PumpChamber™

New, innovative, patented product that allows submersible well pumps to be used in ways never before imagined!

  • Convert standard submersible well pump to end suction
  • Use in cisterns
  • Use in storage tanks
  • Use in dug wells
  • Pumps from body of water 2 ½” deep
  • Available with or without pump
  • Installs through UniSeal Gasket for use in any size tank

When you give a mechanically-inclined person a new tool, it will be put to uses the designer never imagined. The submersible well pump is such a tool. It is used around the world in all sorts of applications, a great many of which fall just outside the design limits of its motor.

PumpChamber™ is designed to overcome some of the limitations of the submersible well pump while allowing the motor to run within its design parameters even when used in circumstances not envisioned by its designers.

The Tank PumpChamber™ is designed to allow submersible well pumps to be mounted vertically and deliver water from any body of water 2 ½” or more in depth. In other words, you can mount almost any submersible well pump in a PumpChamber™ and stand it vertically in a running stream 2½” deep and pump water all day long; or, you can put it in a tank, cistern, or dug well and use all but 2 ½” of the water! Order a PumpChamber™ and install your own pump, or buy it complete with the pump you need installed, tested, and ready to go.

Limitations of Submersible Pumps

Submersible well pumps are often used in water storage tanks. When mounted vertically, as they were designed to be, there is a lot of water that cannot be pumped from the tank. The reason for this is the design of the pump. Most submersible well pumps are designed with the motor under the pump. This picture shows a Sta-Rite pump with a Franklin motor mounted below. The pump intake is over the motor and below the pump.

This arrangement means that, with the pump mounted in the vertical position and the motor resting on the tank bottom, the minimum operating water depth for a ½ HP pump is about 11″ — that’s 11″ of water can’t be used. The addition of the “Flow Inducer Sleeve” recommended by Franklin Motors will not change this.

This is the reason that you often see pumps lying horizontally in the bottom of a tank installed in a “Flow Inducer Sleeve.”

Franklin Electric manufactures approximately 90% of all the motors used in submersible well pumps. They point out that their motors are designed for use primarily in the vertical position and although they can be used in other positions, the more horizontal the position, the more likely you are to shorten the operating life of the motor.

Franklin also requires a flow sleeve in certain conditions.The use of a flow sleeve is required when submersible pump motors are used in the horizontal position anywhere, or when mounted vertically in dug wells, large bore wells, storage tanks, cisterns, open bodies of water and similar installations.

The reason for the sleeve requirement is that a certain minimum flow rate is required across the motor to provide adequate cooling to assure maximum motor longevity.

A ½ horsepower submersible pump mounted in a “Flow Inducer Sleeve” lying on the bottom of a tank will change the minimum operating level from 11″ to 6″ or 7″ of water. Even so, there are other limitations that result from laying the pump down.

Submersible pumps are long. A ½ horsepower pump with a motor is about 22″ long, and a 1.5 HP pump might be 31″ long without any piping connected. When used in tanks, the size of the pump can be limited by the tank diameter unless you are willing to mount the pump vertically and give up use of 11″ to 15″ of the stored water, depending on pump size.

A PumpChamber™ allows you to pump all but 2 ½” of the water from tanks, cisterns, dug wells, or open bodies of water of any shape or diameter using a vertically mounted submersible pump of any length, while still providing proper motor cooling.

PumpChamber™ for Tanks

PumpChamber™ is available in any length so you can now install any size pump — even if it is taller than the tank you want to install it in! Our redesigned PumpChamber™ has a smooth, uniform exterior so it can be installed through a UniSeal gasket into ANY size or shape tank. Plus, the top can be easily disassembled in the field, so when installed in a tank through a UniSeal, the pump can be pulled for service without opening the tank.

This picture shows a PCO tank with a PumpChamber inserted through the top.

 

 

Large Diameter Shallow Wells

If you or one of your customers has a dug well, you’ve probably tried every trick in the book to collect the water it produces when the static level gets very low.

