basics of solar water pumping
Surface pumps are a key component in solar water systems. They are simple and reliable pumps to move water to and from your holding tank to your home. These can also be used to boost water pressure inside the home, so that your shower is a satisfying spray, your upstairs faucet flows nicely and your toilet flushes as needed.
If you are pumping water from a water source into a storage tank, they can be run PV direct, connected right to a solar panel, preferably with a pump controller to boost the solar panels current output to the pump, making it start earlier and run later. With PV direct, you simply pump water when the sun is up, and store it to be used whenever you need it, regardless of the sun. If you are using the pump as a booster pump to increase your water pressure, then it needs to be connected to a battery bank to make sure power is available when you need to add pressure. Otherwise, you’d never be able to take a shower at night after the sun went down.
Surface pumps vs. submersible pumps
Surface pumps look a bit different from a submersible pump, which are intended to be lowered into a well, and pulls the surrounding water into its body, pushing out the top pipe connection. Surface pumps have an intake and an output to piping, and sit above the water, in a protected location.
SHURflo Surface Pumps
SHURflo surface pumps are a reliable and economical option for the solar user. If you need to move water from your tank to your home or to boost the pressure inside, then you should consider SHURflo for your needs.
SHURflo has three series of surface pumps.
- SHURflo 8000 series is designed to boost pressure inside the home. It is higher pressure of 60 to up to 120psi and about 1 1/2 gallons per minute, depending on the model. These are available in 12vdc, 24vdc, and 115vac.
- SHURflo 2088 series are medium volume transfer pumps. They pump up to 3 gallons per minute and up to 50psi. These are also available in 12vdc, 24vdc and 115vac.
- SHURflo 5000 series are high volume water movers. These pump up to 5.3gpm and up to 60psi. Also available in 12vdc or 24vdc.
Pumps are generally able to push water much further than pulling it, so you want to install the pump as close the water source as possible. SHURflo surface pumps are self-priming up to 6 or 8 feet, depending on the model. They can run dry without damage, and are user serviceable. The pumps can be mounted in any manner to fit where you need it. The 5000 series features a sealed switch and motor shell to keep incidental water spray from damaging the pump. But do note, that even though it is a sealed motor and switch, all SHURflo surface pumps are designed to be installed out of the elements in a building or shed.
SHURflo Surface Pump Tips
- When installing a SHURflo surface pump, please be certain to install a SHURflo strainer on the intake. This will strain away any debris harmful to the pump. Be certain to also clean out the strainer, as needed.
- The fittings are all tapered thread, so do NOT over-tighten these. Thread by hand until snug and then perhaps another 1⁄4 turn – that is it, not more is needed.
- No pipe tape is needed on the pump fittings. These are tapered and do not need tape, which could find it’s way in the pump head causing damage.
- When winter is on its way, be sure to winterize your water system, especially surface pumps. This can be done by adding a food grade anti- freeze or removing the pumps for the cold season. Pumps with water in the head or the line can freeze and then expand. This can crack the pump head or line causing significant damage.