be used indoors, are usually quieter and easier to move, and are typically cheaper than gas pumps. However, gas pumps are more powerful, have more varied applications, and can run continuously for a long time without stopping.
For normal household uses, electric pumps are the more common choice. Gas pumps are generally used for industrial and agricultural usage, as they have far greater portability because they don’t have to remain near an outlet or electrical energy source.
Other Categories of Water Pumps
Besides electric or gas, there are a few further ways we can categorize water pumps, primarily into centrifugal or positive displacement pumps.
Centrifugal pumps are the most common ones found in general household or smaller applications, such as when a house is flooded. This type of pump uses a motor to spin what is called an “impeller”, which brings water into the pump. Think of the impeller as a sort of circular fan or propeller that sucks water in; then, the electric motor pressurizes the output, forcing the water out of the pump in the other direction.
Positive displacement pumps
This type of pump works by moving a fixed amount of water from one place to another using various forms of pressure. This mechanical action can be caused by screws, pistons, diaphragms, vanes, gears, or even more options. It’s easiest to visualize it like a piston in a car, where the piston simply pushes and forces the water out.
The main benefit of this type of pump over centrifugal pumps is that the volume of water moved can remain steady over long periods, making it an ideal choice for applications in which a certain amount of water must be delivered every time.
That being said, both centrifugal and positive displacement pumps can be broken down into many more specific categories of each, based on the exact type of construction. Some types of positive displacement pumps, for example, are rotary gear pumps, piston pumps, diaphragm pumps, hydraulic pumps, rotary vane pumps, or progressive cavity pumps, but they are all positive displacement pumps.
Uses for Water Pumps
Water pumps are a critical and essential tool that keep the modern world moving. Some of the various specific types of uses for water pumps are:
The most basic type of pump that performs one function only: moving large amounts of mostly-clean water from one place to another, also known as “gushers”
This type of pump specializes in producing a high-pressure output, similar to a pressure washer.
Trash pumps are specifically designed to handle dirty waste water, or water containing a lot of solids.
Submersible utility pump
This type of water pump is designed to be completely waterproof and work underwater.
Power takeoff pump
This is, typically, the largest type of water pump, usually pulled behind a tractor. Its immense power makes it a perfect choice for extremely large amounts of water that have to be moved.
This type of pump is used inside houses, in order to pressurize the water that flows through your faucets.
This type of pump is designed to be used in a well to bring potable or drinkable water to the surface.
Sprinkler pumps are designed specifically to power sprinklers, used on lawns or in agriculture.
Even beyond these, there are more uses, applications, and types of water pumps, and specialty pumps can be built for any application you can think of. The United Nations (UNICEF) even categorizes water pumps as one of the most important tools needed in the developing world, as their ability to deliver clean water literally saves lives every day.
No matter what your specific needs are, there is a water pump for you. Contact a water pump retailer today and they will be happy to help answer all your questions!