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Possible to get more flow from city water with a pump?

sunlight33
sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
Imagine if I disconnect the supply pipe to the rest of the plumbing in my home, if I turn on the valve this flow rate at whatever GPM would be the theoretical max. given by the city supply. My question is that is it possible to get more GPM from this supply like using a pump?

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,175
    They make booster pumps. They are mostly used for hi rise buildings. The water main comes into the basement or first floor. The higher u go up in the building the lower the water pressure u have.

    In your case you are limited by the size of the incoming water pipe and the pressure you have.

    Is your main supply pipe plastic, copper or Galvanized steel (hopefully not)?

    What pressure do you have? Have you ruled out any broken or partially closed valves?

    What do you need more water for?
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    My supply pipe is 3/4'' copper, pressure is about 50 psi (limited by the water tower height), the main ball valve was recently replaced, the old one could not open fully.
    I need more flow so I can reduce watering time for my lawn. My concern is that if I use a pump would my neighbors notice any drop if water pressure or flow in their houses?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,256
    Why do you need to reduce watering time? Usually you look at the flow available and you divide the yard in to zones that need less than that available flow.
    Intplm.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,062

    My supply pipe is 3/4'' copper, pressure is about 50 psi (limited by the water tower height), the main ball valve was recently replaced, the old one could not open fully.
    I need more flow so I can reduce watering time for my lawn. My concern is that if I use a pump would my neighbors notice any drop if water pressure or flow in their houses?

    Indeed they might. The maximum flow you can get out of your house feed is determined by the street pressure and the head loss through your own supply pipe. In order to get more flow, you will need to lower the pressure at your house below atmospheric with your pump. This will, in turn, lower the pressure in the street main -- not as much, but some. Two problems. First, a portion of your supply line will now be under a vacuum, and if there are any leaks you will be drawing in whatever contamination may -- and probably is -- in the groundwater around your house. This may or may not be desirable. Second, you will lower the street pressure, and all your neighbours will be affected. They will have lower pressure and flow.

    I might add that if your water company should happen to inspect the arrangement, they will be less than pleased.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    PC7060RPK
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    Right, and if the pump is large enough I could suck the line dry right? I live in a dead end with several houses in a radial pattern, so it will affect more than just the house to my left and right.
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    mattmia2 said:

    Why do you need to reduce watering time? Usually you look at the flow available and you divide the yard in to zones that need less than that available flow.

    Because I need to manually move my sprinkler to cover all areas, but if I get more flow I can potentially run two sprinklers at the same time.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,062
    Assuming 50 feet of 3/4 inch copper in new condition, no elbows, fittings, no curb stop, the most you can get out of that service line is about 15 gpm. Any fittings etc. will reduce that -- never mind the hose leading to your sprinklers. I would be kind of surprised if at the end of the day you could feed more than two ordinary residential sprinklers from that line -- and you'd not have anything like their rated pressure, so they wouldn't sprinkle much... nor would you have any water pressure left in the house.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 426
    If this is really what you want to do and you really want to water your lawn quickly, you could add a large 1,000 to 10,000 gallon domestic water storage tank, somewhere in your home and add a pump to it to give you the water pressure and flow that you desire. Tank size is determined by the space available. Me, I hook up 1 or 2 sprinklers, turn on the water faucet equipped with one of those cheap timers, and go do other chores or go lay in my hammock with a beverage in hand.
    mattmia2
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,621
    Where I live booster pumps on city water are very common. Some folks are using inline variable speed pumps, others use a fixed speed pump with a pressure tank.
    With a typical city water system where 3/4" or 1" service lines are tapped into larger (3"+) water main, I don't think it is likely that you will effect your neighbors pressure. If there a multiple homes sharing a common smaller service line, it might be an issue.
    50 PSI is pretty decent pressure and a 3/4" copper service is typical for a single family residence. I would suggest observing your pressure over a period of time to see if it fluxuates during peak times. You can also learn a great deal about the distribution system by observing your static pressure (no flow) and dynamic pressure (lot's of valves open).
    If you have pretty steady pressure >40psi (dynamic at all times of day), I am not sure a booster setup will help that much.
    Keep in mind that if you get too greedy, you will cavitate the pump and or wear out your service line.
    Test your flow rate (either clock the meter or time how long it takes to fill a bucket) and observe the pressure when you are doing that. Report back and we should be able to determine if a booster will help.

