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Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street, P.O. Box 7026, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026, USA
Telephone: (317) 925-9661 Fax: (317) 924-738


Nomogram: Pump performance according to affinity laws

The affinity laws (see Peerless Technical Information Bulletin No. 14) are a set of relationships
which, for centrifugal pumps, enable these determinations:
a. Capacity, head, NPSH and horsepower change as a result of speed change.
b. Capacity, head, NPSH and horsepower change as a result of impeller diameter change.
Affinity law calculations are frequently used in both constant speed and variable speed pump
application engineering. The calculations can become repetitive and perhaps tedious, particularly
in variable speed pump application engineering. This nonogram can simplify the determination of
performance changes resulting from speed (or impeller diameter) changes.


Example: A pump operating at 1,700 RPM delivers 200 GPM at 60 ft and requires 5 bhp. What will be the
performance if the speed is increased to 2,000 rpm?
Solution: Align 1,700 rpm scale with 200 on scale 0, and intersect pivot line. Align pOint on pivot line with 2,000
on rpm scale, and read 235 on scale O.
Align 1,700 on rpm scale with 60 on scale H, and intersect pivot line. Align point on pivot line with 2,000 on rpm
scale and read 83 ft on scale H.
Align 1,700 on rpm scale with 50 (or 50/10 = 5) on scale B, and intersect pivot line. Align point on pivot line with
2,000 on rpm scale, and read 81 on scale B; divide by 10 for 8.1 brake horsepower.

TIB No. 33 Revised 01-23-06

Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street, P.O. Box 7026, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026, USA
Telephone: (317) 925-9661 Fax: (317) 924-738


Reducing Energy Costs In Your Operating System

Owners of commercial and residential buildings from
all parts of the country claim that the present day cost
of energy is the primary concern in the operation of
their buildings. The cost of energy is the predominant
component in their total operating budget; about 25%
of the total spent in operating the building complex. To
control the cost of energy and improve the potential
profit, energy conservation measures are being
successfully applied.
The building complex may not experience the total
value of the money spent on energy. To determine
areas for the greatest potential of energy conservation,
and to develop a plan to control the use and cost of
energy, an energy audit is beneficial. Peerless Pump
is prepared to assist in formulating an audit to assist in
lowering the operating cost of pumping equipment
associated with heating, air conditioning, and domestic
water systems.
Energy conservation in a centrifugal pump installation
begins with the accurate information on system
requirements and pump operating characteristics. It is
a common engineering practice to apply safety
factors when determining flow and system head.
Consequently, to assure adequate flow, and to
overcome these safety factors, systems are designed
for excess capacity. This leads to higher than
necessary energy costs.
It is necessary to apply all available tools, operating,
and engineering skills to improve the overall pump and
system operating effectiveness.
Pumping and system operating costs can be controlled
substantially by applying these factors:
1. Determining accurate system flow (gpm)
2. Determining accurate system head requirements
by using appropriate system pressure drop data

3. Eliminating excessive safety factors

4. Use of energy effective control valves
5. Determining most suitable pumping arrangement,
such as zone pumping, primary-secondary
pumping, series or parallel pumping, or variable
speed pumping
6. Defining equipment complementary to the
application requirements for initial cost, reliability,
maintenance skills and costs, and operator
In systems that experience substantial periodic
demand changes, variable speed drives will reduce
pumping energy costs. To maximize economy and
reliability, matching a drive to a pump unit requires
good judgment as well as engineering skills. Reduction
of energy and operating costs can be illusive and often
not obtainable if pump and system performance
estimates are not accurate. Also, if the equipment is
not proper for the application, or not familiar to the
operating personnel, cost savings can be offset.
The best application is one where the user is
comfortable with the equipment, knows the product is
reliable, and is adequately serviced by reliable sources.
Todays technology has made available to the user
numerous choices of variable speed drives;
mechanical, electrical, and fluid types. The correct
choice can be made only after proper consideration
and evaluation of the equipment. For a cost effective
installation, it is important that the pumps, (variable
speed) drives, motors and controllers by coordinated
to be compatible. By doing this, the owner has a far
better chance to have a successful pumping system
and to see a reduction in energy costs.
The potential savings achieved through these
measures may be further enhanced by Federal and
State investment and energy tax credits. In addition
there may be incentives from local utility companies.

We stated earlier that systems which experience wide

periodic demand changes can benefit from variable
speed pumping and show reduced energy costs. This
happens because the energy, i.e. power, consumed by
the pump varies appreciably as the speed is reduced.
The brake horsepower of a centrifugal pump handling
water at 60F is calculated as follows:
Therefore, any change in system GPM and/or head will
generally affect the BHP., and also the energy
consumption. Figure 1 graphically illustrates a

comparison between the power required for a constant

speed pump, where a throttling valve is used to
introduce artificial friction to allow the pump to operate at
reduced demand, and the power required for a variable
speed pump, where RPM is reduced to meet demand.
Obviously, a throttling valve wastes energy, thus
increasing operating costs.

3960 xEFF ( PUMP )

Figure 1
em andan

stem with variable RPM is graphically

illustrated by figure 2. Note, that at lower flows, the

difference in energy requirements becomes

Figure 2

Also, variable speed pumping will expand the energy

savings by taking advantage of increases in suction
pressure while a throttled unit will not. For example, in
a variable speed pumping unit, an increase of 10 PSI
in suction pressure can increase the energy savings
by an additional 15% over figure 2. In a throttled
pumping unit, the 10 PSI added suction pressure will
be dissipated as friction loss through the valve while
the energy requirements would remain the same. In
this example, the variable speed pump would gain an
additional advantage for energy savings of about 25%
over a throttling valve pump system. Variable speed
pumping is a recognized approach towards energy

To achieve the full benefits of energy cost reduction,

the auditor must have a working knowledge of the
application and the related pumping equipment.
The information required includes:

Accurate system flow (gpm) requirements

Accurate system head requirements

Accurate information on bui


Complete list of system components

Complete operating cycle of the system

With this information, and the information available
through the Peerless system, an accurate audit can be
performed with a minimum of inconvenience to the

Technical Information Bulletin 37 Revised 01-23-06

Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026



Copyright 2002 Sterling Fluid Systems (USA) Inc.

Page 1


Page 2


Page 3

TIB#19 Revised 10-8-02

Page 4

Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr Martin Luther King Jr. St.
P.O. Box 7026
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026

Number One

On Sump Design For Obtaining Optimum Performance from Pumps
"Something is wrong with the pump-it is
pulling in slugs of air."
That remark is frequently made when a poor
sump design has caused flow patterns which
result in the formation of vortexes. A poor
sump design will not only require abnormal
submergences to overcome these vortexes,
but can also cause cavitation and
detrimentally affect pump performance. In
many cases the pumps are blamed for
something that cannot be controlled in the
design of the pumps. The best sump design
appears to be also the most economical
sump design in that it will insure maximum
operating values for the pumping equipment
Factors of good and bad sump design are
presented here in a simple diagramatic
manner. This is a pictorial conclusion of
various investigations made by the University
of California, Peerless Pump, and others.
Until recently, little information was available
on sump design, and many features of sump
layouts still require additional study. Often the
analysis of a given sump design can only be
made by testing of a scale model of the sump
1.Whenever possible, make sump
layout arrangements per the principles
illustrated as shown on
page 2 under recommended sump

designs. The fundamental element is

that the water should






enter the pump chamber with a

m101mum of turbulence.
recommended are shown at the bottom of
page 2. Avoid arrangements that will
make sudden changes in the direction of
flow of water to the pumps. Walls, pump
columns, channel openings, etc., can disturb the flow.
The configuration of the sump floor should
be such that abrupt changes occur at
least five diameters from the side of the
pump. The more distance from the pump
to the change in contour the better. See
sketches at the top of page 3.
Water must be flowing parallel to the
sump walls when it reaches the pump.
See sketches at right' of page 3.
Avoid columns and cross braces in the
sump ahead of pumps whenever possible.
Streamline sump structural supports.
A sump design velocity of 1 foot per
second at minimum water level is good
practice. If some elements of good
practice must be violated in a given sump
design, the detrimental effects may be
reduced by lowering the velocity of flow in
the sump.


Recommended sump designs are illustrated in these diagrams. Whenever possible, make sump layout arrangements
in accordance with principles illustrated.
The fundamental requirement is that the water should enter the pump chamber with a minimum of
turbulence and at a low velocity.



Sump designs which are not
recommended are shown in
arrangements which make
sudden changes in the
direction of Row of water to
the pump are to be avoided.
channel openings, etc., can
disturb the flow.

Avoid columns and cross

braces in the sump ahead of
pumps whenever possible.
structural supports as shown.


due to excessive wear, will result from steep "drop-offs" in approach channels as shown


restricted areas adjacent to the pump
intake invariably cause turbulence,
with corresponding reduction in

The configuration of the sump floor

should be such that abrupt changes
occur at least five diameters from
the side of the pump. The more
distance from the pump to the
change in contour the better the
pump suction entrance conditions.

BENDS IN APPROACH CHANNELS to the sumps of large sewage pumps (left) caused
serious disturbances of flow and induced vortices that reduced the efficiency of the pumps. A
better layout is shown at the right.



2' /SEC.



2' /SEC.



2' /SEC.



2' /SEC.



2' /SEC.



2' /SEC.



2' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



4' /SEC.



Recommended sump design when flow is

parallel to sump walls.


"Model sump tests"; by R. H. Bird,

Engineer, Peerless Pump Company

"Air entrainment in pump suction in

open sumps"; by H. W. Iverson, Assistant
A SIDE INLET above the bottom of the circular sump of an irrigation pump resulted in
turbulence and vortices

Professor of Mechanical Engineering,

University of California, Berkeley, Calif.

"Studies of submergence requirements

of high specific speed pumps"; by H. W.
Iverson, Assistant Professor of Mechanical
Engineering, University of California,
Berkeley, Calif. (ASME meeting 6-11-51).

A sump designed for water velocity of 1 foot per sec. at minimum water level is
good practice. If some elements of good practice must be violated in a given
sump application, the detrimental effects may be usually reduced by lowering
the velocity of flow in the sump.

"Hydraulic problems encountered in the

intake structures of vertical wet pit pumps,
and methods leading to their solution"; by H.
W. Fraser, Engineer, Worthington Corp.

Type: Vertical, encased, closecoupled, single or multi-stage
Described in Bulletin No. B-3400
Up to 3000 gpm
Up to 1000 feet
As required.
vertical solid shaft or
motors; steam

designed for
systems with low
available NPSH
(net positive
suction head)

Types: Single and multi-stage
propeller and mixed-flow
Described in Bulletin No. B-300
600 to 220,000 GPM
2 to 60 feet
hollow shaft or solid
shaft electric motors,
belt and right angle
gear drive from
stationary engines
APPLICATION: Drainage, flood
control, circulating,
industrial wastes;
pumping from lakes,
rivers, reservoirs,
canals, etc.
LUBRICATION: Choice of oil or
water lubrication

Type: Vertical, close coupled, single
or multi-stage, centrifugal
Described in Bulletin No. B-100
CAPACITIES: Up to 1400 gpm
: Up to 300 psi
volatile liquids,
chemical solutions,
APPLICATION: Transfer service,
pumping from tanks
and vessels
Any machinable
alloy or application
CONSTRUCTION: and liquid being
TIB #1 Revised 2-2006

Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026



Copyright 2002 Sterling Fluid Systems (USA) Inc.

Page 1


Page 2


Page 3

TIB# 7 Revised 10-8-02

Page 4

Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026



Copyright 2002 Sterling Fluid Systems (USA) Inc.

Page 1

Revised 6-2-03


Page 2


Page 3

TIB# 8 Revised 10-8-02

Page 4

Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street, P.O. Box 7026, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026, USA
Telephone: (317) 925-9661 Fax: (317) 924-738



the prototype will equal the horsepower of the model times
the size factor to the fifth power, or:

By R.P. Horwitz
Project Engineer

Qp = KD x Qm

The performance of a given pump at various speeds and

the performance of geometrically similar pumps is governed
by a set of formulas known as the affinity laws. The affinity
laws, or formulas, state that for a given pump, the capacity
will vary directly as the speed, the head and NPSH will vary
as the square of the speed, and the required horsepower will
vary as the cube of the speed or, mathematically:





Q = pump capacity in gallons, per minute at best efficiency point


Hp = KD
HPp = KD
where the subscripts
model, respectively.

Qp = KD

In the case of homologous pumps, the affinity laws state

that, if the model and prototype are run at the same speed,
the prototype capacity will equal the model capacity times
the cube of the size factor, the head and NPSH of the
prototype will equal the head and NPSH of the model times
the square of the size factor, and the required horsepower of




x HPm



denote prototype and

Hp = KD









HP = required horsepower at b.e.p.

The affinity laws also govern the performance of
geometically similar pumps; that is, pumps which are
identical except for size. If the performance of a given model
pump is known, the performance of a prototype pump can be
predicted. A prototype pump is made from a model by
multiplying all dimensions of the model by the same factor.
This size factor is denoted as KD. In this case, the prototype
pump and the model are said to be homologous to each

x Hm

If the prototype is to run at a different speed than the

model, the two foregoing sets of equations can be combined
to determine prototype performance:

H = pump head in feet at b.e.p.

NPSH = required NPSH in feet at b.e.p.


x RPM p



x RPM P x HPm

The following three examples show how these equations

are used.

HPp = KD

Example 1. Given: a pump with

performance at best efficiency point (b.e.p.):
Q = 1000 GPM
H = 150 Ft.
required NPSH =
HP =

11 Ft.

Speed = 1750 RPM



What will the performance of this pump be at b.e.p. when

run at 2900 RPM? Using equations (1), (2), (3) and (4):
Q = 1000 x 2900 = 1660 GPM



Both specific speed, Ns, (or more correctly, discharge
specific speed), and suction specific speeds, S, are mathematical derivations of the affinity laws. They are defined as:

H = 150 x 2900 = 411 Ft.