One common method involves using a submersible well pump installed in a “Flow Inducer Sleeve”, as required by Franklin Electric, and laying it down on a couple of bricks in the bottom of the well. This drastically shortens the life of the pump but permits water collection down to about 8 ½”.

Still others have tried using a sump pump to transfer water from a dug well to a cistern or some other atmospheric storage tank. The reasoning here is that a sump pump controlled by a float could pump the well down to within a few inches of the bottom where the float would turn the pump off. When incoming water raises the float the pump will come on again. With the sump pump power controlled by a tank full float in a cistern or storage tank, you get a simple automatic system that could collect water from a dug well if you could find a sump pump that would lift the water high enough.

That leaves a two-pipe jet pump as the only reasonable answer for hand dug wells deeper than 20′ where the static water level is very low. The danger here is that without a low water cut-off in the well to turn the pump off if the water gets too low, the pump may suck in air and lose its prime. To use a jet pump, there needs to be a space to install the pump that will protect it from freeze damage. Often this ends up being a manhole made of culvert pipe that acts as the access way to the buried storage tank or cistern. These underground equipment areas are frequently very humid; a condition that results in the failure of electrical connections, controls, and motors.

The best answer — PumpChamber™.

A standard submersible well pump of the appropriate size, mounted inside our patented PumpChamber™, can deliver water from dug wells even if the water level gets very low. Installed with a low water cut-off float, you can collect the yield of dug wells using the simple operating system described above. The pump can be installed vertically in the well. There is no mechanical space required as in the case of a jet pump; there is no reduction in the life expectancy of the pump; and there is no restriction on the length of the pump, so it can be sized to deliver water to any location, near or far!

A PumpChamber™ with low water float (Fig 1), installed in a dug well can be used to feed a standard pressure tank, a cistern, or a Herculan ConstaBoost™ Static Storage System. When used with a properly sized Herculan System, it is possible to take a dug well that used to run out of water, produce low pressure, and provide terrible plumbing performance, into one that provides plenty of water and plumbing performance that rivals any city-supplied building.

See the diagram here.

Installing a Pump in a PumpChamber

For a printable version of this page, click here.

1. Remove the four ¼ – 28 stainless steel set screws that hold the PumpChamber™ top in place. Be sure they are withdrawn far enough that the “O” ring will not be damaged when you pull the top out. If in doubt, remove the screws.

2. Remove the check valve in the discharge end of your pump. The StaRite in Fig. 2 pulls out, and the Myers in Fig. 3 is held in place by a threaded retainer. Regardless of the pump brand, these check valves must be removed in order to prime the PumpChamber™

3. Assemble the pump to the chamber top using the high-pressure hose provided. Be sure all sharp clamp edges are covered with electrical tape to prevent wire damage. Verify that the assembled length of the pump and chamber top will result in at least 1” of space between the bottom of the pump motor and the inside bottom of the PumpChamber™ once the unit is assembled. If the motor gets too close to the Chamber inlet, the pumping capacity of the finished assembly may be restricted.

4. Insert the wires through the PumpChamber™ top. The chamber top has a fitting and a sealing sleeve for each pump wire. There are 3 fittings for 2-wire motors and 4 for 3-wire motors (Fig 4). The power wires have a larger outside diameter than the green ground wire. The clear sealing sleeve is for the green wire.

Remove the compression nuts, sealing sleeves and compression ferrules. Before removing the 2-piece ferrule from the sealing sleeve, take note of the order and orientation of the parts. Strip ½” to 1” of insulation from the end of each motor wire. Lubricate the wires with wire lube or silicone spray (fig. 5). Push the stripped end of wire through the sealing sleeve and grab the bare wire with a pair of pliers (fig. 6). Holding the sealing sleeve firmly, pull the wire through until the sleeve is seated in the compression fitting body, leaving a little slack in the wire on the pump side of the fitting. The green wire sleeve will be the tightest fit (fig. 7). Replace the ferrules and nuts over the wire sealing sleeves and hand tighten. Do not over tighten; those in figure 8 held a pressure test even though there were several threads still showing.

