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Choosing the Right Pump for the Job

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ve all seen or heard the advertisements from the Government and various insurance companies in the media warning us that the storm season is upon us and to prepare our homes. While this is definitely important, here is some other useful information for when we get that massive deluge that, despite our best preparations, results in water where we do not want it. Having a little bit of knowledge about pumps can be a great help when your in a position where you have to hire one to help you out. When selecting a pump to move water from one area to another, there are 3 key factors that a hire company or salesperson will/should want to find out before recommending a pump and they are:

Volume | Head | Substance

Volume refers to the amount of water that the pump can suck and discharge within a given time frame.  Some smaller pumps provide this specification in litres per minute while larger pumps will document it in litres per hour.

Head is a vertical measurement and indicates how far up a pump can send the water before discharging it.  This is usually measured in meters.

Substance is simply what “liquid type substance” is being sucked up.  This can be within the range of clean water, water with suspended particles, thick muddy water and even viscous liquids like oil and honey.

Let’s have a look at some of the more common pumps and their practical applications.

Electric Submersible Pump

Max 13,800 litres per hour | 7m Head | Clean water with particles up to 7mm

By far the most commonly used pump for emptying or lowering the level of a swimming pool is an electric submersible pump.  This really is a set and forget the pump.  Once in the water, the pump has a float which acts as an on/off switch.  Once the water level drops to only a few centimetres left the float switch has dropped and will turn the pump off.

Puddle Sucker Pump

Max 140 litres per minute | 7m Head | Clean water only

As the name suggests, this pump is great for a low volume of water. Its other key advantage is that is can suck up water that is not very deep as it is inlet sits only 1mm off the surface.  This is often used in lift shafts, basements and recessed sections of cement slabs.

Fire Fighters’ Pump

Max 18,000 litres per hour | 8m Suction to 60m Head | Clean water with small particles

This pump is driven by a petrol motor.  A suction hose is dropped into a body of water passed through the pump and discharged at pressure through a choice of hose outlets such as a garden hose or a lay flat style hose.  Landowners choose this type of pump for watering remote areas, fighting fires and for transferring water between areas.


Max 125 litres per minute | 5m Head | Clean water with particles up to 5mm

Driven by a whipper snipper size engine, this pump is a must on job sites after the rain.  It is designed to be plunged into post/pier holes which need to be emptied before concrete can be poured into them.  Similarly, it is used to clear out trenches and footings so that work can continue.

Sludge Pump Unit

Max 56,000 litres per hour | 29m Head | 60% solids with particles up to 26mm

A sludge pump unit, also called a flexdrive pump, is often the default pump that is used in many situations.  This is due to both its large pumping volume and its capacity for handling thick muddy material with stones and the like all mixed in.  It is easily transported in the back of a ute or SUV and can be moved around a site with ease.  There is no messing around with this unit, it really is a case of dump it in and it will pump it out.

Transfer Pump

Max 90,000 litres per hour | 40m Head | Clean water with small particles

Once again, as the name suggests a Transfer Pump is most often used to move water from one holding/storage area to another. That said, due to its huge volume capacity, it is a valued pump during flooding events as you can drop a huge suction hose into the flooded area and pump it out to where the water can flow away.

Wet & Dry Industrial Vacuum

Sometimes there is only a small amount of water or the water is spread over a large surface, think dishwasher or washing machine that has spewed out water over the floor.  Not even a puddle sucker pump will be effective at sucking it.  A Wet & Dry Vacuum is ideal for this task as it has specially designed attachments to either suck straight off the floor or squeegee (push) the water while sucking it up.

Carpet Drying Fan

In the event that the above situation occurs or a window is left open during a storm, a carpet drying fan can help in two ways.  It can blow a large air volume across the top of any flooring surface drawing out the moisture and reducing the drying time.  For use with carpet, by lifting a corner of the smooth rails, the fan will blow underneath the carpet drying out both the carpet and underlay at the same time.

If you would like any guidance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk with our friendly team at the Hire Desk.

Copyright Centenary Hire 2017. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be used without consent from the author. See below for more details.

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Centenary Hire is a Tradesmen & Weekend Warrior’s best friend. Our ever increasing range of hire equipment consists of modern tools, machinery, scaffold, access equipment and site services all of which are aimed at helping you get the job done right – the first time. Our friendly staff can help you to choose the right equipment for your project or you can view & book your equipment online now at www.CentenaryHire.com.au. Drop into our store at Sumner Park or request an equipment delivery as our efficient transport service extends well beyond the limits of Brisbane on a daily basis.

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