2900 2 = 30.2 Ft.
NPSH = 11 x


H3/ 4


NPSH 3 / 4



2900 = 205 H.P.

45 x

Example 2. Given: the same pump as in Example 1. The
when run at 1750 RPM?
First, Kn must be calculated:

HP =


KD =

The actual definition of specific speed is the RPM at

which a pump geometrically similar (or homologous) to the
one under consideration, but reduced in size, would run to
produce 1 GPM at 1 ft. head. Similarly, suction specific
speed is the RPM at which a pump geometrically similar to
the one under consideration, but reduced in size, would
produce 1 GPM at 1 ft. required NPSH.

= 1.69

Then, using equations (5), (6), (7) and (8) :


Qp = (1.69)

x 1000 = 4850 GPM

Hp = (1.69) x

NPSHp = (1.69)
HPp = (1.69)

150 = 430 Ft.

11 =

45 = 625 H.P.

These definitions have no practical significance, but the

values of these parameters are very useful and convenient
in the classification of pumps.

31.5 Ft.

(In actual practice, the required horsepower of the

prototype will be somewhat less since larger pumps tend to
be more efficient).
Example 3. Given: a pump
performance at best efficiency point:



where GPM, H and NPSH are taken at best efficiency



Q = 500 GPM
H = 350 Ft.
required NPSH = 10 Ft.
HP = 55
Speed = 3500 RPM

Specific speed is a type number, that is, its value is used

to determine the type of pump under consideration or the
type of pump required for a given set of conditions. Table I
shows the types of pumps for various specific speeds. In
general, pumps with a low specific speed are designated

ow capaci
and t
e wi
h a hi
gh s
c speed ar

Below 2,000
2,000- 5,000

Process Pumps, Feed Pumps
Turbine Pumps
Mixed Flow Pumps
Axial Flow Pumps


What will be the performance of a homologous pump with

an impeller diameter of 20 inches when run at 1170 RPM?

KD =


= 1.905

Then, using equations (9), (10), (11) and (12):

Unlike specific speed, suction specific speed is not a type

ormance with regard
to cavitation. Table II shows how pumps are rated according
to their suction specific speeds.

1170 x 500 = 1156 GPM

Qp = (1.905) x

1170 2 x 350 = 142 ft.
Hp = (1.905) x


NPSHp = (1.905)
HPp = (1.905)

x 1170 x 10 = 4.06 ft.


x 1170 x 55 = 51.5



Single Suction
Above 11,000
9,000 11,000
7,000 - 9,000
5,000 - 7,000
Below 5,000

Double Suction
Above 14,000
11,000 - 14,000
9,000 11,000
7,000 9,000

Very Poor

The following points should be understood about specific

speed and suction specific speed:
1. Both specific speed and suction specific speed remain
constant regardless of what speed a given pump is run.

From these values, the following chart can be prepared:







2. They are the same for homologous pumps.

3. They are inherent in the design of a given pump.
4. There is no relation between the two; that is, either high
or low specific speed pumps can have either high or low
suction specific speeds, depending upon the design.
Example 4. Given: the model and prototype pumps in
Example 3, determine whether they have the same specific
speed and suction specific speed and rate them according to
type and cavitation performance.
For the model: using equations (13) and (14):

3500 500 = 965

Ns =
350 3 / 4
3500 500
= 13,900
10 3 / 4
For the prototype:

1170 1156 = 965

142 3 / 4
S = 1170 1156 = 13,900
4.06 3 / 4

Ns =

(Actually, these numbers had to come out the same if the

calculations in Example 3 are correct since both specific
speed and suction specific speed are mathematical
derivations of the affinity laws).

In many cases, higher specific speed pumps can be used

to great advantage for a given operating condition. To meet
a given head and capacity, a higher specific speed pump will
run at a higher speed; it will therefore be smaller and thus
both pump and driver will be less expensive.
Example 5. Given: the following operating conditions:
Capacity 10,000 GPM
Head -

100 Ft.

Available NPSH -

32 Ft.

Determine the best pump operating speed assuming the

use of a single suction pump, an electric motor with 60 cycle
current, and operation at best efficiency point.
Using equations (13) and (14):

RPM 10,000
= RPM x 3.14
100 3 / 4
RPM 10,000
= RPM x 7.43
32 3 / 4

Ns =

From this chart, the following observations can be made:

1. 870 RPM operation and 1160 RPM operation are relatively simple from a design standpoint.
2. 3500 RPM operation is out of the question since a suction specific speed of 26,000 is virtually impossible to
attain with conventional pump designs. (Suction specific speeds as high as 40,000 have been attained by
the use of cavitating inducers).
3. 1750 RPM operation is most desirable; however, a
pump with excellent NPSH characteristics is required.

1. The affinity formulas are very useful in determining
pump performance at different speeds and for
determining performance of homologous pumps.
2. Homologous pumps are defined as pumps which are
geometrically similar but different in size.
3. Specific speed is a type number and is used to classify
4. Suction specific speed is used as a measure of
cavitation performance of a pump.
5. Specific speed and suction specific speed are applied to
a pump only at its best efficiency point.
6. Both specific speed and suction specific speed remain
constant for a given pump design regardless of what
speed the pump is run at or its size. (In actual practice,
large prototype pumps made from small models tend to
have a slightly higher specific speed than the model
since they tend to peak at a higher capacity than
predicted by the affinity laws.)
7. There is no relationship between specific speed and
suction specific speed, within limits.
8. High specific speed pumps can be used to advantage in
many cases since, for a given condition, their operating
speed is higher and the pump is therefore smaller and
less expensive. If NPSH is critical, the suction specific
speed may limit the speed at which the pump can be
Therefore, when selecting pumps for a given condition, it
is well to consider these relationships. A smaller, less
expensive pump can often be the result.


Technical Information Bulletin No. 14 Rev.01-23-06

Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street, P.O. Box 7026, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026, USA
Telephone: (317) 925-9661 Fax: (317) 924-738




Accurate field measurement of capacity can be exceedingly

difficult. Factory test labs are carefully designed by specialists
to insure high accuracy, but field installations are rarely if ever
designed around the requirements for running a field test. The
amazing fact is that there are not more complaints based on
field tests and one can only conclude that many tests shown
the pump to be better than the guarantee. Customer engineers
who run field tests often ignore even the most simple
considerations in capacity measurement. For example in one
job the penalty was $10,000.00 per point of efficiency and
capacity was measured volumetrically in a large concrete
reservoir where the dimensions of the reservoir were assumed
to be exactly equal to the dimensions on the construction
drawing. Nevertheless, there can be and are field tests run by
qualified people with proper instrumentation which yield
accurate results. For example P.G. & E. has run over 100,000
field tests on deep well pumps; their results for the most part
have performed a valuable service to both user and
manufacturer alike.
The pitot tube is perhaps the most versatile field test
instrument. We will discuss it first and then cover propeller
meters, venture meters, orifices and weirs.

Works Engineer
Peerless Pump Company

The experiments of Henry Pitot in 1732 contributed heavily
to the work done by Bernoulli, who published the famous
Bernoulli equation in 1738.
In these experiments, Pitot showed that when a small tube
was placed in a flow with the open end facing upstream, the
liquid in the tube rose above the free surface a distance of

Figure 1
Tube is easily transportable.
Tube is particularly useful in obtaining velocity profiles
which can be used as a graphical check on the
accuracy of the capacity measuring procedure. For
example Figure 1 shows three different velocity profiles
which illustrate that the profile for position three (which
most closely follows the theoretical profile for smooth
flow) produced the most accurate results. Position one,
which was the point of measurement adjacent to the
pump discharge, shows an unusual velocity profile due
to the elbow and produced the least accurate
measurement (5% high).

V 2 . This work represents the foundation on


which we have built a large variety of flow measuring devices.

Today the term pitot tube usually refers to a combination
device, that is, one which measures not only stagnation
pressure but also static pressure. In more accurate terms, the
device should be called a pitot-static tube.
The pitot tube in general has the following advantages as a
field instrument:

Usually easily installed.


Instrumentation is very simple and requires only the

tube itself plus a differential gage.


Many pitot tube designs are insensitive to the angle of

yaw so that even though the tube is not exactly facing
upstream, very little if any correction is needed.


Considerable research has been devoted to the design

of pitot tubes so that good designs are readily available.
Perhaps one of the best references along these lines is
the paper written by Professor Folsom entitled Review
of the Pitot Tube, read before the ASME Fluid Meters
Research Committee in 1955.

This article summarizes most of the available

technical literature and includes a valuable
bibliography which lists 126 appropriate articles, texts,

Cost of manufacturing a pitot tube is reasonable when

compared to other flow measuring devices.


The accuracy of a calibrated pitot tube in terms of a

field test instrument is probably as high, if not higher
than any form of field test instrument. When properly
applied, a calibrated pitot tube is probably within plus
or minus 2% accuracy.

There are some disadvantages to the use of the pitot

tube for field purposes:

Because of the relatively small holes used to measure

c pr
ubes can
tbe used wher
there is a great deal of suspended matter in the fluid.


Where multi-point readings are taken, heads and

therefore capacities can vary with time, thus

Figure 2


5 " O.D.
4.696" I.D.

5" STD.
5.047" I.D.


6" O.D.
5.672" I.D.


6" STD. 6.09"


7" O.D. 6.652"






7" STD.
7.023" I.D.







2.45 13.49
1.42 14.52












1.42 17.36
2.45 18.39







8" O.D.
7.628" I.D.

8" STD.
8.071" I.D.

9 " O.D.
8.608: I.D.

10" O.D.
9.582" I.D.

10" STD.
10.021" I.D.


3.48 11.46

3.68 10.95

3.93 10.32








3.04 11.21
1.76 12.50










1.76 16.01
3.04 17.29









3.93 18.18





12" O.D.
11.514" I.D.

12" STD.
12.09" I.D.

14" O.D.
13.25" I.D.

16" O.D.
15.25" I.D.
























2.35 14.29





4.05 15.99
5.23 17.17





6.19 18.13



* Number of readings required for traverse


Figure 3



rn = Distance in inches
between station
location and center
of pipe.
SC.RD. = Scale reading
in inches.

detracting from the accuracy of the readings. Some tubes

avoid this by using single readings which can be quickly
made along with other readings such as power and

finally, if there is air in the water, the meter will fail to see
the difference between water and air, and will thus give a
false reading.
A venturi meter is composed of a converging section, a
short constricted section and then a diverging section. The
object is to accelerate the fluid and temporarily lower its
static pressure. The general shape and equation are
shown in Figure 5. Since this measuring device is normally
made by a company specializing in this type of instrument,
the coefficient can be furnished by the manufacturer. Some
comments are in order about this coefficient as a guide to
field use of the venturi meter:
1)The coefficient drops rapidly at low velocities as that
care should be taken to avoid very low flows.
2)Pipe roughness in the approach pipe will tend to increase the coefficient, while roughness in the
converging cone decreases the coefficient.

Figure 4
head. However, single setting pitot tubes using a
series of impact hoses do not necessarily reflect an
average velocity and should be used with caution.
3)Calibration of a pitot tube when used near a free
surface of a liquid is not normally available, so that in
the case of pump testing, a full pipe of water is
required to obtain reliable results.
Peerless has found the pitot tube to be a most useful
field device. The tube used is shown in Figure 2. Figure 3
shows the location points of the nose of the pitot tube for a
multi-point traverse. Figure 4 shows the calibration curves
for various pipe sizes.
A velocity meter is one whose rotating element is kept in
motion by the direct movement of the fluid stream. One
type is the so-called propeller meter. It is not recommended
as a field test device, but is mentioned here because
propeller meters are in widespread use. These devices are
usually geared to some type of revolution counter to
indicate either rate of flow or total flow. Of all the
instruments available for field capacity measurement, this
is probably the least accurate. Most often these meters are
installed just beyond an elbow or other flow disturbing
fitting. It has been found that any spiraling of liquid as it
enters the meter would probably have an appreciable effect
on the accuracy of the meter. Also, a marked departure
from a uniform velocity distribution may affect accuracy.
The ASME Fluid Meters Report recommends the following
precautions, many of which are not found on most

3)For high precision, a meter should be calibrated from

time to time.
4)When installing a meter, it should be preceded by a
run of straight smooth pipe.
In addition to having an accuracy of plus or minus %,
it has the advantage of low head loss and is therefore
useful in both test labs as well as large field installations
where head loss represents a large power cost.
The ASME long radius flow nozzle is also described in
Figure 5. Nozzles are generally designed to be clamped
between the flanges of a pipe and are essentially the same
as a venturi tube, except the diffuser cone found in the
venturi is omitted. Therefore, a nozzle has greater losses
than a venturi meter, although it has a lower initial cost to
offset this.
Extensive research on various types of flow nozzles has
been sponsored by the ASME and I.S.A. and data on
coefficients with examples can be found in the ASME
Report on Fluid Meters. Although the coefficients are
constant over a wide range of flows, care should be taken
not to use the orifice at excessively low capacities because
the coefficient reduces at low Reynolds numbers. In
general, the same precautions about installation, change
in coefficient with pipe roughness,

1)Propeller meters should be preceded by a sufficient

length of straight pipe to yield uniform flow or use flow

In addition to the above, the meter should be

calibrated in the installation in which it will be used or
in a model of the installation.
Other precautions involve the problem of protecting the
meter against entrained materials as well as wear. And

Figure 5

and other field factors which apply to the venturi tube, also
apply to the flow nozzle.
The orifice is possibly one of the oldest devices used for
ng t
he f
ow off
dsand dat
o Caesar

time. A so-called sharp-edged orifice is sometimes used on
fluid tests by placing the orifice at the end of the pipe and
recording the pressure upstream from the orifice. There are
other types of orifices used and the description and
applications are amply covered in the ASME Fluid Meters
Report. This ASME report includes a great deal of valuable
data on the coefficient for various factors such as Reynolds
number and general con-figuration of the orifice.
Because the orifice meter dissipates head to a large
degree, it should never be installed as a permanent fixture
in the discharge line. For example an orifice with a throat to
main diameter ratio of 0.7 will dissipate as much as 51% of
the head available. For this reason, an orifice has limited
use in field testing.
For measuring flows in open conduits, weirs find wide
application in both the lab and the field. They are relatively
simple to make, but along with their physical simplicity
goes an exceedingly complex flow problem which does not
lend itself to rigorous theoretical solution.
For best accuracy, a weir should be calibrated in place,
since poor velocity distribution can have an appreciable

TIB #9 Revised 1-23-06

effect. Effort should be made to provide a good length of

approach channel with stilling devices such as racks or
screens to prevent abnormal velocity distribution and
turbulence. The weir must be normal to the flow, the crest
level and the face vertical.
Perhaps the most commonly used weir, is the
rectangular contracted weir also shown in Figure 5. The
coefficient of a weir and thus its accuracy is subject to
variations due to the following factors:
1)Relative sharpness of the upstream edge of the weir.
2)Roughness and velocity in the upstream channel.
3)Length of approach channel
configuration of the weir itself.




