Five Sizing Considerations When Choosing a Pump for Your Water Feature

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

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.

What Are the Advantages of Using Subsurface Irrigation (SDI) on Crops?

Rows of crops in a field

Both indoor and outdoor farming can benefit from the use of subsurface irrigation systems. These systems are highly customizable to nearly any need. They are on average less expensive and offer an outstanding level of reliability when properly installed compared to more traditional overhead irrigation methods. But, why should a commercial farmer make the switch to this form of irrigation over other methods?

Key Advantages Are Hard to Overlook

Subsurface irrigation is growing in importance today. It provides numerous opportunities for large scale and small growers alike. Take a look at some of the reported benefits of subirrigation systems:

• There is an immediate reduction in costs simply because there is no need for a worker to water plants since the subirrigation waters automatically. 

• It costs less to water plants more fully. Less water is lost in the process and there’s no run-off.

• Subsurface irrigation systems can free up aboveground space. This can increase the amount of crops produced and less equipment required. 

• Crops grown in these conditions may grow more uniformly. The water is evenly distributed across all plants, improving overall growth level. More so, there is less of a need for fertilizer use, which is both good for the environment and for budgeting.

• With less water remaining on the leaves, there is a lowered risk of excessive moisture damage.

In addition to these benefits, subsurface irrigation can be an eco-friendly move. It allows growers to better manage resources and reduces overall mechanical use. Additionally, the use of these systems can help to reduce the need for fertilizer. Used within a greenhouse or outdoors, subsurface irrigation is not complex but it does require a properly designed system for the unique aspects of the project. Overall, subsurface irrigation provides a clear opportunity for most applications.

For more information on subsurface irrigation, contact W.P. Law today!

The Best Uses for Dual Containment Piping Systems

Pipes stacked up

Dual containment piping systems offer an extra layer of protection in the transport of hazardous materials. These systems include a secondary pipe enclosed around the main piping system for added protection against breakage and leaking.

The EPA now mandates the use of dual containment piping systems for many types of materials transport. The goal is to avoid leaking of waste or hazardous substances into the environment while they are being transported.

Dual containment piping systems are made of high quality materials to ensure safety and long-lasting viability. High-density polyethylene plastic, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, and stainless steel are some of the most common materials used.

The Top Scenarios Where Dual Containment Piping Systems Should Be Used Include:

Wastewater treatment pipes- A dual containment piping system should be used where a waste water pipe come near a drinking water catchment area.

Hazardous waste landfills- Drainage from landfills for hazardous materials should be kept out of the environment via dual containment piping systems.

Remediation sites- The removal of contaminants or pollution from the soil, groundwater, sediment, or surface water is made safer through the use of dual containment piping.

Fuel storage and transport- Tank farms and fuel storage systems must conduct business in accordance with area safety regulations, and a dual containment system can be crucial.

Processing plants- Runoff or drainage from product or food processing plants must be disposed of safely, and dual containment piping offers an added layer of security.

Chemicals and acids- Dual containment piping systems should also be used in the transport of toxic chemicals and corrosive acids.

Toxic gas transport- Gases used in semiconductor manufacture or other processes should be transported with a dual containment system.

Dual containment piping systems are extensively tested during manufacture to ensure quality and viability. However, including a leak detection system within the dual containment piping can assist with becoming aware if a carrier pipe has become compromised.

Considerations such as pressurization of the lines, underground installations, the concentration of the material, space constraints, UV ray exposure, thermal expansion and contraction, environmental factors, and possible chemical combinations should all be considered when selecting a dual containment piping system.

If your company or government agency requires a dual containment piping system, contact W. P. Law, Inc. to learn about your best options.

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