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.supplyhouse.com/product_files/Grundfos-98562817-Brochure.pdf
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Superior-Pump-Jet-0-5-HP-Cast-Iron-Convertible-Jet-Well-Pump/1002778860
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Zurn-HGI-25-Hose-Bibb-Pressure-Gauge-with-Maximum-Pressure-Indicator
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Intplm.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,256
    Probably your least expensive option would be to get a couple installation type sprinkler heads made to cover the area you need to cover for the flow you have available and rig them up with a hose fitting and a stake and put it on a timer and just let it run. Installing a few heads and some valves and using a regular irrigation timer in sequence is a better idea. Either is likely a lot less expensive than a cistern or replacing the service with a larger service. The larger service usually comes with a bigger monthly fee as well.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,632
    Do water meters like extra flow?
    I like RetiredGuy's suggestion.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,676
    If you pull too much water through that pipe and it's fittings you'll be replacing it due to erosion.

    https://www.copper.org/applications/plumbing/techcorner/designing_piping_systems.html
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Intplm.
  • bobcat1974
    bobcat1974 Member Posts: 4
    edited April 9
    We put Goulds  jet pumps on city water mains all the time. You will also need a check valve and a 20 or 33 gallon expansion tank. Boost your pressure to 65-70 psi. We typically put them in for people with buried sprinkler systems, but it works for the whole house. I don’t think it would “suck anything dry” and the water main probably always fluctuates at peak times so I would not be concerned about pressure drop for neighbors. ( just my opinion)

    Bobcat 
    Intplm.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,676

    We put Goulds  jet pumps on city water mains all the time. You will also need a check valve and a 20 or 33 gallon expansion tank. Boost your pressure to 65-70 psi. We typically put them in for people with buried sprinkler systems, but it works for the whole house. I don’t think it would “suck anything dry” and the water main probably always fluctuates at peak times so I would not be concerned about pressure drop for neighbors. ( just my opinion)


    Bobcat 
    What kind of volume do you usually see from a 3/4" pipe with these setups?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,062
    Yes, up to a point, @bobcat1974 , it will work. Like so many things which works "all the time". The only comments I will make are, first, there is a very definite upper limit to how much water you can pull through that pipe and the fittings; assuming 100 feet of pipe and the usual collection of fittings and the jet pump capable of pulling 25 feet of vacuum, somewhere around 15 to 25 gpm.

    At that flow, at least two thirds of the pipe from the street will be under a vacuum, which is problematic if there are any leaks. It's also against the plumbing code (or at least it used to be), but that's immaterial so long as no one looks.

    It's also prohibited by the water company, again at least in my area; if an inspector should happen to notice, they will shut you off at the curb cock and remove your meter. But that's also immaterial, so long as no one looks, isn't it?

    Anything's goes, so long as you can get away with it.

    And you are correct, if you are the only one doing it, it probably won't the neighbours much, so again, who cares?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,676

    Yes, up to a point, @bobcat1974 , it will work. Like so many things which works "all the time". The only comments I will make are, first, there is a very definite upper limit to how much water you can pull through that pipe and the fittings; assuming 100 feet of pipe and the usual collection of fittings and the jet pump capable of pulling 25 feet of vacuum, somewhere around 15 to 25 gpm.

    At that flow, at least two thirds of the pipe from the street will be under a vacuum, which is problematic if there are any leaks. It's also against the plumbing code (or at least it used to be), but that's immaterial so long as no one looks.

    It's also prohibited by the water company, again at least in my area; if an inspector should happen to notice, they will shut you off at the curb cock and remove your meter. But that's also immaterial, so long as no one looks, isn't it?

    Anything's goes, so long as you can get away with it.

    And you are correct, if you are the only one doing it, it probably won't the neighbours much, so again, who cares?

    And you're looking at 12fpm at 20gpm through a 3/4" pipe which is way above recommended velocities.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,062
    Before someone starts screaming that booster pumps are used all the time. They are, and very much have their uses and purposes. Where the problem which is being looked at in the thread is is in trying to get more water out of a service connection than it would deliver under open flow conditions -- that is, a wide open pipe (atmospheric pressure) at the outlet.

    If the project in question -- or any booster pump application -- is designed and regulated so that the pressure in the piping never goes below atmospheric (begin a conservative sort, I'd restrict it to 5 psi gauge), then there is no problem. In this application, the code and health problems could be resolved by the simple expedient of placing a vacuum breaker on the inlet to the pump. It might be kind of tough on the pump, but it would ensure that the pressure in the piping never dropped below atmospheric.

    As someone noted above, however, a far better solution if the OP wanted to water his entire estate at once without having to actually move sprinklers would be to have a storage tank of a volume appropriate to the water required for the estate and pump from that. The tank would be refilled over the course of a day by a float valve with either a vacuum breaker or, preferably, an air gap.

    This arrangement, incidentally, is how virtually all domestic water supplies are arranged in the United Kingdom -- the property has a tank (referred to as a cistern) and supplies the domestic water either by a pump or at least as commonly by gravity, with the cistern elevated in, for instance, the attic.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JDHW
    JDHW Member Posts: 17
    Just picking up on Jamie's comment. In the UK it is ILLEGAL to pump water from the incoming main. You have to have a "break tank" - tank with a incoming float valve and particular air gap between the valve outlet and the water level. There are lots of other rules about tank having a mesh on the overflow pipe and tight fitting lid to prevent insects and light getting in. Have to insulate the tank to prevent freezing and heating up because they are usually in loft/attic space just below the roof.