Once a proper weir is constructed, the critical item is the

proper measurement of the head. A hook gage is
commonly used although other methods can be used.
Regardless of the method used, the measurement should
be made at a distance upstream at least four times the
head reading. This will insure that the surface is
undisturbed by the reading.
In general, there is no substitute for the accuracy
obtainable in a test lab. Where it becomes necessary to run
field tests, great care must be taken in the selection of the
measuring device, the location of the device, the technique
in using the device, and finally the analysis of the results.

Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026



Copyright 2002 Sterling Fluid Systems (USA) Inc.

Page 1


Page 2


Page 3

TIB#17 Revised 10-8-02

Page 4

Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026



Horizontal vs. Vertical Pumps

An engineering analysis of a controversial issue, considering these key points:
-space requirements
-NPSH, priming, flexibility
-Corrosion, maintenance
Melvin S. Mann, Peerless Pump Company
IN MANY PUMP applications the requires less headroom. Perhaps the best
question "should a horizontal or vertical way to indicate space requirements is by
pump be used" deserves careful study. typical example. It should be kept in mind
Frequently the type of pump is dictated that area and height requirements will differ
by the installation and there simply is somewhat between various manufacturers
and with the type of configuration of the
no choice between the two.
Perhaps the most frequent example of this unit specified. Figures 1. 2 and 3, and
is the deep well vertical turbine type of Table 1 compare actual dimensions of
pump used extensively for pumping horizontal with vertical pumps.
water from deep wells with pump The comparison of both designs of
settings as much as 1000 feet below the horizontal pumps with the vertical,
expressed as ratios
surface. However, there are
many marginal cases where either a
horizontal or vertical pump could be used. A1/A3, H3/H1 etc. ,
In such cases it is necessary to appreciate clearly demonstrates the general order of
and consider some of the inherent magnitude of the area and height
advantages of one type over the other so differences of the three types of pumps.
It should be noted that the vertical
that a proper choice can
be made. It is the purpose of this turbine occupies even less floor area
paper to point out some of the fac- than the close coupled unit shown in
tors which should be considered if Figure 1. In general then, consider the
there is an opportunity to choose between vertical where available area is critical
using a horizontal or vertical type of pump. and the horizontal where available
Because of the widespread use of the headroom is critical.
vertical turbine unit, this specific type of
vertical pump will be used as a basis of Priming-Where the level of the liquid
comparison with horizontal centrifugal to be pumped is below the floor level,
no special priming equipment is required
for the vertical turbine pump since the
Space Requirements--If available floor impellers
area is limited, a vertical unit generally However, where a horizontal pump is
requires less area. However, if available used, some method must be used to raise
headroom is limited the horizontal unit the water to the impeller before the pump
is started.
almost invariably

Copyright 2002 Sterling Fluid Systems (USA) inc.

Page 1

This can be accomplished by using

auxiliary vacuum pumps, air aspirators,
or self priming pumps. Foot valves
can also be used so that once filled,
the suction pipe is kept full of liquid at all
times. However, the point to keep in
mind is that the vertical turbine pump
is always primed or submerged and thus
requires no special priming equipment
or special starting procedures.
Net Positive. Suction Head-In order
to avoid cavitation, the net positive suction
head (NPSH) available must be greater
than the NPSH required by the pump.
For a given set of conditions the NPSH
available increases as the submergence
over the pump increases or if there is
a suction hit, the NPSH available
increases as the lift is decreased. On
vertical pumps, as noted in the
discussion above on priming, the suction
lift is eliminated and, furthermore, it
usually is a comparatively simple matter
to provide enough submergence by properly selecting the length of vertical
column and thus provide enough
NPSH available to simplify the pump
selection "cavitation-wise." In contrast to
this, a given horizontal pump has no
flexibility since the amount of suction
Continued on page 2

Figure 1. HORIZONTAL close

coupled end suction.

Figure 3.VERTICAL turbine pump

Figure 2.HORIZONTAL double suction split case.

H e a d , M o to r M o to r
F t.
S p eed

Fig . 1 . H O R IZ O N T A L



Fig . 2 . H O R IZ O N T A L

Fig . 3 .V E R T IC A L T U R B IN E A rea R atio H eig h t R atio





A / A3A 2 / A3 H 3/H

H 3/H 2




2 5 .5 0

1 1 .0 0


8 .7 5

4 1 .5 0

1 6 .5 0


1 7 .8 8

1 2 .5

1 2 .5

1 5 6 2 7 .3 8

1 .8

4 .4

3 .1

1 .5





3 1 .3 8

1 5 .8 8


8 .6 9

4 6 .1 2

2 0 .0 0


1 9 .0 0

1 9 .0

1 9 .0

3 6 1 3 6 .1 9

1 .4

2 .6

4 .2

1 .9





3 5 .5 0

1 5 .8 8


1 2 .8 8

5 1 .4 4

2 1 .0 0


2 1 .0 0

1 9 .0

1 9 .0


4 2 .4 4

1 .6

3 .0

3 .3

2 .0





3 6 .7 5

1 6 .5 0


1 3 .8 8

5 1 .4 4

2 1 .0 0


2 1 .0 0

2 1 .0

2 1 .0


4 2 .4 4

1 .4

2 .5

3 .1

2 .0





6 7 .1 2

2 9 .0 0


2 8 .5 0


2 1 .0

4 4 1 5 0 .6 2

4 .4

1 .8





6 7 .1 2



3 1 .0 0

2 3 .0

2 3 .0


5 7 .7 5

3 .7

1 .9





8 1 .2 5

3 5 .2 5


3 3 .3 3

3 1 .0

3 1 .0


6 5 .7 5

3 .0

2 .0





8 1 .2 5

3 5 .2 5


3 4 .8 8

3 1 .0

3 1 .0

9 6 1 7 2 .5 0

3 .0

2 .1





9 8 .5 0

4 3 .5 0

4 2 8 0 3 8 .6 2

3 1 .0

3 1 .0


7 2 .5 0

4 .5

1 .9





9 7 .0 0

4 4 .0 0


3 8 .0

3 8 .0

1 4 4 4 7 7 .2 5

3 .0

1 .8

N O T E : L , W , & H a re e x p re s s e d in in c h e s .

H = O v e r-a ll H e ig h t.

4 3 .0 0

A = T o ta l F lo o r A re a o f B a se E x p re sse d in sq u a re in ch e s.

H orizontalvs.VerticalPum ps

lift or submergence is fixed by the plant layout.

Consequently where extremely low NPSH is available
the vertical pump is usually far easier to adapt than a
A good example of this occurs frequently in the
application of condensate pumps. Hot wells are
often located close to the floor in order to reduce
the over-all height and thus the cost of the building.
However, by so doing, the NPSH available
with respect to the floor is minimized. Thus it is not
uncommon on condensate pump applications to
have only 2 or 3 feet NPSH available with
respect to the floor. It can be seen from Figure 4
that by using a vertical pump enough submergence can be
added to the 2 or 3 feet to insure cavitation-free operation.


Figure 4. Application of vertical pump in condensate hot well

TIB# 2

Page 2

Figure 6. Typical horizontal process pump.

Figure 5. Vertical
for use
flushing fluid.

Pump bowl

Thus,both initialand operating costs are

increased in som e cases, in order to
have a unit which is ca pable of an
increase in head by substituting a full
or larger diameter impeller, if and when
the need arises. Vertical turbine pumps,
however, can be staged and de-staged
relatively eas ily. Where increased heads
are anticipated, the vertical turbine can be
built so that additional stages can be
added in the future, often with little
expense compared with the initial cost of
the unit. This usually means furnishing the pump initially with sufficiently large shafting and motor base to
accommodate the increased future
horsepower. Where the head is decreased, it is a simple matter to de-stage the bowl unit.

In addition to the example just discussed, other common applications

occur where NPSH is critical such as
pumping highly volatile fluids (pro pane,
ammonia, etc..). Also, there are
installations where hydraulic losses in the
suction pipe leading to the pump are
sufficiently high to reduce the ab solute
pressure of the fluid to a point where it is
one or two pounds over the vapor pressure,
C orrosion and A brasion - T h e
thus normally requiring a vertical to
increase the submergence or NPSH high cost of repair and down time on many
pumps which are applied on corrosive
and/or abrasive applications is well
in known to operating personnel. On
pumping heads are anticipated because vertical turbine pumps the bearings are
of plant expansion, changes in a lubricated by the fluid being pumped.
process, or transfer of the pump to a This is a distinct disadvantage when
different service, it is relatively easy and compared with horizontal centrifugal units
inexpensive to add or remove stages where the pump bearings are usually if
from a vertical turbine type pump in not always oil or grease lubricated and
order to meet the new conditions. Many are completely isolated from the fluid
users recognize the limitation of the being pumped.
horizontal type of pump in this respect and It is true that vertical turbine process
partially compensate for this shortcoming pumps have been successfully applied for
by specifying on new equipment that full corrosive fluids by using special bearing
diameter and minimum diameter impellers materials such as TFE, graphitar, boron
are not acceptable. It should be recognized carbide, babbitt and meehanite. It is also
that this practice can sometimes mean that true that in severe abrasive service the
the manufacturer, to avoid
bearings can be flushed by a clean nonusing a full diam eter im peller, is corrosive fluid provided the process fluid
forced to select a pum p larger than will not be contaminated by the
necessary to m eet the initial conditions flushing fluid. Such a design is shown
and in som e casesa lessefficientpum p. in Figure 5. However, use of special
bearing lubrication

Page 3

or materials means special nonstandard

equipment with relatively high initial
costs and longer delivery. Therefore,
where other considerations are equal, the
horizontal pump "bearing-wise" has a
distinct advantage over the vertical turbine
corrosion is to be expected.
Figure 6 pictures a horizontal-type
process pump. Note the entire bearing
bracket is isolated from the fluid being
pumped by means of the backplate.
This type of design means that only
the shaft, volute, impeller and
backplate need be made of corrosion
resistant material, with the bearing
bracket usually made of inexpensive
material such as cast iron. In contrast
to this, all parts of the vertical turbine
are exposed to the fluid and consequently must be made of suitable material
throughout in order to resist corrosive
attack. Thus, in addition to the bearing
problem, a vertical turbine process
pump made out of high alloy materials is
considerably more expensive than a
horizontal process pump made with
the same high alloy and designed for
the same service.
Inspection and R epair-I n general,
the horizontal pump is far more
accessible for inspection, maintenance
and repair than the vertical turbine
pump. There are undoubtedly excep tions
to this, plus the fact that ease of
maintenance of various types o f
horizontals will vary considerably.
However, to inspect a turbine pump bowl
the motor, motor base, and column all must
be removed before the bowl can be
disconnected from the
(continued on page4)

H orizontalvs.VerticalPum ps
column to which it is attached. In contrast to this, for example, is the double
suction, horizontally split, horizontal
pump. Figure 7 pictures such a pump.
with the upper half of the case
removed thus allowing the complete
rotating unit to be visually inspected
and removed if necessary. Neither the
piping nor the motor need be
disturbed to remove the rotating
element There are also vertically
split horizontal pumps designed so
that it is unnecessary to disturb the
motor or piping in order to remove the
rotating assembly.

Conclusions-Besides the characteristics of the pump itself, there are

certainly other factors which influence
the choice of pumping equipment, not
the least of which is the design
equipment and layout, with which the
pump must be coordinated. Other
factors such as safety regulations will
affect the choice of pumping
equipment. For example, in order to
avoid side outlets in the storage
tank it is normally good safety practice
on above ground tanks to use vertical
wet pit pumps when pumping oleum.

But even where well defined factors

such as these do not pre-determine the
choice of pump types, it is a mistake to
make any hard and fast rules about the
selection of a horizontal over a vertical
or vice versa. Often in marginal cases,
where new equipment is being
considered, it would be expedient to
obtain quotations on both horizontal
and vertical types. Each application
must be judged on its own merits,
keeping in mind the basic advantages
and disadvantages of each type, as
outlined above.

V iew ofdouble-suction,horizontallysplit,horizontalpump

View showing com plete rotating elem ent

TIB#2 Revised 10-7-02

Page 4

Pumping System
A Sourcebook for Industry
Second Edition

This second edition of Improving Pumping System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry was developed
by the U.S. Department of Energys Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) and the Hydraulic Institute (HI).
ITP undertook this project as part of a series of sourcebook publications on industrial equipment. Other topics
in this series include compressed air systems, fan and blower systems, motors and drives, steam systems, and
process heating systems. For more information about ITP and HI, see Section 4, Where to Find Help.
The Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Alliance to Save Energy, and Resource
Dynamics Corporation wish to thank staff at the many organizations that so generously assisted in the collection
of data for this sourcebook. In addition, we would like to particularly recognize the following for their input and
reviews of the first and second editions of this sourcebook:
Stefan M. Abelin, ITT Flygt Corporation

Al Iseppon, Pentair Water

Robert Asdal, Hydraulic Institute

Steve Kratzke

William Beekman, Floway Pumps

Ross C. Mackay, Ross Mackay Associates Ltd.