5. Install the completed assembly in the PumpChamber™. Lubricate the large “O” ring that seals the chamber top and the inside first 3” of PumpChamber™ barrel with silicone lube or spray. Verify that there are no burrs at the set screw holes. Lift the pump into the chamber and lower it, being careful not to damage the area of the barrel where the “O” ring seats, until the “O” ring on the chamber top rests on the chamfered edge of the opening. Between the weight of the pump, some wiggling and a firm push, the chamber top will go into the chamber barrel until the stop hits the barrel top. If the “O” ring sealed, you will find it very hard to rotate the top by hand. If it rotates easily, the “O” ring probably did not seal and you will have to remove and reseal the top. Insert the four ¼-28 x ⅜” stainless set screws and snug them up. The tips of these screws should seat in a “V” groove in the chamber top. When properly seated the heads should be flush or slightly recessed into the pipe.

6. Pressure test assembled PumpChamber™. Place a threaded PVC pipe plug in the threaded pump outlet. Remove the blue vent tube from the quick connect fitting on the Chamber top: hold down the ring on the face of the fitting immediately around the blue tube using a fingernail or screwdriver and pull up firmly to unseat the tube. Using a gage set up like that in fig. 10, press the ¼” OD tube into the quick connect fitting and pressurize the PumpChamber™ SLOWLY with an air compressor, watching to see that the top is not coming out of the barrel. DO NOT STAND DIRECTLY OVER THE PUMPCHAMBER WHILE PRESSURIZING. Stop when you have 30 PSI. Spray soapy water around the wires, wire fittings and the joint between the PumpChamber top and barrel. You may find that the gage fades slightly as it is sometimes difficult to get the check valve to seal very well with air. If there are no bubbles the assembly is ready to use. Remove the test rig by depressing the ring around the tube and reconnect the blue PumpChamber™ vent.

Piping a PumpChamber™

A PumpChamber™ is not a pressure vessel! It is open to the atmosphere through the blue vent tube. If a PumpChamber™ is connected to pressurized storage, there must be a check valve installed on the line between the PumpChamber™ and the point at which it connects to the pressure tank.

If a PumpChamber™ is connected to atmospheric storage with a fill that terminates below the water line, you need a check valve to prevent siphoning the content of the tank back to wherever it came from. The safest place to put the check valve is right at the pressure or atmospheric tank. You will need a priming port so you can pour water into the chamber through the pump. You do not want the check valve to end up between the priming port and the pump. If that happens, you will not be able to prime the PumpChamber™.

There are several ways to prime a pump chamber:

  1. Wait until the water level where the PumpChamber™ is installed rises above it and let the air out through a union or priming port in the pump discharge piping.
  2. If you have enough vertical pipe to develop some pressure, pour water into the pump through a priming port in the pump discharge piping and push the air in the upper part of the PumpChamber™ out through the blue vent tube.
  3. If you are working in very shallow water with very little vertical pipe above the pump, disconnect the blue tube by depressing the ring on the fitting face around the blue tube while pulling firmly. Pour water through a union or priming port in the pump discharge piping until it comes out of the ¼” quick connect fitting.
  4. Force prime the chamber with a pressurized water hose. Connect a water hose to the priming port and push the air out of the PumpChamber™ through the blue vent tube.

How a PumpChamber™ Works

When you turn the pump inside the PumpChamber™ on, it tries to send the content of the pump and PumpChamber™ up the discharge piping. When this happens, the pressure inside the PumpChamber™ becomes negative, and more water is pulled into the Chamber through the check valve at the Chamber bottom and the blue tube connected at the top. Water entering both ends of the PumpChamber™ keeps the entire inside space active, thus depriving bacteria of the quiet breeding places they love. When the pump is off, pressure in the PumpChamber™ goes to zero. Because both the main inlet and the blue vent tube terminate at the foot of the PumpChamber™, it is possible to pump water all the way down to 2 ½” or even lower, if you don’t mind having to reprime the pump.

Preventing Loss of Prime

Figure 11 shows a PumpChamber™ with a pump down float attached. Properly set up this float can turn the pump off before the water level falls low enough that the pump begins to take in air or run dry.