Buying and operating tips—pumps, commercial

What should you consider when buying a pump?

Pump types and applications vary significantly, so it is not always easy to know which model to buy. The following criteria can help you make the best choice.

Think efficiency.
Do not overemphasize price. Over a pump’s lifespan, its energy costs will exceed the purchase price. Shop for the most efficient units that can yield payback over the shortest periods of time.

Study the system.
A pump system is the sum of a number of component parts. If you use energy-efficient parts and design, you may be able to buy a smaller pump. For example, install low-loss pipe fittings and eliminate bottlenecks in piping systems.

Buy the right size for your needs.
Bigger is not always best. Choose a pump that can be operated near the optimum efficiency point at all times, and one whose impeller can handle future capacity increases.

A variable frequency drive can save money.
A variable frequency drive can reduce system losses, and is particularly cost-effective in systems with variable flow requirements.

Two pumps may be better than one.
Two smaller pumps can operate in parallel to do the job of one large pump. Shut off one pump during periods of low demand and reap the energy savings.

Use pump selection software.
Internet tools abound for choosing the right pump. Most follow a four-step approach that considers unit application, performance, efficiency and other factors.

Operating tips

Follow these best practices for even more energy savings.

Protect against wear.
Wear has a major effect on energy efficiency. Ensure pumps are well maintained by lubricating bearings, maintaining shaft seals, resetting wear ring clearances and smoothing the impeller and casing waterways.

Follow manufacturer recommendations.
Create and follow a regular schedule of maintenance based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.