Heinz Block, P.E., Process Machinery Consulting

William Marscher, Mechanical Solutions, Inc.

Steve Bolles, Process Energy Services

J. P. Messina, P.E.

Karl Buscher, ITT Fluid Handling Bell & Gossett

Michael Pemberton, ITT IPG PumpSmart Control Solutions

Don Casada, Diagnostic Solutions, LLC

Gregg Romanyshyn, Hydraulic Institute

Mick Cropper, Sulzer Pumps U.S. Inc.

Arnold Sdano, Fairbanks Morse Pump Company

Barry Erickson, Flowserve Corp.

Michael W. Volk, Volk Associates, Inc.

Gunnar Hovstadius, Gunnar Hovstadius

Consulting, LLC

Trey Walters, Applied Flow Technology

Second Edition, May 2006

Prepared for the United States Department of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Industrial Technologies Program
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Berkeley, California
Resource Dynamics Corporation
Vienna, Virginia
Alliance to Save Energy
Washington, D.C.
In cooperation with the Hydraulic Institute
Parsippany, New Jersey
Produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Golden, Colorado
Cover photo credit: Diagnostic Solutions, LLC, and Blacksburg, Christiansburg, VPI Water Authority, NREL/PIX13296

Improving Pumping System Performance

Table of Contents
List of Figures

inside cover

Quick Start Guide

Section 1: Pumping System Basics


Pumping System Components
Pumping System Principles

Section 2: Performance Improvement Opportunity Roadmap



The Fact Sheets
Assessing Pumping System Needs


Common Pumping System Problems


Indications of Oversized Pumps


Piping Configurations to Improve Pumping System Efficiency 29

Basic Pump Maintenance


Centrifugal Pumps


Positive Displacement Pump Applications


Multiple Pump Arrangements


Pony Pumps


Impeller Trimming


Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives


Section 3: The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems



Conduct a Systems Assessment
Analyze Life-Cycle Costs Before Making a Decision
Sell Your Projects to Management

Section 4: Where to Find Help



DOE Industrial Technologies Program and BestPractices
Hydraulic Institute
Directory of Contacts
Resources and Tools


Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping System Terms

Appendix B: Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)
Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheets
Appendix D: Guidelines for Comments

A Sourcebook for Industry


List of Figures

Figure 1. Typical Pumping System Components

Figure 2. Key to the Fact Sheets


Figure 3. Illustration of the Sensitivity of Flow to

Changes in Backpressure


Figure 4. Drooping Performance Curve


Figure 5. Cavitation in a Centrifugal Pump


Figure 6. Two Types of Sealing Methods:

Packing and Mechanical Seals


Figure 7. Common Pipe Configuration Problems

and How To Correct Them


Figure 8. Flow Straighteners


Figure 9.


Figure 10. Centrifugal Pump Performance Curves


Figure 11. Family of Pump Performance Curves


Figure 12. Performance Curves for Different Impeller Sizes


Proper Support of Suction and Discharge Piping

Figure 13. Performance Curves for a 4x1.5-6 Pump

Used for Water Service


Figure 14. Multiple Pump Operation


Figure 15. Multiple-Speed Pump Performance Curves


Figure 16. Typical Tank Level Control


Figure 17. Effect of Impeller Trimming on Pump Performance


Figure 18. Effects of Reducing Speed on a Pumps

Operating Characteristics


Figure 19. Power Lost through a Bypass Line


Figure 20. Fluid Power Lost across a Throttle Valve


Figure 21. Using a Pump Performance Curve

To Determine Power Draw




Improving Pumping System Performance

Quick Start Guide

Quick Start Guide

This sourcebook is designed to provide pumping
system users with a reference that outlines opportunities for improving system performance. It is
not meant to be a comprehensive technical text
on pumping systems; rather, it provides practical
guidelines and information to make users aware
of potential performance improvements. Guidance
on how to find more information and assistance is
also included.

Throughout this sourcebook, performance and

efficiency improvements are described in terms
of a systems approach. For cost-effective
operation and maintenance of pumping systems,
attention must be paid not just to individual pieces
of equipment but to the system as a whole. A
systems approach to optimizing a pumping system
analyzes both the supply and demand sides of the
system and how they interact, shifting the focus
from individual components to total system
Often, operators are so focused on the immediate
demands of equipment that they overlook the
broader question: How do the systems parameters affect this equipment? For example,
frequently replacing pump seals and bearings
can keep a maintenance crew so busy that they
overlook the system operating conditions that are
causing most (or all) of the problems.

A systems approach involves the following types

of interrelated actions:

Establish current conditions and operating

Determine present and estimate future process
production needs
Gather and analyze operating data and develop
load duty cycles
Assess alternative system designs and
A Sourcebook for Industry

Determine the most technically and

economically sound options, taking into
consideration all of the subsystems
Implement the best option
Assess energy consumption with respect
to performance
Continue to monitor and optimize the system
Continue to operate and maintain the system
for peak performance.

To use a systems approach effectively, a pumping

system designer needs to understand system
fundamentals, know where opportunities for
improvements are commonly found, and have a
list of key resources that can help to identify and
implement successful projects. Therefore, this
sourcebook is divided into four main sections,
as outlined below.

Section 1. Pumping System Basics

If you are not familiar with the basics of pumping
systems, the first section provides a brief
discussion of terms, relationships, and important
system design considerations. It describes key
factors involved in pump selection and system
design; it also provides an overview of different
types of pumps and their general applications.
Key terms and parameters used in selecting
pumps, designing systems, and controlling fluid
flow are discussed. If you are already familiar
with pumping systems, you might want to skip
this section and go straight to the next one.
Section 2. Performance Improvement
Opportunity Roadmap
This section describes the key components of a
pumping system and opportunities to improve
the systems performance. Also provided is a
figurative system diagram identifying pumping
system components and performance improvement opportunities. A set of fact sheets describing

Quick Start Guide

these opportunities in greater detail follows the

diagram; they discuss the following:
1. Assessing Pumping System Needs
2. Common Pumping System Problems
3. Indications of Oversized Pumps
4. Piping Configurations to Improve Pumping
System Efficiency
5. Basic Pump Maintenance
6. Centrifugal Pumps
7. Positive Displacement Pump Applications
8. Multiple Pump Arrangements
9. Pony Pumps

This sourcebook on improving pumping systems
includes four appendices. Appendix A is a
glossary of terms used throughout the pumping
system industry (and printed in bold type in parts
of this sourcebook). Appendix B describes the
Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT),
which can help you identify and prioritize energy
improvement projects for pumping systems.
Appendix C contains a series of pumping system
tip sheets. Developed by DOE, these tip sheets
are brief summaries of opportunities for improving the efficiency and performance of pumping
systems. Appendix D includes a form for
submitting suggested improvements to this

10. Impeller Trimming

11. Controlling Pumps with Adjustable
Speed Drives

Section 3. The Economics of Improving

Pumping Systems
Section 3 describes key considerations in
determining the life-cycle costs of pumping
systems. Understanding life-cycle costs is
essential to identifying and prioritizing improvement projects and presenting these projects
in terms that will gain management support.
Therefore, this section discusses life-cycle cost
components, ways to measure these costs, and
key success factors in prioritizing and proposing
improvement projects.
Section 4. Where To Find Help
Section 4 describes useful sources of assistance
that can help you learn more about pumping
systems and ways to improve their performance
and efficiency. Included in this section are
descriptions of resources within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Industrial Technologies
Program (ITP) and the Hydraulic Institute and a
directory of associations and other organizations
involved in the pump marketplace. This section
also provides lists of helpful resources, such as
tools, software, videos, and workshops.

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

Pumps are used widely in industry to provide
cooling and lubrication services, to transfer fluids
for processing, and to provide the motive force in
hydraulic systems. In fact, most manufacturing
plants, commercial buildings, and municipalities
rely on pumping systems for their daily operation.
In the manufacturing sector, pumps represent 27%
of the electricity used by industrial systems. In the
commercial sector, pumps are used primarily in
heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC)
systems to provide water for heat transfer. Municipalities use pumps for water and wastewater
transfer and treatment and for land drainage. Since
they serve such diverse needs, pumps range in size
from fractions of a horsepower to several thousand
In addition to an extensive range of sizes, pumps
also come in several different types. They are
classified by the way they add energy to a fluid:
positive displacement pumps1 squeeze the fluid
directly; centrifugal pumps (also called rotodynamic pumps) speed up the fluid and convert
this kinetic energy to pressure. Within these
classifications are many different subcategories.
Positive displacement pumps include piston, screw,
sliding vane, and rotary lobe types; centrifugal
pumps include axial (propeller), mixed-flow, and
radial types. Many factors go into determining
which type of pump is suitable for an application.
Often, several different types meet the same
service requirements.
Pump reliability is importantoften critically so.
In cooling systems, pump failure can result in
equipment overheating and catastrophic damage.
In lubrication systems, inadequate pump
performance can destroy equipment. In many
petrochemical and power plants, pump downtime
can cause a substantial loss in productivity.
1 Terms

Pumps are essential to the daily operation of many

facilities. This tends to promote the practice of
sizing pumps conservatively to ensure that the
needs of the system will be met under all
conditions. Intent on ensuring that the pumps are
large enough to meet system needs, engineers
often overlook the cost of oversizing pumps and
err on the side of safety by adding more pump
capacity. Unfortunately, this practice results in
higher-than-necessary system operating and
maintenance costs. In addition, oversized pumps
typically require more frequent maintenance
than properly sized pumps. Excess flow energy
increases the wear and tear on system components,
resulting in valve damage, piping stress, and
excess system operation noise.

Pumping System Components

Typical pumping systems contain five basic
components: pumps, prime movers, piping, valves,
and end-use equipment (e.g., heat exchangers,
tanks, and hydraulic equipment). A typical
pumping system and its components are illustrated
in Figure 1 on page 4.

Although pumps are available in a wide range of
types, sizes, and materials, they can be broadly
classified into the two categories described
earlierpositive displacement and centrifugal.
These categories relate to the manner in which the
pumps add energy to the working fluid. Positive
displacement pumps pressurize fluid with a
collapsing volume action, essentially squeezing an
amount of fluid equal to the displacement volume
of the system with each piston stroke or shaft
rotation. Centrifugal pumps work by adding
kinetic energy to a fluid using a spinning impeller.
As the fluid slows in the diffuser section of the
pump, the kinetic energy of the fluid is converted
into pressure.

in bold type are defined in the glossary in Appendix A.

A Sourcebook for Industry

Section 1: Pumping System Basics






Level Indicators
Tank, Liquid Supply
Pump Motor
Motor Controller
Throttle Valve
Bypass Valve
Heat Exchangers
(End-Use Equipment)
I Instrumentation Line
J Pump Discharge Piping
K Pump Suction Piping

Figure 1. Typical Pumping System Components

Although many applications can be served by

both positive displacement and centrifugal pumps,
centrifugal pumps are more common because they
are simple and safe to operate, require minimal
maintenance, and have characteristically long
operating lives. Centrifugal pumps typically suffer
less wear and require fewer part replacements
than positive displacement pumps. Although the
packing or mechanical seals must be replaced
periodically, these tasks usually require only a
minor amount of downtime. Centrifugal pumps
can also operate under a broad range of conditions.
The risk of catastrophic damage due to improper
valve positioning is low, if precautions are taken.
Centrifugal pumps have a variable flow/pressure
relationship. A centrifugal pump acting against a
high system pressure generates less flow than it
does when acting against a low system pressure.

A centrifugal pumps flow/pressure relationship

is described by a performance curve that plots
the flow rate as a function of head (pressure).
Understanding this relationship is essential to
properly sizing a pump and designing a system
that performs efficiently. For more information,
see the fact sheet in Section 2 titled Centrifugal
In contrast, positive displacement pumps have a
fixed displacement volume. Consequently, the
flow rates they generate are directly proportional
to their speed. The pressures they generate are
determined by the systems resistance to this
flow. Positive displacement pumps have operating
advantages that make them more practical for
certain applications. These pumps are typically
more appropriate for situations in which the
following apply:
Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

The working fluid is highly viscous

The system requires high-pressure,
low-flow pump performance
The pump must be self-priming
The working fluid must not experience
high shear forces
The flow must be metered or precisely
Pump efficiency is highly valued.

A disadvantage is that positive displacement

pumps typically require more system safeguards,
such as relief valves. A positive displacement
pump can potentially overpressurize system piping
and components. For example, if all the valves
downstream of a pump are closeda condition
known as deadheadingsystem pressure will
build until a relief valve lifts, a pipe or fitting
ruptures, or the pump motor stalls. Although
relief valves are installed to protect against such
damage, relying on these devices adds an element
of risk. In addition, relief valves often relieve
pressure by venting system fluid, which may be
a problem for systems with harmful or dangerous
system fluids. For more information on this type
of pump, see the fact sheet in Section 2 titled
Positive Displacement Pump Applications.

Prime Movers
Most pumps are driven by electric motors.
Although some pumps are driven by direct current
(dc) motors, the low cost and high reliability of
alternating current (ac) motors make them the
most common type of pump prime mover. In
recent years, partly as a result of DOEs efforts,
the efficiencies of many types of ac motors have
improved. A section of the Energy Policy Act
(EPAct) of 1992 that set minimum efficiency
standards for most common types of industrial
motors went into effect in October 1997. EPAct has
provided industrial end users with greater selection
and availability of energy-efficient motors.
In addition, the National Electrical Manufacturers
Association (NEMA) has established the NEMA
PremiumTM energy efficiency motors program,
A Sourcebook for Industry

which is endorsed by the Hydraulic Institute; the

program defines premium efficiency motors with
higher efficiency levels than those established by
EPAct. In high-run-time applications, improved
motor efficiencies can significantly reduce
operating costs. However, it is often more
effective to take a systems approach that uses
proper component sizing and effective maintenance practices to avoid unnecessary energy
A subcomponent of a pump motor is the motor
controller. The motor controller is the switchgear
that receives signals from low-power circuits,
such as an on-off switch, and connects or disconnects the high-power circuits to the primary
power supply from the motor. In dc motors, the
motor controller also contains a sequence of
switches that gradually builds up the motor
current during start-ups.
In special applications, such as emergency
lubricating oil pumps for large machinery, some
pumps are driven by an air system or directly
from the shaft of the machine. In the event of a
power failure, these pumps can still supply oil
to the bearings long enough for the machine to
coast to a stop. For this same reason, many fire
service pumps are driven by diesel engines to
allow them to operate during a power outage.

