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3 Signs You’re Ready To Upgrade Your Well Pump

Marketing W. P. Law, Inc. - Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Duo Pro dual-contained piping system

Whether you use your well for intensive irrigation, industrial piping, or simple residential fountains, a consistent and affordable water supply is essential. If your well relies on outdated pumping technology, however, none of these devices will work to their full potential. To know whether it's time to upgrade your pump, look out for:

1. Electrical Excess

Obsolete pumps use more energy to move the same amount of water as modern ones. If you notice an unusually high electric bill, your well may be to blame. Replacing the pump with modern model will improve efficiency, paying for itself through lower electrical bills.

2. Sisyphean Service

In addition to wasting energy, obsolete pumps break more often and require more extensive service to fix. If you are constantly spending money and time on your well, consider cutting your loses and replacing it. Newer models can work for up to twenty years before needing repairs, thus reducing your long-term maintenance costs.

3. Pressure Problems

Traditional pumps struggle to deliver water at the same pressure throughout the system, especially if you use multiple water sources at once. Modern pumps, however, can do this without skipping a beat. If you find that pressure varies during the day or with more intensive water use, you could use a pump upgrade.
W. P. Law provides the latest pump technologies, as well as in-depth inspections, repairs, and other fluid services, to customers throughout South Carolina. For more information on improving the efficiency and longevity of your water system, visit our website today.

Should I Water My Lawn In The Winter?

WP Law - Friday, January 27, 2017
grass


Summer months for homeowners are typically spent outside, tending to a healthy and well-maintained lawn. However, when the first frost hits in the south, many homeowners are left wondering what they should do for their lawns in order to ensure their grass comes back in the spring just as lush as it was when it went into dormancy in the fall.

Why Lawns Need Less Water in the Winter

During the winter months, the growth rate of many types of grasses found in South Carolina slow considerably. When paired with the changing temperatures, it is easy to see why lawns would need less water to survive. Lower temperatures tell your lawn to go into a dormant winter state in order to survive the cold frost and occasional snow. Regulating how much water your lawn receives during the winter can ensure you never over-water or neglect your dormant grass. A good way to maintain your lawn without having to constantly monitor how much you’re watering is to install an irrigation system. An irrigation system can help you regulate watering times and amounts.

Should You Water Your Lawn in the Winter?

The answer to this question relies heavily on the current conditions. In South Carolina, the temperatures can vary from day to day. On colder days, you may not need to water your lawn. However, on days when the temperatures rise and you have not gotten rain in some time, you should consider it. Do not be alarmed by the color of your lawn changing to brown, however. This just means the grass has gone dormant. It is not dead and should continue growing in the spring. Your watering schedule should take into account the temperature and the recent rain amount, not the look of the grass.

If you have any questions about irrigation supplies or the maintenance of your lawn, contact the experts at WP Law today!

Why is a backflow preventer necessary in my piping system?

WP Law - Thursday, October 06, 2016
sprinkler system

When talking to an irrigation specialist, you will hear a lot of jargon. One of those is backflow, which goes along with backflow preventer valves. Your installer will no doubt tell you how important it is to prevent backflow.

What is backflow?

Backflow is when water (or another fluid) flows through a piping system in the wrong direction. It is most often caused by a sudden drop in water pressure, which can happen any time you are attached to a municipal system – like if the fire service opens a hydrant a few streets over.

Why is backflow from your irrigation or piping system bad?

Any kind of backflow is bad. If, for example, you have a lawn irrigation system in your yard, the water used for irrigation will sit in underground pipes for days before the system turns on. Contaminants such as fertilizer, lawn care chemicals and even pet waste can be drawn back into the system if backflow occurs. Backflow can transmit this contaminated water back into the municipal piping system or even your home’s piping system. In industrial systems, backflow can also cause cross contamination with the municipal system or even contamination among other fluids used within the industrial process.

How do you prevent it?

Other than avoiding sudden water pressure drops, which are not always avoidable, backflow is prevented by a backflow preventer or valve. There are a variety of types, depending on the application and risk of backflow contamination. The type of backflow prevention device required is usually dictated by local and state codes. Your local water purveyor usually has a list of approved backflow prevention devices available on their website. A backflow preventer contains check valves that only allow flow in one direction. If a sudden drop in pressure occurs upstream of the backflow preventer, the check valves will close and block the flow of water back "upstream" into the system.