    The domestic supplies are as Jamie mentioned except that the cold tap in the kitchen and cold taps in basins that might be used for teeth cleaning are must be connected to the incoming main. For most homes the incoming supply is a plastic pipe equivalent to 15mm - 1/2 inch - which is why we have tanks for baths and showers. Pumps as well if you like a shower that is a bit better than going for a walk when it is raining lightly :-)

    BW John
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    Recently I completed re-piping work for my house. I removed RPV, changed filter housing (old one was installed backwards), added a wifi water switch (so I can monitor pressure and flow rate and have control over water main while I am away), added a new full-flow outdoor spigot (old one used 1/2'' pipe, new one uses 1'').
    Static pressure used to be between 40-45 psi, now without PRV it's at 51 psi, dynamic pressure improved most dramatically, before it was around 30 psi when I turn on just one faucet in the house, now it's at 48 psi. Now to the fun part, the outdoor faucet which I used for watering lawn had flow rate of 3.3 GPM, now using the new faucet I installed it's at 4.5 GPM (limited by the sprinkler itself). If I open the new faucet without connecting anything it's at 8 GPM, but the pressure drops to like 1 psi, the pressure gauge I installed next to the water main was showing 6 psi. Why do you think opening the faucet completely will cause this massive pressure drop?
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,621
    What you are seeing is the cumulative pressure drop in your system at different flow rates. If you graphed the results you would have a perfect system curve. Your results look normal for typical residential pipe sizing.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    Hypothetically if I open the water main valve with nothing attached downstream it would probably do no more than 9 GPM, I was expecting something like 12 if not 15 from this 3/4'' main pipe. Oh well, I guess that's the way it is when you have city water.
    Earlier I had the chance to examine the water meter and found it's dirty inside, so I suspect it might contribute some to the overall system pressure drop, but if the pressure gauge installed upstream to it is showing only 6 psi at 8 GPM then it's safe to say the water meter is not the limiting factor, right?
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,621
    I would think you would get upwards of 20 GPM if you pulled the meter and just let it rip.
    The meter, the interior piping, and the hose valve are limiting factors.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    edited July 1
    I would think so too but if the pressure gauge (upstream to meter) shows 45 psi drop (from 50 psi static to 5) at 8 GPM, then I suspect the main culprit is the distribution outside of my house. When I get a chance I will talk to the town people about it.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,621
    That's a lot of drop. I missed that, I agree with your conclusion.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 586
    Firstly each water sprinkler head should be larger than 1/2 gpm. Your real problem is to have sprinkler zones where each zone should not exceed 5 GPM. This would require a clock to water the zones for about 1 hour and and an automatic switch to open and and close each zone. These devices are available at Lowes, Home depot or a commercial gardening supply.

    Jake
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 927
    edited July 2
    X
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,676
    bob eck said:

    Check out this pump

    https://documentlibrary.xylemappliedwater.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/22/files/2020/09/ResiBoost-Sales-Brochure-–-RESIBSALES-R2-3-29-–-web.pdf?_ga=2.194003694.2108002922.1625224365-1367768366.1625224365

    Goulds Pumps Resiboost pressure boosting pump. Will keep city water pressure constant.

    Set it for 60 PSI or so and the pump will turn on when pressure is below 60 PSI and keep the pressure constant.


    As long as you feed it enough volume, otherwise it'll cavitate.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,062
    ChrisJ said:

    bob eck said:

    Check out this pump

    https://documentlibrary.xylemappliedwater.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/22/files/2020/09/ResiBoost-Sales-Brochure-–-RESIBSALES-R2-3-29-–-web.pdf?_ga=2.194003694.2108002922.1625224365-1367768366.1625224365

    Goulds Pumps Resiboost pressure boosting pump. Will keep city water pressure constant.

    Set it for 60 PSI or so and the pump will turn on when pressure is below 60 PSI and keep the pressure constant.


    As long as you feed it enough volume, otherwise it'll cavitate.
    Yup. And like any other pump, not only will it cavitate, it will destroy itself in short order if you get the pressure at the inlet much below atmospheric.

    If you really want to know how much water you can get, pump or no pump, take @Zman 's implied suggestion: disconnect your house plumbing just after the meter and measure the flow from the open outlet of the meter (no, I don't know what you'll do with the water -- that's your problem). That's it. That's the maximum you can get.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Zmansunlight33
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,320
    Hey @sunlight33 Are you using an "Irrigation system?" or are you moving garden hoses around?
    If it's garden hoses, I've done what @bobcat1974 mentions above many times.
    If it's an irrigation system. There are things you can do at your irrigations controller that will help with your situation.
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 338
    Intplm. said:

    Hey @sunlight33 Are you using an "Irrigation system?" or are you moving garden hoses around?
    If it's garden hoses, I've done what @bobcat1974 mentions above many times.
    If it's an irrigation system. There are things you can do at your irrigations controller that will help with your situation.

    I am just moving garden hoses (attached to a sprinkler) around. Luckily we've gotten plenty of rain this year so I am good. The best part about redoing the pipe in my house is that now I can take a shower with decent pressure while the outdoor sprinkler is running.
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