Piping is used to contain the fluid and carry it
from the pump to the point of use. The critical
aspects of piping are its dimensions, material type,
and cost. Since all three aspects are interrelated,
pipe sizing is an iterative process. The flow resistance at a specified flow rate of a pipe decreases
as the pipe diameter gets larger; however, larger
pipes are heavier, take up more floor space, and
cost more than smaller pipe. Similarly, in systems
that operate at high pressures (for example,
hydraulic systems), small-diameter pipes can have
thinner walls than large-diameter pipes and are
easier to route and install.
Small-diameter pipes restrict flow, however, and
this can be especially problematic in systems with

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

surging flow characteristics. Smaller pipes also

operate at higher liquid velocity, increasing
erosion effects, wear, and friction head. Increased
friction head affects the energy required for

The flow in a pumping system may be controlled
by valves. Some valves have distinct positions,
either shut or open, while others can be used to
throttle flow. There are many different types of
valves; selecting the correct valve for an application depends on a number of factors, such as
ease of maintenance, reliability, leakage tendencies, cost, and the frequency with which the
valve will be open and shut.
Valves can be used to isolate equipment or regulate flow. Isolation valves are designed to seal off
a part of a system for operating purposes or maintenance. Flow-regulating valves either restrict flow
through a system branch (throttle valve) or allow
flow around it (bypass valve). A throttle valve
controls flow by increasing or decreasing the flow
resistance across it. In contrast, a bypass valve
allows flow to go around a system component by
increasing or decreasing the flow resistance in a
bypass line. A check valve allows fluid to move
in only one direction, thus protecting equipment
from being pressurized from the wrong direction
and helping to keep fluids flowing in the right
direction. Check valves are used at the discharge
of many pumps to prevent flow reversal when the
pump is stopped.

End-Use Equipment (Heat Exchangers,

Tanks, and Hydraulic Equipment)
The essential purpose of a pumping system may
be to provide cooling, to supply or drain a tank
or reservoir, or to provide hydraulic power to
a machine. Therefore, the nature of the enduse equipment is a key design consideration in
determining how the piping and valves should
be configured. There are many different types
of end-use equipment; the fluid pressurization
needs and pressure drops across this equipment
vary widely. For heat exchangers, flow is the
critical performance characteristic; for hydraulic

machinery, pressure is the key system need.

Pumps and pumping system components must
be sized and configured according to the needs
of the end-use processes.

Pumping System Principles

Design Practices
Fluid system designs are usually developed to
support the needs of other systems. For example,
in cooling system applications, the heat transfer
requirements determine how many heat exchangers are needed, how large each heat exchanger
should be, and how much flow is required. Pump
capabilities are then calculated based on the
system layout and equipment characteristics. In
other applications, such as municipal wastewater
removal, pump capabilities are determined by the
amount of water that must be moved and the
height and pressure to which it must be pumped.
The pumps are sized and configured according to
the flow rate and pressure requirements of the
system or service.
After the service needs of a pumping system are
identified, the pump/motor combination, layout,
and valve requirements must be engineered.
Selecting the appropriate type of pump and its
speed and power characteristics requires an
understanding of its operating principles.
The most challenging aspect of the design process
is cost-effectively matching the pump and motor
characteristics to the needs of the system. This
process is often complicated by wide variations
in flow and pressure requirements. Ensuring that
system needs are met during worst-case conditions can cause designers to specify equipment
that is oversized for normal operation. In addition,
specifying larger than necessary pumps increases
material, installation, and operating costs. Designing a system with larger piping diameters might
reduce pumping energy costs, however. See the
fact sheet titled Piping Configurations To Improve
Pumping System Efficiency in Section 2 and the tip
sheet in Appendix C titled Reduce Pumping Costs
Through Optimum Pipe Sizing.

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

Fluid Energy
For practical pump applications, the energy of a
fluid is commonly measured in terms of head.
Head is usually expressed in feet or meters,
which refers to the height of a column of system
fluid that has an equivalent amount of potential
energy. This term is convenient because it
incorporates density and pressure, which allows
centrifugal pumps to be evaluated over a range
of system fluids. For example, at a given flow
rate, a centrifugal pump will generate two
different discharge pressures for two differentdensity fluids, but the corresponding head for
these two conditions is the same.
The total head of a fluid system consists of
three terms or measurements: static pressure
(gauge pressure), height (or potential energy),
and velocity head (or kinetic energy).
Static pressure, as the name indicates, is the
pressure of the fluid in the system. It is the
quantity measured by conventional pressure
gauges. The height of the fluid level has a
substantial impact on the static pressure in a
system, but it is itself a distinct measurement of
fluid energy. For example, a pressure gauge on a
vented tank reads atmospheric pressure. If this
tank is located 50 feet (ft) above the pump,
however, the pump would have to generate at
least 50 ft of static pressure (for tap water, the
gauge would have to read 21.7 pounds per
square inch [psi]) to push water into the tank.
Velocity head (also known as dynamic head)
is a measure of a fluids kinetic energy. In most
systems, the velocity head is small in comparison to the static head. For example, the flow
velocity in cooling systems does not typically
exceed 15 ft per second, which is roughly
equivalent to 3.5 ft of head (if the system fluid
is water, this velocity head translates to about
1.5 psi gauge [psig]). The velocity head of a
fluid must be considered when siting pressure
gauges, when designing a system, and when
evaluating a reading from a pressure gauge,
especially when the system has varying pipe
sizes. A pressure gauge downstream of a pipe
A Sourcebook for Industry

reduction will read lower than one upstream of the

reduction, although the distance may only be
a few inches.

Fluid Properties
In addition to being determined by the type of
system being serviced, pump requirements are
influenced greatly by fluid characteristics such as
viscosity, density, particulate content, and vapor
pressure. Viscosity is a property that measures the
shear resistance of a fluid. A highly viscous liquid
consumes more energy during flow because its
shear resistance creates heat. Some fluids, such
as cold lubricating oil (at less than 60F), are
sufficiently viscous that centrifugal pumps cannot
move them effectively. As a result, the range of
fluid viscosities over the operating temperatures of
a system is a key system design factor. A pump/
motor combination that is appropriately sized for
oil at a temperature of 80F may be undersized for
operation at 60F.
The quantities and properties of particulates in a
system fluid also affect pump design and selection.
Some pumps cannot tolerate much debris. And the
performance of some multistage centrifugal pumps
degrades significantly if seals between stages
become eroded. Other pumps are designed for use
with high-particulate-content fluids. Because of the
way they operate, centrifugal pumps are often used
to move fluids with high particulate content, such
as coal slurries.
The difference between the vapor pressure of a
fluid and the system pressure is another fundamental factor in pump design and selection.
Accelerating a fluid to high velocitiesa
characteristic of centrifugal pumpscreates a
drop in static pressure. This drop can lower the
fluid pressure to the fluids vapor pressure or
below. At this point, the fluid boils, changing
from a liquid to a vapor. Known as cavitation,
this effect can severely impact a pumps
performance. As the fluid changes phase during
cavitation, tiny bubbles form. Since vapor takes
up considerably more volume than fluid, these
bubbles decrease flow through the pump.

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

The damaging aspect of cavitation occurs when

these vapor bubbles return to liquid phase in a
violent collapse. During this collapse, highvelocity water jets impinge onto surrounding
surfaces. The force of this impingement often
exceeds the mechanical strength of the impacted
surface, which leads to material loss. Over time,
cavitation can create severe erosion problems in
pumps, valves, and pipes.

cooled and that tanks are drained or filled quickly.

Sufficient pressure and flow must be guaranteed
to satisfy system requirements; this creates a
tendency to oversize pumps and the motors that
run them. Because systems are designed with flow
control devices to regulate temperature and protect
equipment from overpressurization, oversizing
system pumps can burden these flow control
devices with high energy dissipation loads.

Other problems that cause similar damage are

suction and discharge recirculation. Suction
recirculation is the formation of damaging flow
patterns that result in cavitation-like damage in the
suction region of an impeller. Similarly, discharge
recirculation is the formation of damaging flow
patterns in the outer region of an impeller. These
recirculation effects usually result from operating
a pump at a flow rate that is too low. To avoid this
type of damage, many pumps are listed with a
minimum flow rating.

There are four primary methods for controlling

flow through a system or its branches: throttle
valves, bypass valves, pump speed control, and
multiple pump arrangements. The appropriate
flow control method depends on the system size
and layout, fluid properties, the shape of the pump
power curve, the system load, and the systems
sensitivity to flow rate changes.

System Types
Like pumps, pumping system characteristics and
needs range widely, but they can be classified in
general as either closed-loop or open-loop
systems. A closed-loop system recirculates fluid
around a path with common beginning and end
points. An open-loop system has an input and an
output, as fluid is transferred from one point to
another. Pumps that serve closed-loop systems,
such as a cooling water system, typically do not
have to contend with static head loads unless there
are vented tanks at different elevations. In closedloop systems, the frictional losses of system piping
and equipment are the predominant pump load.
In contrast, open-loop systems often require
pumps to overcome static head requirements as a
result of elevation and tank pressurization needs.
A mine dewatering system is one example; it uses
pumps to move water from the bottom of a mine
up to the surface. In this case, static head is often
the dominant pump load.

Principles of Flow Control

Flow control is essential to system performance.
Sufficient flow ensures that equipment is properly

A throttle valve chokes fluid flow so that less fluid

can move through the valve, creating a pressure
drop across it. Throttle valves are usually more
efficient than bypass valves, because as they are
shut, they maintain upstream pressure that can help
push fluid through parallel branches of the system.
Bypass lines allow fluid to flow around a system
component. A major drawback of bypass valves is
their detrimental impact on system efficiency. The
power used to pump the bypassed fluid is wasted.
In static-head-dominated systems, however, bypass
valves could be more efficient than throttle valves
or systems with adjustable speed drives (ASDs).
Pump speed control includes both mechanical and
electrical methods of matching the speed of the
pump to the flow/pressure demands of the system.
ASDs, multiple-speed pumps, and multiple pump
configurations are usually the most efficient flow
control options, especially in systems that are
dominated by friction head, because the amount
of fluid energy added by the pumps is determined
directly from the system demand. Pump speed
control is especially appropriate for systems in
which friction head predominates.
Both ASDs and multiple-speed motors provide
efficient system operation by driving pumps at

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

different speeds according to system needs. During

a period of low system demand, the pump is
operated at low speeds. The primary functional
difference between ASDs and multiple-speed
motors is the degree of speed control available.
ASDs typically modify the speed of a single-speed
motor through mechanical or electrical methods,
while multiple-speed motors contain a different set
of windings for each speed. ASDs are practical for
applications in which flow demands change
continuously. For more information, see the fact
sheet in Section 2 titled Controlling Pumps with
Adjustable Speed Drives.
Multiple-speed motors are practical for systems in
which the flow demands change between distinct,
discrete levels that feature lengthy periods of
operation. One of the drawbacks to multiple-speed
motors is the added cost of equipment. Since each
speed has its own set of motor windings, multiplespeed motors are more expensive than singlespeed motors. Also, multiple-speed motors are
slightly less efficient than single-speed ones.
Multiple pump arrangements typically consist
of pumps placed in parallel in one of two basic
configurations: a large pump/small pump configuration, or a series of identical pumps placed in
parallel. In the large pump/small pump case,
the small pump, often called the pony pump,
operates during normal conditions. The large
pump is used during periods of high demand.
Because the pony pump is sized for normal system
operation, this configuration operates more
efficiently than a system would that relies on the
large pump to handle loads far below its optimum
capacity. For more information on this type of
pump, see the Section 2 fact sheet titled Pony
With a series of identical pumps placed in parallel,
the number of operating pumps can be changed
according to system demands. Because the pumps
are the same size they can operate together,
serving the same discharge header. If the pumps
were different sizes, the larger pumps would tend
to dominate the smaller pumps and could cause
them to be inefficient. If the proper pumps are

A Sourcebook for Industry

selected, each pump can operate closer to its

highest efficiency point. An added flow control
benefit of parallel pumps is that a system curve
remains the same whether one or several pumps
are operating; what changes is the operating point
along this system curve.
Multiple pumps in parallel are well suited for
systems with high static head. Another advantage
is system redundancy; one pump can fail or be
taken off line for maintenance while the other
pumps support system operation. When identical
parallel pumps are used, the pump curves should
remain matched; therefore, operating hours should
be the same for each pump, and reconditioning
should be done at the same time for all of them.
For more information on this configuration, see
the fact sheet in Section 2 titled Multiple Pump

System Operating Costs

The amount of fluid power that a system consumes
is a product of head and flow, according to this
Fluid power = HQ (s.g.)
H = head (ft)
Q = flow rate (gallons per minute [gpm])
s.g. = specific gravity of the fluid
3,960 is a units conversion to state fluid
power in terms of horsepower.
The motor power required to generate these head
and flow conditions is somewhat higher, because
of motor and pump inefficiencies. The efficiency
of a pump is measured by dividing the fluid
power by the pump shaft power; for directly
coupled pump/motor combinations, this is the
brake horsepower (bhp) of the motor.
Pumps have varying efficiency levels. The
operating point of centrifugal pumps at which
their efficiency is highest is known as the best
efficiency point (BEP). Efficiencies range widely,
from 35% to more than 90%, and they are a
function of many design characteristics. Operating
a pump at or near its BEP not only minimizes

Section 1: Pumping System Basics

energy costs, it also decreases loads on the pump

and maintenance requirements.
Systems with significant annual operating hours
incur high operating and maintenance costs relative
to initial equipment purchase costs. Inefficiencies
in high-run-time, oversized systems can add
significantly to annual operating costs; however,
costly inefficiencies are often overlooked when
ensuring system reliability. For more information
on oversized pumps, see the fact sheet in Section 2
titled Indications of Oversized Pumps. The Pumping System Assessment Tool (see Appendix B)
provides assistance in identifying and prioritizing
projects to reduce the amount of energy used by
pumping systems.
The cost of oversizing pumps extends beyond
energy bills. Excess fluid power must be dissipated
by a valve, a pressure-regulating device, or the
system piping itself, which increases system wear
and maintenance costs. Valve seat wear, which
results from throttling excess flow and from
cavitation, creates a significant maintenance
problem and can shorten the interval between
valve overhauls. Similarly, the noise and vibration
caused by excessive flow creates stress on pipe
welds and piping supports; in severe cases, this
can erode pipe walls.
Note that, when designers try to improve a
pumping systems reliability by oversizing
equipment, usually the unanticipated result is
less system reliability. This is caused by both
the additional wear on the equipment and lowefficiency operation.


Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 2: Performance Improvement Opportunity Roadmap

Section 2: Performance Improvement Opportunity Roadmap


The Fact Sheets

Cost-effective operation and maintenance of a

pumping system require attention to the needs of
both individual equipment and the entire system.
Often, operators are so focused on the immediate
demands of the equipment that they forget to step
back and notice how certain system parameters are
affecting this equipment.

The rest of this section contains 11 fact sheets that

address both component and system issues. Each
fact sheet describes in detail a specific opportunity
to improve the performance of an industrial
pumping system. The fact sheets are as follows:

A systems approach analyzes both supply and

demand sides of the system and how they interact,
shifting the focus from individual components to
total system performance. This approach usually
involves the following types of interrelated

Establish current conditions and operating


1. Assessing Pumping System Needs

2. Common Pumping System Problems
3. Indications of Oversized Pumps
4. Piping Configurations to Improve Pumping
System Efficiency
5. Basic Pump Maintenance
6. Centrifugal Pumps

Determine present process production needs

and estimate future ones

7. Positive Displacement Pump Applications

Gather and analyze operating data and develop

load duty cycles

9. Pony Pumps

Assess alternative system designs and

Determine the most technically and
economically sound options, taking into
consideration all subsystems

8. Multiple Pump Arrangements

10. Impeller Trimming
11. Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed

Implement the best option

Assess energy consumption with respect to
Continue to monitor and optimize the system
Continue to operate and maintain the system
for peak performance.

A Sourcebook for Industry


Section 2: Performance Improvement Opportunity Roadmap

A, C,
D, E

Pony Pumps

Alternative Pump
Multiple Pump

A - Piping Configurations to Improve Pumping System Efficiency
B - Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives
C - Basic Pump Maintenance
D - Common Pumping System Problems
E - General Pump Fact Sheets: Assessing Pumping System Needs,
Indications of Oversized Pumps, Positive Displacement Pump
Applications, Centrifugal Pumps, Impeller Trimming

Figure 2. Key to the Fact Sheets


Improving Pumping System Performance

1. Assessing Pumping System Needs

Assessing Pumping System Needs

There are three principal points in the life cycle of
a system that present opportunities to improve
pumping system performance:

During initial system design and pump

During troubleshooting to solve a system
During a system capacity change.

Analyzing System Requirements

A key to improving system performance and
reliability is to fully understand system requirements (peak demand, average demand, and the
variability of demand) with respect to time of
day and time of year. It is much simpler to design
and operate systems with relatively consistent
requirements than to have to account for wide
variations in demand.
Problems with oversized pumps often develop
because the system is designed for peak loads,
while normal operating loads are much smaller.
Excess flow energy is then forced into the system.
In addition to increasing operating costs, this
excess flow energy creates unnecessary wear on
components such as valves, piping, and piping
Often, system operators do not realize the impact
of running a system at higher-than-necessary
levels of flow and pressure. Pumps and valve
lineups are set to meet the worst-case demand
for example, a cooling system might be aligned to
handle the largest heat load but is not readjusted
during periods of lower demand.
The operating cost and reliability of many systems
can be improved by recognizing the variability of
system demand and by matching flow and pressure
requirements more closely to system needs.
Appendix B describes the Pumping System
Assessment Tool (PSAT), a software tool that
helps determine how well an existing pump is

A Sourcebook for Industry

Related Tip Sheet

A summary of the key issues in this fact sheet
is available in an ITP BestPractices Tip Sheet
titled Conduct an In-Plant Pumping System
Survey. Tip sheets can be found in Appendix
C, accessed on the Web at
gov/industry/bestpractices, or obtained by
contacting the EERE Information Center at

matched to its system. This tool provides guidelines, a checklist, and data collection sheets to
assist system operators in identifying and prioritizing opportunities for reducing energy use in
pumping systems.

Initial Pump Selection

Pump selection starts with a basic knowledge of
system operating conditions: fluid properties,
pressures, temperatures, and system layout. These
conditions determine the type of pump that is
required to meet certain service needs. There are
two basic types of pumps: positive displacement
and centrifugal. Although axial-flow pumps are
frequently classified as a separate type, they have
essentially the same operating principles as
centrifugal pumps.
Positive displacement pumps pressurize a fluid by
squeezing it in a collapsing volume, such as by a
piston in a cylinder. Centrifugal and axial pumps
impart kinetic energy to a fluid and rely on the
conversion of this kinetic energy to potential
energy to increase fluid pressure. In general,
positive displacement and centrifugal pumps
serve different applications.
Positive displacement pumps are used in low-flow,
high-head applications and with high-viscosity
fluids. In contrast, centrifugal pumps are used
typically in high-flow, low-head applications in
which fluid viscosity is not prohibitively high.


1. Assessing Pumping System Needs

However, there are many exceptions to these

guidelines. For more information on the factors
that govern the use of positive displacement and
centrifugal pumps, see Section 1 and the fact
sheets in this section titled Centrifugal Pumps
and Positive Displacement Pump Applications.
Pumps are usually selected on a best fit basis
rather than designed specifically for a particular
application. A pump is chosen from a wide range
of types and models, based on its ability to meet
the anticipated demands of a system. Pumps have
two mutually dependent outputs: flow rate and
head. The variability of these outputs and other
factorssuch as efficiency, suction inlet
conditions, operating life, and maintenance
complicate the pump selection process.
Centrifugal pumps are by far the most popular
type of pump because they are typically low in
cost and have low maintenance requirements and
long operating lives. Despite their extensive use,
selecting a centrifugal pump is complex, and this
creates a tendency to oversize it. To try to
accommodate uncertainties in system design,
fouling effects, or future capacity increases,
designers often select larger-than-necessary
pump/motor assemblies. Designers also tend to
oversize a pump to prevent being responsible
for inadequate system performance.
Unfortunately, oversizing a pump increases the
cost of operating and maintaining a pumping
system and creates a different set of operating
problemsincluding excess flow noise, inefficient
pump operation, and pipe vibrations. The energy
cost alone of using an oversized pump is substantial. For more information on this problem, see
the fact sheet in this section titled Indications of
Oversized Pumps.

Troubleshooting a System Problem

Some pumping system problems are sufficiently
expensive to justify a system assessment.
Examples of these problems include inefficient
operation, cavitation, poor flow control, and
high maintenance.

Inefficient Operation. Inefficient system operation

can be caused by a number of problems, such as
improper pump selection, poor system design,
excessive wear-ring clearances, and wasteful flow
control practices. Indications of inefficient system
operation include high energy costs, excessive
noise in the pipes and across valves, and high
maintenance requirements.
Each centrifugal pump has a best efficiency point
(BEP) at which its operating efficiency is highest
and its radial bearing loads are lowest (except for
pumps with concentric case designs). At its BEP,
a pump operates most cost-effectively in terms of
both energy efficiency and maintenance. In reality,
continuously operating a pump at its BEP is
difficult because systems usually have changing
demands. However, selecting a pump with a BEP
that is close to the systems normal operating
range can result in significant operating cost

Cavitation. Centrifugal pumps are susceptible to

a damaging and performance-degrading effect
known as cavitation. Cavitation occurs when the
static pressure in the pump drops below the vapor
pressure of a fluid. The liquid vaporizes in the
form of tiny bubbles; then, when the surrounding
pressure increases, the fluid returns to liquid as
these tiny bubbles collapse violently. The
collapse of the bubbles sends high-velocity water
jets into surrounding surfaces, which can damage
the impeller and erode the pump casing and
piping surfaces. When a pump experiences
cavitation, the result is accelerated bearing and
seal wear and poor system performance.
Cavitation usually occurs at high flow rates, when
a pump is operating at the far right portion of its
performance curve. However, cavitation-like
damage can also occur at low flow rates, when
damaging vortices develop in the pump. Cavitation is indicated by crackling and popping noises,
similar to the sound of marbles flowing through
a pipe. If uncorrected, cavitation can lead to
expensive repairs. For more information on
cavitation, see the fact sheet in this section titled
Common Pumping System Problems.

Improving Pumping System Performance

1. Assessing Pumping System Needs

response to a small decrease in backpressure is a

large increase in flow. This sensitivity can lead to
system instability, especially in systems that have
substantial changes in throttle or bypass valve
positions. For example, in the pump curve of
Figure 3, at 160 feet (ft) of head and 250 gallons
per minute (gpm) flow, a 10-ft increase in system
backpressure results in a 100-gpm drop-off in
pump flow.

Head/Flow Curve







Flow (gpm)

Figure 3. Illustration of the Sensitivity of Flow to Changes

in Backpressure

Internal Recirculation. Internal recirculation is

another performance-degrading effect that
damages pumps in much the same way that
cavitation does. Internal recirculation tends to
occur at low flow rates when fluid leaving the
impeller forms damaging vortices. To avoid this
problem, manufacturers list the minimum flow
rates for their pumps. Operators should be aware
of this minimum flow requirement and avoid
overly restricting pump output.
Poor Flow Control. Poor flow control can result
from several conditions, including improper
pump selection and poor system design. The
performance curve characteristics of some pumps
indicate the need for careful consideration of
the variability in operating requirements. Performance curves that are relatively flat, or curves
that droop at low flow rates, mean that the
designer should be aware of all the operating
demands on the pump when selecting one.
Generally, head curves arc downward from the
zero-flow conditionthat is, as the backpressure
on the pump decreases, the flow increases. The
specific slope and shape of the curve depend
largely on the shape of the impeller vanes and the
pump speed.
The slope of the pump curve demonstrates the
response of the pumps output to changes in
backpressure. A flat pump curve shows that the
A Sourcebook for Industry

The performance curves of some pumps droop

at low flow rates. This characteristic applies
primarily to pumps with low specific speeds. As
shown in Figure 4 (which is illustrative and does
not represent an actual pump curve), the performance curves of these pumps point upward at
low flow rates. Since system curves also point
upward, the system curve and the pump curve
can intersect at more than one point, occasionally
leading to instability. In some cases, a pump
operating in this range will hunt, that is,
repeatedly adjust its output as it searches for a
stable operating point. Although most manufacturers publish a minimum flow requirement
to prevent a design engineer from specifying a
pump that operates in this region, pumps can
wear out, allowing their operating points to drift
into this region. Operators should be aware that
surging pump operation may be the combined
result of a deteriorating pump and a drooping
head curve. On the positive side, pumps with
drooping head curves tend to be more efficient.

Pump Curve


Region in which pump curve

and system curve point in the
same direction. Operation in
this region should be avoided.

Head 100

System Curve







Flow (gpm)

Figure 4. Drooping Performance Curve


1. Assessing Pumping System Needs

Excessive Maintenance. All pumping systems

require some maintenance; however, systems
with unusually high maintenance requirements
are often the result of improper design and
operation. Problems such as cavitation, frequent
energizing and de-energizing of a pump motor,
and valve seat leakage can decrease the length
of time between repairs.
A systems maintenance requirements can be
measured by the mean time between failure
(MTBF) for its components. Since systems
operate in a broad range of service environments,
it is difficult to characterize the MTBF for each
system component; however, seal and bearing
manufacturers often provide an estimated MTBF
for a particular product. If the actual time to
failure is much less than the manufacturers
recommended interval, the cause of the failure
should be assessed.

Bearing Replacement. There are two principal

types of bearings in centrifugal pumps: thrust and
radial. Operating conditions have a large impact
on the amount of load each type of bearing sees
and the rate at which the bearings wear. To assess
whether bearings are holding up comparatively
well, the histories of other pumps in similar
environments should be evaluated. If bearings
need to be replaced every few months, then the
system operating conditions or the design criteria
for the bearings should be evaluated.
Factors that accelerate bearing wear are high
loads, poor lubrication, high operating temperature, and vibration. Preventive maintenance
techniquessuch as vibration analysis,
temperature checks, and oil analysiscan
improve the effectiveness of scheduling bearing
replacements. For more information, see the fact
sheet in this section titled Common Pumping
System Problems.

Packing/Mechanical Seal Replacement. Packing

and mechanical seals are methods of sealing
around the area where the pump shaft penetrates
into the pump casing, to stop or prevent leaks.
Packing is less expensive; it is used when leakage from the pump is not costly or otherwise

problematic. Mechanical seals, used in the

majority of pumps sold today, are more effective
at sealing fluid, but they are more expensive and
require additional maintenance.
Packing squeezes against the pump shaft and
requires frequent adjustment to maintain the
proper amount of cooling and lubrication leakage. Packing life depends on service conditions,
the quality of the packing material, and on the
care with which it is installed and adjusted.
Assessing and troubleshooting the performance
of mechanical seals is complicated by the wide
range of factors that impact the function and
operating life of these seals. Since there are many
different types of mechanical seals for many
different applications, it is difficult to state how
long a seal should last. Common causes of seal
problems include contamination of the seal faces,
overheating due to inadequate lubrication, and
improper installation. For more information on
mechanical seal and packing problems, see the
fact sheet in this section titled Common Pumping
System Problems.

Wear-Ring Clearances. Wear rings are used

in centrifugal pumps to establish clearances
between impellers and pump casings or other
impellers. As pumps operate over time, erosion
caused by abrasive particles or fluid squeezing
through gaps can increase these clearances. The
consequence is greater leakage within the pump.
That is, more fluid passes from the high-pressure
side of an impeller to its low-pressure side, which
reduces the pumps efficiency.
The gaps in the wear ring should be set in
accordance with the manufacturers instructions
during the initial installation. Note that the design
of the wear rings will determine the way in which
clearances are set. Some pump designs require
the impeller to be positioned axially to provide
proper clearance. The engineer can consult the
product instruction manual for the proper setting
of the wear ring clearance. The gaps need to be
reset properly during major pump overhauls or
if the pumps performance declines.

Improving Pumping System Performance

1. Assessing Pumping System Needs

Electrical System Wear. The stress on a motor

and its supporting electrical equipment is minimized when a motor is started under its lowest
mechanical load. For a radial centrifugal pump,
the brake horsepower (bhp) curve is typically a
constantly increasing line on the performance
curve, indicating that the motor current increases
as the flow rate goes up.
A practical implication of a constantly rising bhp
line on the performance curve is that the pumps
mechanical load is smallest at zero flow, that is,
when all valves downstream of the pump are
closed. Consequently, starting a centrifugal pump
while it is deadheaded and then opening the
valves soon after the pump comes up to speed can
reduce electrical stresses on the motor and the
motor controller.
For an axial pump, this relationship between
flow and power is reversed. In an axial pump,
power decreases as flow increases. Consequently,
when soft-starting axial pumps, the operator must
ensure that downstream valves are open until the
pump is up to speed.
In some pumping systems, the effect of pump
starts on the fluid system itself is a larger concern
than their impact on the electrical system. For
example, rapid acceleration of large volumes of
fluid can create damaging water hammers. However, as far as the electrical system is concerned,
start-up practices and, in some cases, special softstarting switchgears that minimize electrical
surges and high starting currents can extend the
operating life of the system and improve overall
system reliability.

System Capacity Increases

When a system needs to be modified or upgraded,
the available pumping capacity should also be
assessed. Unless the existing pump is considerably overdesigned, adding a branch to a system
or increasing the flow to an existing component
means that a larger pump or an additional pump
must be installed. Usually, the same type of pump
can be installed as the existing pump. However,
the size of the new pump or pumps can vary
according to service needs.
A Sourcebook for Industry

In some cases, a large pump capable of handling

the highest system demand can be equipped with
an adjustable speed drive (ASD) to ensure that it
operates efficiently over a wide range of system
conditions (depending on the system curve).
ASDs are especially practical for systems that
are dominated by frictional resistance; however,
they must be evaluated carefully for use in
systems that have high static head. In highstatic-head systems, reducing the pump speed
can cause a pump to operate close to shut-off
head conditions; this generally leads to poor
performance or, in severe cases, damage. For
more information, see the fact sheet in this
section titled Controlling Pumps with Adjustable
Speed Drives.
Alternatively, expanding pumping system
capacity can be accomplished using multiple
pump arrangements. Multiple pump arrangements
allow several pumps to be available to serve a
system. System flow requirements dictate the
number of pumps energized at any particular
time. The principal benefit of this alternative is
to keep each pump operating closer to its BEP,
rather than requiring one large pump to operate
over a wide range of conditions.
Multiple pump arrangements are well suited
for systems that have high static heads and low
friction losses. Unlike alternatives that reduce
pump speed, the use of multiple pumps in
parallel avoids the danger of operating a pump
near shut-off head if the pumps are properly
matched, and this can allow each pump to
operate more efficiently. For more information,
see the fact sheet in this section titled Multiple
Pump Arrangements.
Another multiple pump application is the use
of two different-sized pumps: a small one, known
as the pony pump, to handle normal loads, and
a large one to handle worst-case loads. The
advantage of using a pony pump is that the
smaller pump can be sized for efficient operation
during normal conditions, which then results in
lower operating and maintenance costs. For more
information, see the fact sheet in this section
titled Pony Pumps.


1. Assessing Pumping System Needs


Improving Pumping System Performance

2. Common Pumping System Problems

Common Pumping System Problems

Poor design and improper system operation can
create problems in both pumps and pumping
systems. As rotating equipment, pumps are subject
to wear, erosion, cavitation, and leakage. Many
pumping system problems can result from
improper pump selection and operation. If they
are not selected or operated properly, pumps can
require considerable maintenance.

system Problems
Many pumping system components are not
dynamic. That is, these components allow fluid or
heat transfer but, aside from thermal expansion or
structural vibration, they do not move and do not
have dynamic surfaces that wear out. (Hydraulic
systems are a notable exception, but they have
a unique set of operating problems.) The most
common types of problems in these components
are leakage, fouling,2 valve failure, and cracks
in pipe supports.
Leakage. In most systems, leakage first occurs at
mechanical joints. Once they have been hydrostatically tested (pressurized higher than system
operating pressure and inspected for leaks), solid
pipe and welded joints do not typically develop
leaks unless the pipe walls erode and/or corrode.
Mechanical joints rely on fastener tension to
ensure tightness. Over time, these joints can
loosen or the gasket material can degrade.
Repairing a leaking mechanical joint can be as
simple as tightening the joint fasteners or as
difficult as disassembling the joint and replacing
the gaskets or O-rings.
Causes of mechanical joint leakage include
sagging pipes, the result of inadequate support;
thermal strain; and fluid-borne and structureborne vibrations. Since improper pump selection
and operation can induce high levels of vibration
in a system, a pump problem can quickly become
a pumping system problem, and vice versa.

2 Fouling

Related Tip Sheets

Related information is available in two ITP
BestPractices Tip Sheets titled Select an
Energy-Efficient Centrifugal Pump and Test
for Pumping System Efficiency. Tip sheets
can be found in Appendix C, accessed on the
Web at
bestpractices, or obtained by contacting the
EERE Information Center at 877-337-3463.
Valve Problems. Valves are susceptible to wear
and leakage, and they require a considerable
amount of maintenance. Depending on the
service environment, they must occasionally
be overhauled. Valves are often installed in a
pumping system using bolted flange connections.
These valves can experience the same leakage
problems as mechanical joints. Valve packing
can also develop leaks. Much like the packing
used in pumps, valve packing controls leakage
around a valve stem. However, leakage can
result from improper installation or degradation
of the packing.
In some systems, a little leakage from around
valve stems is not a problem. In other systems,
such as those with toxic fluids, such leakage
requires immediate attention. In many systems,
valve packing leakage is allowed during initial
operation, until the valves have been opened
and shut enough times to break in the packing.
Also, in high-temperature systems such as steam
systems, valve packing may leak at low temperatures and then seal at high temperatures, as the
valve heats up and expands.
Adjustments to valve packing should be made
cautiously. Overtightening a valve packing gland
can significantly increase the amount of torque
required to operate a valve. If packing is too tight,
the valves handwheel torque may be too high to
turn by hand, posing a potential safety problem.

can also increase the pressure drop.

A Sourcebook for Industry


2. Common Pumping System Problems

Valve seat wear is another problem that can be

made worse by improper pump selection. Valve
seats form the seal that allows a valve to stop flow.
The internal surfaces of these seats are classified
as soft or hard, depending on the type of
material used. Soft-seated valves usually have
some sort of polymer coating on the seating
surface; hard-seated valves are usually characterized by metal-to-metal contact. Soft-seated
valves tend to seal more tightly but wear more
quickly than hard-seated valves.
Valve seats experience wear problems caused by
erosive fluids and high-velocity flow. Oversizing
a pump can create high pressure drops across
throttle valves and high flow rates through bypass
valves. In both cases, the valve seats may wear
quickly, shortening the interval between valve




Pump Casing

Vapor bubbles form, then

violently collapse, eroding
impeller surfaces.

Figure 5. Cavitation in a Centrifugal Pump

Pipe Supports and Equipment Foundations. In

general, unless a system is poorly designed, the
hangers that hold piping and the foundations that
support system equipment should last throughout
the life of the system. However, high vibration
levels can create fatigue loads that cause structural members to yield or crack. Pumps that are
substantially oversized can induce such vibrations.

pressure at a certain temperature. In centrifugal

pumps, the acceleration of fluid into the impeller
causes the fluid pressure to drop. If this pressure
drop is sufficient, the liquid vaporizes, forming
tiny bubbles that are unstable and prone to
violent collapse. These violent bubble collapses
can throw tiny, destructive water jets onto
impeller surfaces.

Centrifugal Pump Problems

Some of the benefits of centrifugal pumps are that
they are simple to operate, reliable, and longlasting. In order to realize these benefits, however,
certain problems must be prevented, such as
cavitation, internal recirculation, seal or packing
wear, poor material selection, and improper shaft

Crackling and popping noises that often sound

like marbles passing through the pump are
indications of cavitation. Not selecting the right
pumpor operating the system at either higherthan-design temperatures or lower-than-design
suction pressurecan be a cause of cavitation.
Cavitation usually occurs at high flow rates,
when a pump is operating far to the right along
its performance curve; however, under certain
conditions, cavitation damage can occur at low
flow rates as well.

Cavitation and Internal Recirculation. Cavitation

is a damaging condition that erodes pump
impellers, shortening their operating lives and
accelerating the wear rate of bearings and seals in
the process. As illustrated in Figure 5, cavitation
is both a problem itself and an indication of poor
system performance.
Cavitation occurs when the fluids static pressure
at a given flow rate falls below the fluids vapor



Cavitation damage can also result when the pump

suction is starved because of the formation of air
pockets or fouling of pipes. The most important
effects of sustained cavitation are reductions in
pump performance and erosion of the pump
impeller. Cavitation degrades pump performance
because the vapor in the pump restricts flow and
lowers the generated head.
Improving Pumping System Performance

2. Common Pumping System Problems

If cavitation causes enough loss of material in the

impellers, they can become unbalanced, creating
alternating bearing loads that accelerate bearing
wear. Because it dramatically shortens pump life,
cavitation is a serious threat to system reliability.
Cavitation also increases other maintenance
requirements by inducing vibrations that stress
pump foundations and connected piping.
Cavitation-like damage can also occur as a result
of internal recirculation. Operating the system at
low flow rates can establish damaging flow
patterns in either the suction or discharge regions
of an impeller.
For applications in which cavitation is to some
extent unavoidable, high-tensile-strength
materials should be specified for the impeller.
Tougher materials can withstand higher energy
cavitation. However, use caution when sourcing
materials to ensure that they are compatible with
the system fluid.

To prevent cavitation, centrifugal pumps must

operate with a certain amount of pressure at the
inlet. This pressure is known as the net positive
suction head, or NPSH, which is discussed in the
fact sheet in this section titled Centrifugal Pumps.

Seal and Packing Problems

The point at which the shaft penetrates the pump
casing, known as the stuffing box, provides a leak
path that must be sealed. This area is normally
sealed using packing or mechanical seals (see
Figure 6). For systems in which fluid leakage is
not a significant concern, packing is usually used
because it is much less expensive and requires less
sophisticated maintenance skills. Mechanical seals
provide superior sealing, but they are typically
more expensive and harder to repair or replace.
Most pumps sold today are provided with
mechanical seals.
Packing. There are two basic types of packing
problems: overtightening and improper install-

Packing Gland

Packing Seal Rings

Pump Shaft


Stationary Seal Face

Seal Housing or Gland

Pump Housing

Dynamic Seal Face

Pump Shaft

Figure 6. Two Types of Sealing Methods: Packing and Mechanical Seals

A Sourcebook for Industry


2. Common Pumping System Problems

ation. Packing typically requires some leakage in

order to remain lubricated and cooled. If packing
rings are overtightened, friction between the
packing and shaft will generate excessive heat,
which can destroy the packing and possibly
damage the shaft.
Since packing comes in direct contact with the
pump shaft, it wears over time, increasing the
leakage rate. Consequently, the packing gland
must be periodically tightened to squeeze the
packing against the shaft and keep leakage to an
acceptable level. Improper packing installation
leads to uneven compression of the packing rings
(overtightening of one, insufficient tightening of
others) or an overly loose fit between the packing
and shaft. This often results in excessive leakage,
which in turn can cause housekeeping problems
(such as wet floors), high ambient moisture
levels, and, if the fluid is toxic, contamination
problems. If the fluid is expensive, leakage also
has a direct economic cost.
If the fluid pressure at the stuffing box is below
atmospheric pressure, then improperly installing
the packing seal can allow air to enter the system.
Pulling air into the suction region can degrade
pump performance 3% or more. Also, for systems
that require precise fluid chemistries, especially
those that are sensitive to oxygen content, pulling
in air can contaminate the system. Excess air
leakage can keep pumps from staying primed and
prevent self-priming pumps from repriming on

Mechanical Seals. Mechanical seals are typically

used in applications that call for superior sealing.
The effectiveness of mechanical seals is highly
dependent on correct installation and a continuously clean operating environment. Mechanical
seals have two primary failure mechanisms:
degradation of the face material and loss of
spring or bellows tension, which allows the faces
to separate more easily. Degradation of the seal
face is usually caused by debris that wedges into
a seal face and causes damage. To minimize the
risk of this type of damage, mechanical seals are
often serviced by special flushing lines that have
filters to catch debris.

Seal faces are held together by a force that is

usually provided by springs or bellows. However,
compressive properties are often lost because of
fatigue, fouling, and/or corrosive environments,
which degrade spring and bellows materials.
To minimize fatigue loads on mechanical seals,
the seal must be precisely aligned so that spring
movement is minimal during each shaft
revolution. In systems with highly corrosive
fluids, mechanical seals with external springs
are recommended.
The face materials require alignment, with
tolerances on the order of microns (one-millionth
of a meter). The precise flatness and proper alignment of the seals are important because these
faces must remain in constant contact as the pump
shaft spins. Since pumps often rotate at 1,800 or
3,600 revolutions per minute (rpm), even slight
variations in the contact between two seal faces
can quickly destroy a seals effectiveness.

