Pumping solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. A knowledgeable equipment partner can help you design an effective one.
Choosing the right pump for an application is often more complicated than it seems. Failing to consider all the factors that influence pump selection and setup, starting with the type of fluid being moved and the distance it must travel, can result in a failed operation as well as a broken pump. Yet most pump users are not pump experts.
Seeking application-specific guidance from a temporary equipment vendor with deep pump expertise can save time and money on construction dewatering operations, sewer bypass jobs and other projects that require moving fluids. Getting the system design and setup right increases efficiency and reduces the risk of equipment failures and costly downtime.
Critical questions a pump expert will ask
Engineering an effective pumping solution requires asking the right questions. To supply the best pump for your application, an equipment vendor that specializes in pumps will want to understand the basics of your pumping operation, including how much fluid you’ll be pumping, the required flow rate and how far the fluid will have to travel to the discharge point. The vendor should also ask the following:
The type of fluid being moved
If the fluid has a high percentage of total suspended solids, a pump designed for moving clear water won’t do the job. You’ll likely be guided to a trash pump or sludge pump built to handle solids. If the fluid is acidic, the equipment partner will likely recommend a pump made of a corrosion-resistant materials.
When pumping over large distances, the vendor may suggest renting a pump with more horsepower, as well as using larger hoses or pipes to increase capacity and reduce friction losses. Depending on the distance, you may need multiple pumps to carry the fluid to the discharge point. An experienced pump vendor will help you determine not only the optimal pump size but also how far apart the pumps should be set.
Required flow rate
The maximum flow rate required is a critical factor in right-sizing a pump. With the help of a knowledgeable vendor, you can calculate the gallons per minute or cubic meters per minute your project requires. You can then determine the ideal pump size based on the flow rate needed as well as the type of fluid you’re moving, the size and length of pump or hose you’re using and other factors.
Depth and elevation
The pump head indicates how high the pump can raise water against gravity. A standard pump may have a sufficient head to move fluid out of a 5-foot-deep manhole. If you’re bringing up fluid from a 150-foot hole, however, a high-head pump may be necessary. High-head pumps are designed to overcome high resistance using increased pressure. A knowledgeable vendor will likely ask you for the total dynamic head, or level of resistance that must be overcome, before recommending a pump.
Elevation also impacts the pump size and horsepower needed. In a city such as Denver, the thinner atmosphere means you’ll likely need a more powerful pump than one you’d use for a similar job along the New Jersey coastline.
Remote monitoring requirements
Pump telematics can reduce labor costs by allowing personnel to monitor pumps remotely. Responding quickly to clogs and other problems can prevent a pumping system failure.
With remote pump monitoring, users can configure alerts that notify them of unexpected changes in parameters such as flow rate, suction, discharge pressure and coolant temperature. A vendor that specializes in pumps should be able to recommend or provide a remote monitoring solution that offers a wide range of alerts and an easy-to-use interface.
The value of technical expertise and custom engineering
Every pumping application is different, which means every pumping application requires a custom solution. An experienced fluid solutions team has probably seen projects like yours before and knows what questions to ask to help you build a dependable, cost-effective solution.
Engineering expertise matters. If your pump will need to handle both high and low flows, for example, you might be tempted to rent a pump that can handle the highest flows. But oversizing a pump wastes energy and increases costs. A knowledgeable vendor might be able to offer a better solution: Use two pumps instead of one, with the second pump kicking in only when the flow is high.
How to find a vendor with pump expertise
Any equipment rental company can provide a pump. To find one that can help ensure the success of your dewatering application, follow these steps:
- Notice what questions they ask, or don’t ask. When you inquire about a pump rental, does the company ask you to fill out a form and then give you whatever equipment you requested? A value-add partner will take the time to ask a host of questions about your job in order to guide you to the right equipment choices.
- Ask about technical support. If you’re not sure whether a pumping system can handle your project, can the vendor do the calculations for you, or provide the custom engineering services you may need? Are they available for consultations when something goes wrong? What kind of maintenance and breakdown assistance do they provide?
- Request references. Can the vendor provide contact information for customers they have helped on recent, similar projects? Call those references to find out how well the vendor performed in recommending equipment, providing technical support and responding to problems. (Often, in pumping applications, every minute counts.)
Choosing an effective pump and setup for your application may be a complex undertaking, but there’s no need to tackle it on your own. When you partner with a temporary equipment vendor that offers expertise in fluid solutions, you can be more confident that your pumping system will get the job done efficiently and effectively.
Contact the United Rentals Fluid Solutions team for help with all your liquid transfer needs.