Choosing a Sprinkler Pump for Lawn Irrigation

A sprinkler pump is used to increase the water pressure from an existing source or to draw water from a low-pressure source. The booster pump is placed between the water source (a well, pond or city water supply) and the irrigation system.

When selecting a pump, you'll need to figure the difference between your existing water pressure (zero, if from a pond or lake) and the pressure needs of the sprinkler system. To measure the existing water pressure, attach a pressure gauge to the faucet supplying the irrigation system. Subtract this reading from the pressure needs of your sprinkler system. The result will tell you what capacity pump you'll need to boost the water pressure.

Pump manufacturers rate pressure in "feet head." If your irrigation system requirements and home pressure readings are in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), you can convert to feet head using this formula: PSI x 2.31 = feet head. This will allow you to compare pumps and find one that matches your needs.

Types Of Pumps
There are several types of pumps suitable for lawn irrigation. The type you choose will depend on the water source and configuration of your irrigation system.

Centrifugal Pumps. Installed above ground, centrifugal pumps are the most common form of lawn irrigation pump. These pumps must be primed each time they are used to provide water suction. Centrifugal pumps are inexpensive, but may not be as powerful or durable as other types of pumps.

Submersible Pumps. Installed underwater, submersible pumps don not need to be primed. Typically manufactured in a cylindrical form, submersible pumps are a great choice for use with well water. Submersible pumps are generally the most efficient for lawn irrigation.

Turbine/Jet Pumps. Using a combination design, turbine pumps have an above ground motor with a pump that sits below the surface. Turbine pumps can be expensive, but can provide high capacity for large scale landscaping uses.

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