It's 2022 and rainwater harvesting has made a huge advancements in effectiveness and affordability in the last few years. Today, it is extremely affordable to find hardware that can harvest rain from your home's very own gutter system. If you are one of the people that have invested into a rainwater harvesting system, you may be surprised to know that there are many different uses for rainwater outside of watering your plants.
Rainwater can be used for washing machines, sprinkler systems, flushing toilets and more. And if you have an already functioning rainwater harvesting system the only thing you are missing is a rainwater harvesting pump and plumbing connections. Today, we will be focusing on the former; Rainwater Harvesting Pumps.
Adding a pump to your system provides the ability to pump water at a higher flow rate than is possible with a simpler, gravity-based rainwater harvesting setup. Choosing your pump will depend on a number of factors, so take a look below for some assistance selecting the correct one for you.
The first step of picking out a pump for your rainwater harvesting system is the end use. For example, if you are wanting to use your collected rainwater to flush the toilets in your home, it's good to know that toilets have a flow rate of 1.6 gallons per flush. The pump you chose would have to be able to support this rate for it to be functional. Similar aspects need to be considered for other applications such as a water hose or washing machine.
To begin, figure out what you will want to use your harvested rainwater for, and then you can begin looking through different rainwater harvesting pumps.
Choosing a Pump
Once you know your application, the next step is to choose the corresponding pump that is needed. Here are the steps we recommends for choosing the appropriate rainwater harvesting pump.
Even with how affordable rainwater harvesting has become, pumps have a wide range of pricing. The first step to choosing a pump is figuring out how much you are wanting to spend. This amount will directly correspond to how much convenience, and capability the pump will provide. Combined with the application, having a set budget in mind will help with the rest of the buying process. Now lets look at the different types of pumps.
2. Pump Type
When it comes to pump type, there is a wide range of pumps for different applications. Generally speaking, there are two styles of pumps you need to be aware of: Manual Pumps and Automatic Pumps:
Manual pumps (sometimes called transfer pumps) are pumps that will require supervision and generally are only on when you need them. The key aspect to this style of pump is the continuous water flow requirement. This means if water is no longer flowing through the entire system, the pump needs to be shut off.
The downside of this design is the inconvenience of having to monitor your pump when it is active. For example, if you are planning to use this pump to get water out of your storage tank and pressurize a hose to water your plants, the hose needs to be consistently filled with flowing water. Failing to have continuous flow through the entire system can cause damage and overheating to your manual pump.
There is however, a lot of pros for manual pumps. The biggest pro for manual pumps is their price. Manual pumps are generally less expensive than automatic ones, which is where your budget comes in to place. Frequency can also be a dictator for your decision as if you are only pumping water out of your storage tank once every blue moon, maybe investing in an expensive pump is not the call.
Automatic pumps (sometimes called on-demand pumps) on the other hand, are generally more expensive, but have a huge increase in convenience factor. Once set up, automatic pumps either consistently stay on or have a sensor that turns the pump on when needed. If you are looking to use only your rainwater for jobs such as flushing toilets, automatic pumps are the way to go.
Automatic pumps are also more sophisticated in nature, giving you much more flexibility and control over the water you are pumping. Since they often have sensors to detect when pressure is needed, they will save you some money in the energy consumption department.
After picking out which type of pump you are going to go for, the next step is location. This may depend on your application, and space constraints.
There are two main options for the location of your pump, inside the tank (submersible) or outside the tank (external). Generally, submersible pumps are less noisy, but can be more of a hassle to maintain. External pumps on the other hand, can be easy to set-up and maintain but tend to be more noisy as they don't have the water muffling the sound.
Space may also be an issue if you are looking to install said pump underneath a house or areas where space is limited. Taking both aspects into consideration is very important to ensure you have a system in place to maintain your pump.
Electricity comes in to play if you are looking for a high-end system. Some higher pressure pumps require more electricity, which in turn can change around where you may want to plug it in. For example it may not be the best idea to have your pump on the same channels as your washing machine or microwave. Consult an electrician if you believe this could be an issue.
As mentioned earlier, pressure can be a big issue if you are looking to integrate your harvested rainwater into daily house hold uses such as laundry or flushing toilets. We wanted to add an extra point to this part as something you need to think about is running all these systems at once. If you are wanting a system that fully does multiple functions the required pressure of the pump will go up.
Rainwater harvesting pumps come in a wide range of complexity, convenience and prices. Understanding the application you are wanting to use your pump for is critical in choosing the correct pump. Make sure you understand the amount of electricity, pressure and flow rates that are needed for your desired application. Additionally, where the pump is going to be located is also important. Eduraplas has a great video to go over the deferent styles of pumps as well you can check that out below:
For those ready to shop around, you can view our entire rainwater harvesting pump lineup below: