The right pump is a critical part of today’s agricultural irrigation systems. Without them, these systems could not function efficiently and lead to lost money, water, and crops. To prevent any need for irrigation system repair, and to keep systems working properly, it is essential to know about the different pump types and how they can best be used. Choosing the right pump depends on factors including the type and size of the installed irrigation systems. Ensuring that the right purchase is made most likely will involve seeking the help of professional irrigation system services in the area.

Types of Irrigation System Pumps

There are two types of pumps used for various irrigation systems: displacement pumps and centrifugal pumps. Displacement pumps force water through the pump by displacing it when a piston is pushed down. They are generally used on irrigation systems that mix fertilizer with irrigation water. Most agricultural irrigation systems use centrifugal pumps that work with an impeller, which spins water through the pump using centrifugal force.

Centrifugal Pumps for Irrigation Systems

Within the general category of centrifugal pumps are end-suction, turbine, submersible, and booster pumps.

  • End-Suction Pumps – The most frequently used type of irrigation pumps are end-suction pumps. They are best used when the water inlet is submersed. End-suction pumps push water out, rather than suck it in, so water can flow freely into the inlet

  • Turbine Pumps – Another frequently used irrigation system pump is the turbine model. They are used inside wells with a motor sitting on top of the well. The centrifugal force of the turbine below the water’s surface sends water up the pump’s shaft and through an outlet that feeds the system. Turbine pumps are typically the strongest irrigation pumps, and used for larger installations. There are also smaller versions of turbine pumps called floating pumps, which are installed to float on the surface of a pond or lake, pumping water with a small turbine into an attached outlet tube.

  • Submersible Pumps – These pumps are installed completely underwater, pushing water out rather than sucking it in. Submersibles are the most efficient pump types for irrigation system use..

  • Booster Pumps – Customarily, booster pumps are some type of end-suction pump installed in a pump line after the main pump. Their name perfectly describes their function, to boost or increase water pressure flowing into the irrigation system whenever specific applications require higher pressure than what the main pump can provide.

Selecting the Right Pump

The right pump for the job depends on many things, including whether the irrigation installation is new or pre-existing as well as the amount of water the pump must move (GPM) and at what pressure (PSI). With a new installation, it is important to choose the right pump that best fits the water source, then design the irrigation system around that element; the size and strength of the pump can be adjusted once the final system has been designed and the amount of pressure required is known. For existing systems, replacing with the same type of pump is recommended unless the application was not originally correct, in which case it is recommended to add a booster pump to increase water pressure going through the system.

Understanding how different water pumps work when used in different irrigation system applications is the best way to choose the right pump. Running a large, agricultural irrigation systems without the benefit of the proper pump increases the need for future irrigation system repair and increased operating costs. The best choice is to discuss irrigation system design and pump choice with an experienced irrigation system services company that can help determine current pumping needs!

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