Preventing backflow is a key aspect of proper design of an irrigation or piping system. Contact a professional such as W.P. Law, Inc. to help you prevent potentially contaminated water ending up in your kitchen faucet, or worse.

Pre-Winter Pond Care Checklist

WP Law - Thursday, September 29, 2016
Pond with Koi fish

It's not too early to start thinking about getting your pond or outdoor water feature ready for fall and winter. Pre-winter maintenance is easy and vital to the health of your pond. Failing to take these steps may create the need for expensive repairs or modifications in the spring. Here are the steps you should take to prepare your pond for fall and winter.

Water

• Keep leaves from falling into your pond with netting. The netting will prevent leaves and other debris from entering the pond, making for very easy cleanup in the spring.• Change out up to half of the water. This step will remove contaminants and create better water condition to get through the winter. It's best to do this when the temperature of the pond water is roughly the same as the water source. Just make certain the temperature is above 60°F to prevent stress to aquatic life.
• Add a conditioning agent with bacterial additives. Make sure the agent is formulated to work during colder temperatures.
• Clean organic matter from the bottom of the pond.

Water Pumps

• Clean pond pump filters thoroughly.
• If the water temperature gets below 45°F, turn the pump(s) off and remove the filter media and main pump. This will keep freezing temperatures from damaging the pump.
• Drain the pump according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Plants • Winter non-hardy plants indoors or in a greenhouse.• If you have hardy water lilies, clip off any pads and buds and place the lily in the deepest part of your pond where the tuber will not freeze.

Fish

• When the water temperature gets lower than 70°F, you'll mix wheat germ food with your koi's regular feed. The wheat germ formula helps digestion.• When temperatures get below 60°F, feed wheat germ food exclusively.
• If the water reaches 40°F, don't feed koi at all.

If you have any questions relating to winterizing your pond, contact the experts at W.P. Law today!

What Can Cause Extreme Fluctuations in Water Pressure?

WP Law - Thursday, September 15, 2016
Water hose with low pressure

Water pressure fluctuation is one of the most commonly reported troubles with fluid handling systems. When you have a system in place to deliver water, fertilizer or other liquids, you should be able to rely on a consistent, measurable flow. If you are experiencing extreme fluctuations, one of the following issues might be the cause.

Air in the Pipes

When air gets trapped in a piping system it acts as a valve and can “pinch off” or reduce the effective pipe size reducing flow and causing additional pressure loss due to friction. Air will usually accumulate at the highest point in the piping system, but it can also accumulate in fittings and valves, especially when there is a sudden concentric reduction in pipe size. Symptoms include sputtering, a lack of flow, and then a sudden burst. Air in the pipes can be caused by a leaking suction line, damaged tank bladders, a faulty pump, gas build up in the well system, or one or more leaks in the pipe line.

Municipal Water Failure

From time to time, municipalities experience water failures that can impact entire neighborhoods. In addition, in areas experiencing severe drought, municipalities may redirect water for urgent use elsewhere. If you suspect that external forces might cause a drop in pressure, check with neighbors to see if they’re having similar problems, or call the town hall for updates on water supply issues.

Pressure Regulator Malfunction

Too much pressure can cause pipes to leak or burst, and of course leads to waste. If you are seeing signs of sudden pressure bursts, take a look at the pressure regulator. These are intended to help to control the pressure and protect your fluid handling system. You can ensure that the regulator works as a safety mechanism by installing it at the water meter just as it comes in from your municipal supplier. Proper water pressure on an irrigation system will also help reduce misting and water waste.

Broken Pipe

If everything is going along smoothly and the water flow drops to a trickle, there may be a broken pipeline. Major leaks and breaks will cause a dramatic reduction in pressure and flow.
Are you currently experience extreme fluctuations in water pressure? Contact W.P. Law, and let the experts handle your needs today!

Five Sizing Considerations When Choosing a Pump for Your Water Feature

WP Law - Thursday, August 25, 2016
Water Fountain


Pumps designed for outdoor fountains and water features are sized by their flow rate and pressure requirements. Water feature pumps are typically high flow and low pressure. Smaller pumps typically measure flow in gallons per hour (GPH), and larger pumps typically use gallons per minute (GPM). But how do you figure out what size your water feature needs? Read on to find out!

1. Water feature volume.

Larger volumes need larger pumps. To figure out the volume of a pond or fountain in gallons, multiply its length by width by average depth (all in feet) by 7.5. For a 300-gallon water feature of a type (explained below) that requires water circulation every two hours, you'd look for a pump with a flow rate of 150 GPH.

2. Water feature type.

Minimum water circulation frequency (or flow rate) will depend on a few different attributes:
Water falls and water features with skimmers should circulate once every hour.
Ponds without fish can have a water circulation rate of once every two hours, while stocked ponds should be at least double that.
• Water in smaller ponds under 250 gallons should circulate at least once every hour, while larger ponds need a circulation frequency of about half that rate.

3. Height.

Fountains and other water features that need extra water pressure will also need stronger pumps, and a pump will have this designated "head height" in its product information. To determine the minimum head height you'll need, measure the vertical height that water must be raised from the pump plus 1/10 of the horizontal distance the water will travel.

4. Discharge diameter

If you plan to use a certain tubing size for your water feature (as would be the case when matching the inlet hole of a fountain feature) refer to a pump's rated discharge diameter. The two numbers should match; otherwise, the indicated flow rate will not be accurate.

5. Livestock.

Water features that house animals like fish will need more aeration. A larger pump creates greater water circulation and consequently increases both aeration and filtration. Ponds with more powerful pumps can support more fish. 

A rule of thumb for fishponds is to get a pump that is double the flow otherwise indicated by the other sizing factors. Check out this in-depth article on pond aeration and maintenance for more information.

Consider contacting us at WP Law if you need help designing, planning, or sourcing materials for a new water feature for your home or business. With over 50 years of experience supplying South Carolina with quality products, you can count on us for the best service around.

What You Can do to Prevent Excessive Cycling on Your Water Pump

WP Law - Thursday, August 18, 2016
Old Fashioned water pump and flowers


A short cycling a water pump means that the pump shuts on and off too quickly. If you’re having this problem, here are the four most common reasons for short cycling pumps here.

Insufficient Air Charge In The Water Tank

Loss of air charge inside your water tank is the most common cause of short cycling. It is an especially common problem for older models and non-bladder type (also called captive air tanks) water pressure tanks. Newer bladder type tanks can also develop this problem when the bladder is damaged.
Here are three fixes you may need to try (steps 1 and 2 are for non-bladder style tanks)
1. Repair the tank air volume control.
2. Drain the water tank and let air re-enter the tank.
3. Drain the water from the tank and use the air inlet valve to recharge air back into your tank. The air charge should be 2 psi lower than you pump cut-on pressure.

Defective Water Pump Pressure Control Switch

Water pressure control switches can fail. Contacts can burn out, and the opening of the switch that detects pressure in the system can get clogged with debris and sediment. This most often appears as a failure of the switch to turn the pump on or off at all, as opposed to just short cycling. The switch may be damaged or need adjustment. This can cause short water-pump cycling. Depending on the severity, you could fix it by either cleaning the switch contacts or replacing the switch entirely.

Blocked Water Supply Piping

Clogged piping or water filters can cause short water-pump cycling. The blockage will cause water pressure to rise quickly when the pump switches on. It’s common for people to replace their pump controls only to find that a clogged filter was the real problem. Be sure to check the water supply piping if you have a filter installed on your system.
If the filter has a bypass valve, open it to see if it stops short cycling. If there’s no bypass valve for the water filter, turn the pump, and the valves around the water filter, off. Then remove your water filter cartridge, clean and reassemble it. If the short cycling stops you’ve likely had a clogged filter. Replace the cartridge.

Irrigation Zones Are Too Small

When a pump is used for irrigation and the flow rate is too low, the pump can reach its cut-off pressure very quickly. This is happens most often with small or low flow rate zones such as drip irrigation. This problem can usually be corrected by running the small low flow rate zones simultaneously with another zone. The higher flow rate allows the pump to come on and stay on until the irrigation cycle is completed.

If your water pump is on the fritz, contact W.P. Law, Inc.

How Do I calculate The Flow of a Well?

WP Law - Thursday, July 21, 2016

A properly functioning well will disperse its contents at the appropriate speed. But, what is the correct flow rate for a well? Whether you own a home that operates on a well or a business that relies on well water, calculating the appropriate flow rate for your well can help you to troubleshoot any potential malfunctions.

Calculating The Flow Rate For A Well

Generally speaking, the flow rate of a well is defined by the rate, measured in gallons per minute, that water can be extracted from the well. Measuring this calculation is a fairly simple task as long as you don't have a combination well pump and pressure tank. If you simply need to calculate the flow rate for a standard well, then follow these three steps:

1. Measure the flow of the well into a bucket.

2. Be sure to time the flow using an accurate stopwatch.

3. Divide the gallon size of the bucket by the number of seconds it took for the bucket to be filled, then multiply by 60. This will give you the flow rate measured in gallons per minute (gpm).

Let's say that you used a five-gallon bucket and that the bucket was filled in 45 seconds. Using the formula outlined above, your well flow rate would be: 5 gallons divided by 45 seconds x 60 = 6.6 gallons per minute.

If you have a well with a well pump and pressure tank, then you will need to use a different tactic.

1. Open a faucet until the pump turns on.

2. As soon as the pump turns on, close the faucet so that the pump can fill up the pressure tank. Once the pump has turned back off, begin step three. 

3. Open the faucet into a five-gallon bucket. (you may need more than one bucket) Measure the entirety of the water discharge before the pump turns back on. 

4. As soon as the pump turns on, shut the faucet and use a stopwatch to time the pump cycle.

5. Make a note of the pump cycle time (round to the nearest second) once the pump has turned back off.

6. Divide the total number of gallons collected in step three by the number of seconds calculated in step five.

7. Multiply your answer from step six by 60 to calculate the average pumping capacity, or flow rate, of the pump in gallons per minute. 


Contacting The Well Experts

Are you still wondering if your well is flowing at the correct rate? Are you worried that you might have a clog, a damaged valve, or an inefficient well pump? If so, contact the experts at W.P. Law, Inc. W.P. Law specializes in helping customers identify and resolve issues with their well pumps, controls, and pump valves. With the help of W.P. Law, your well can soon be flowing at the correct gallons per minute rate.

How Do I Know When To Replace The Shaft Seal In My Pump?

WP Law - Thursday, June 16, 2016
Pump design

Wondering if it's time to change the shaft seal on your pump? There are a number of different signs that can help you decide. Regardless of the type of pump you have, here are some simple signs that it needs new gaskets:

Visual Inspection

It is very difficult to tell visually if a mechanical shaft seal needs replacing without disassembling the pump. However, you may notice some evidence or prior leaks around the shaft seal or you may see suction and discharge piping that shows evidence of overheating. In either of these cases, it there is a high probability that the shaft seal may need to be replaced.

Malfunctioning Pump

If your pump loses prime or fails to build the correct pressure the problem could be a leaking shaft seal. Air may be pulled by a leaking shaft seal causing the pump to lose prime when it is running. This may often be difficult to detect.

Spraying Leak

Water spraying by the shaft seal is an obvious sign that the seal needs replacing. When disassembling the ump and removing the old seal, be sure to inspect the shaft sleeve (larger horsepower pumps typically have a replaceable sleeve that the seal runs over). If the pump shaft (or shaft sleeve) has light scratches, they can usually be sanded out with Emory cloth prior to installing a new seal. However, deep grooves or sever scratches mean a replacement shaft sleeve as well.

If you cannot tell whether or not you need a new seal, bring your pump into W.P. Law, Inc., or contact us today. We can help point you in the right direction and help you find the supplies you need.

(Infographic) Drip Irrigation Systems

WP Law - Thursday, March 31, 2016
Infographic about Drip Irrigation Systems

Click Image For Larger View

Drip irrigation systems are an extremely efficient way to water your property without losing water in the process. This infographic shows you all you need to set up a drip irrigation system for your garden, crops, or landscape today!


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