Shaft Deflection. Shaft deflection is a problem

among long-shafted centrifugal pumps. Shaft
deflection is caused by the force resulting from
an unequal pressure distribution around an
impeller. The side of the impeller that is nearest
the pump discharge connection sees a higher
pressure than the other side of the impeller,
creating a radial force on the shaft. Some pumps
are equipped with multiple volutes to minimize
this imbalance.
In general, shaft deflection is most problematic
when a pump is operated at low flow conditions.
The consequences of severe shaft deflection
include high wear rate on bearings, shaft seal
leakage, and fatigue bending of the pump shaft.
Although pump shafts are typically designed to
last the life of the pump, severe shaft deflections
can load shafts in ways that they were not
designed to handle. If they are sustained for
extended periods, severe shaft deflections can
result in catastrophic failure of a pump shaft.
Pump shaft failure is costly; at times, it requires
the replacement of the entire pump. The risk of
shaft failure is particularly prevalent in pumps
with relatively long distances and small shaft
diameters between shaft bearings. Operating
Improving Pumping System Performance

2. Common Pumping System Problems

these pumps at or near their minimum flow

conditions for extended periods greatly
increases the chances of pump shaft failure.

Positive Displacement Pump Problems

Positive displacement pumps can experience
many of the same problems described earlier
in regard to centrifugal pumps, and they can
experience some problems of their own. In
many positive displacement pumps, the cyclical
nature of the pumping action causes fatigue in
components such as bearings and diaphragms.
Also, since their flow rate is essentially
independent of backpressure, with positive
displacement pumps there is an inherent risk of
overpressurizing the discharge piping. If valves
in the pumping system are aligned so that all
the discharge lines downstream of a pump are
closed while the pump is operating, overpressure conditions can occur quickly. In such
cases, if a pressure relief mechanism is not
activated, the pump motor will either reach its
lockout torque or the pressure will build until
some part of the system fails or ruptures.
Because of these dangers, pressure relief valves
need to be installed and maintained. If these
valves fail to operate properly, catastrophic
system damage can occur. Therefore, a regular
maintenance program to check these valves
should be strictly followed.
A characteristic of many positive displacement
pumps is pulsating flow. The fluid-borne and
structure-borne vibrations resulting from these
pulsations can create load conditions that hasten
the degradation of piping, valves, and piping
supports. Consequently, pumping systems that
are not designed to handle the vibration loads
of positive displacement pumps may experience
severe operating and maintenance problems.
In addition, positive displacement pumps are
very susceptible to wear from abrasives in the
fluid being pumped.

A Sourcebook for Industry


2. Common Pumping System Problems


Improving Pumping System Performance

3. Indications of Oversized Pumps

Indications of Oversized Pumps

Conservative engineering practices often result in
the specification, purchase, and installation of
pumps that exceed process requirements. Engineers
often decide to include a margin of safety in sizing
pumps to compensate for uncertainties in the
design process. Anticipated expansions in system
capacity and potential fouling effects add to the
tendency to source pumps that are one size up
from those that meet system requirements.
Unfortunately, oversizing pumps adds to system
operating costs in terms of both energy and
maintenance requirements; these costs are often
overlooked during the system specification
process. Since many of these operating and
maintenance costs are avoidable, correcting an
oversized pump can be a cost-effective system

Related Tip Sheets

Related information is available in two ITP
BestPractices Tip Sheets titled Select an
Energy-Efficient Centrifugal Pump and Test
for Pumping System Efficiency. Tip sheets
can be found in Appendix C, accessed on the
Web at
bestpractices, or obtained by contacting the
EERE Information Center at 877-337-3463.
create fatigue loads on welds in both the pipes and
piping supports.

Highly Throttled Flow Control Valves. Throttle

valves affect system flow in two principal ways:

Appendix B, Pumping System Assessment Tool,

describes a useful DOE-developed software tool
that can help engineers identify and prioritize
opportunities to optimize pumping systems. Many
of the principles discussed here can also help to
indicate whether a pump is operating efficiently
relative to the needs of its system.

Common Indications of Oversizing

There are five common indications that a pump is
oversized: excessive flow noise, highly throttled
flow control valves, heavy use of bypass lines,
frequent replacements of bearings and seals, and
intermittent pump operation.
Excessive Flow Noise. Oversized pumps tend to
cause excessive levels of noise. These problems
are frequently disregarded as normal system
operating characteristics as the operators simply
get used to the systems acoustic levels. Unless the
noise levels worsen, the system is assumed to be
performing normally. However, the cumulative
damage that results from flow-induced pipe
vibrations can significantly accelerate system wear.
Pipe vibrations tend to loosen flanged connections
and other mechanical joints. These vibrations also
A Sourcebook for Industry

Shifting system flow balance, forcing flow

rates in different system branches to increase
or decrease
Changing the overall system backpressure
essentially causing the pump to see a
different system, which shifts its operating
point along its performance curve.

Both these effects occur concurrently to an extent

that depends on the systems configuration. In
systems with oversized pumps, valves tend to
remain in restrictive positions, and this forces the
pump to operate against a high backpressure.
Since this backpressure is typically higher than the
pressure associated with the pumps best efficiency
point (BEP), the pump operates inefficiently and is
susceptible to higher-than-normal bearing wear.
Many control valves are oversized to ensure
adequate flow. Unknowns such as pump
performance, pipeline fouling and scaling, and
future production rates all tend to create a bias
toward oversizing. Many control valves normally
operate at less than 50% open. Appropriate valve
characterization is often not applied. This results
in a high degree of nonlinearity and thus
inconsistent control performance.


3. Indications of Oversized Pumps

Highly throttled control valves can also impact

process control loops. Control valve backlash and
stiction, or static friction, are major contributors to
process variability. The tendency to oversize the
control valve also exacerbates the negative impact
of backlash and stiction. Proper sizing of the pump
and control valve provides a more uniform
response to flow changes and reduces process

Heavy Use of Bypass Lines. In some systems,

excess flow is handled by bypass lines around
system equipment. Bypass lines prevent the
buildup of damaging pressure differentials, and
they are used for temperature control in many
heat exchangers. Bypass lines may allow pump(s)
to operate closer to the BEP and improve
reliability, although the energy needed to push
fluid through bypass lines is wasted. When a
system normally operates with a large number of
open bypass valves, this indicates that the system
is performing inefficiently because of improper
balancing, oversized pumps, or both.


Corrective Measures
In systems served by oversized pumps, several
corrective measures can be taken to lower system
operating costs and extend equipment mainten
ance intervals. The correct measure to choose
depends on the system and on the particular
indicator that points to the oversized pump
problem. An obvious remedy is to replace the
pump/motor assembly with a downsized version;
however, this is costly and may not be feasible in
all situations.
Alternatives to replacing the entire pump/motor
assembly include these:

Replace the impeller of the existing pump with

a smaller impeller
Reduce the outside diameter of the existing
Install an adjustable speed drive (ASD) to
control the pump if flow varies over time
Add a smaller pump to reduce the intermittent
operation of the existing pump.

Frequent Replacement of Bearings and Seals.

The penalties for excess system flow can extend
beyond high energy costs to include frequent
pump maintenance. Since oversized pumps
generate high backpressures, they often operate
far to the left of their BEP and tend to experience
greater bearing and seal wear. The higher backpressure caused by increased flow velocity
creates high radial-bearing and thrust-bearing
loads, and it exerts greater pressure on
mechanical seals and packing glands.

Adjust the Impeller. Most pumps can be

assembled using more than one impeller
diameter. Pump manufacturers standardize
their pump models as much as possible to lower
production costs; consequently, casings and
pump shafts can accommodate impellers of
different sizes. This characteristic often allows
a smaller impeller to be used when the existing
impeller is generating excessive flow or head.

Intermittent Pump Operation. Pumps are often

used to maintain fluid levels in tanks, either by
filling or draining them, as needed. Many systems
rely on a level control system to activate the
pumps automatically. The cumulative effect of
energizing and de-energizing a pump shortens
the lives of the motor controller and the pump
assembly. In addition, an oversized pump
generates higher friction losses during operation,
because it pushes fluid through the piping at
higher velocities.

When a smaller impeller is not available or

the performance of the next smallest impeller
is insufficient, impeller trimming can be an
alternative. Impeller trimming reduces the
impeller diameterand thus the impeller tip
speedso that the same constant-speed pump
motor can be used. Since the head generated by
a pump is a function of its tip speed, impeller
trimming shifts the entire performance curve of
the pump downward and to the left. For more
information on this performance improvement
opportunity, see the fact sheet in this section
titled Impeller Trimming.

Improving Pumping System Performance

3. Indications of Oversized Pumps

Use Variable Frequency Drives. Pumps that

experience highly variable demand conditions
are often good candidates for ASDs. The most
popular type of ASD is the variable frequency
drive (VFD). VFDs use electronic controls to
regulate motor speed, which, in turn, adjusts the
pumps output. The principal advantage of VFDs
is better matching between the fluid energy that
the system requires and the energy that the pump
delivers to the system. As system demand
changes, the VFD adjusts the pump speed to
meet this demand, reducing the energy lost to
throttling or bypassing excess flow. The resulting
energy and maintenance cost savings often justify
the investment in the VFD. However, VFDs are
not practical for all applicationsfor example,
systems that operate high static head and those
that operate for extended periods under low-flow
conditions. For more information, see the fact
sheet in this section titled Controlling Pumps
with Adjustable Speed Drives.
Use Smaller Pumps to Augment Larger Pumps.
Pumps that maintain fluid levels in tanks or
reservoirs are often sized according to worst-case
or peak service conditions. Since the requirements of worst-case conditions are often significantly higher than those of normal operating
conditions, many pumps are oversized relative
to the demands of their application for most of
their operating lives. The penalties of using an
oversized pump include frequent energizing and
de-energizing of the motor, operation away from
the pumps BEP, and high friction lossesall of
which add to energy and maintenance costs.
Adding a smaller pump to handle normal system
demand relieves the burden on the larger pump,
which can be energized as needed during high
load conditions. A smaller pump can operate
more efficiently and require less maintenance.
For more information, see the fact sheet in this
section titled Pony Pumps.

A Sourcebook for Industry


3. Indications of Oversized Pumps


Improving Pumping System Performance

4. Piping Configurations To Improve Pumping System Efficiency

Piping Configurations To Improve Pumping System Efficiency

There are several steps involved in optimizing the
configuration of a pumping system. These include
determining the proper pipe size, designing a piping system layout that minimizes pressure drops,
and selecting low-loss components. To determine
the proper pipe size, designers must balance the
initial cost of the pipe against the cost of pushing
fluid through it. Larger pipes create less friction
loss for a given flow rate; however, larger pipes
also have higher material and installation costs.
Unfortunately, designers often overlook the energy
costs of using small piping and focus on the initial
cost when sizing system piping.
Similarly, system piping should be configured
with an awareness of the energy costs associated
with poor flow profiles. Although piping system
layouts are usually dictated by space constraints,
there are often opportunities to minimize
unnecessary pressure drops by avoiding sharp
bends, expansions, and contractions and by keeping piping as straight as possible. For example,
orienting valves and system equipment so that
they are in line with the pipe run is one useful
rule of thumb.
Low-loss components provide another opportunity to minimize life-cycle costs during system
design. As with pipe sizing, it is necessary to
balance initial costs with future energy costs. For
example, system components such as valves can
be cost-effective when life-cycle costs are taken
into consideration.
In many cases, the selection of a particular type
of valve is guided by service requirements such
as sealing capability under various pressures, the
number of times a valve is opened and closed,
handwheel torque, and the consequences of valve
stem leakage. However, for applications in which
service requirements are comparatively light, the
valve is selected on a first-cost basis at the
expense of high flow loss. For example, globe
valves are usually selected because of their low
cost and simplicity. However, these valves have a
relatively high flow loss coefficient caused by the
A Sourcebook for Industry

Related Tip Sheet

Related information is available in an ITP
BestPractices Tip Sheet titled Reduce Pumping
Costs Through Optimum Pipe Sizing. Tip sheets
can be found in Appendix C, accessed on the
Web at
bestpractices, or obtained by contacting the
EERE Information Center at
flow path through the valve. Thus, one way
designers can improve system life-cycle costs
is to consider the cost of flow losses.
Valves are often sized incorrectly. Designers often
specify a pressure drop across the valve at the
design point that is larger than necessary. This
results in an undersized valve and energy loss.
Further, process designers sometimes specify a
maximum system flow that is much greater than
normal flow. This also results in an excessive
pressure drop across the valve at normal operating

Pump Concerns
Since centrifugal pumps operate most effectively
when the inlet flow has a uniform profile, systems
should be designed to avoid nonuniform flow at
the pump inlet. In centrifugal pumps, as fluid
moves from the suction piping into the eye of the
impeller, it gets caught by an impeller vane and
then accelerates to the tip. If the flow into the eye
is uneven, the impeller will transfer energy to the
fluid less efficiently. In addition, uneven flow at
the pump suction promotes excessive vibrations,
which shorten pump life and weaken pipe welds
and mechanical joints.
An improper flow profile, vapor collection, and
vortex formation are three common pipe configuration problems that result in poor pump
performance. Figure 7 depicts some common
piping installation problems and shows the
corresponding proper arrangements.


4. Piping Configurations To Improve Pumping System Efficiency

Space that allows an
air pocket to form

Size or fit the pipe so that
no air pocket can form.

Space that allows an
air pocket to form

Constant slope

Space that allows an
air pocket to form

Use an eccentric
reducer to eliminate
the air pocket.

Figure 7. Common Pipe Configuration Problems and How To Correct Them


Improving Pumping System Performance

4. Piping Configurations To Improve Pumping System Efficiency

Poor Flow Profile. Piping configurations often

promote uneven flow. Elbows and valves that are
placed just before the pump disrupt fluid flow and
degrade pump performance. This problem is
particularly significant when the flow velocity is
high and the suction pressure is low. Under these
conditions, a dramatic redirection in flow
commonly created by a small-radius elbow or a
globe valveresults in a highly turbulent flow
that diminishes pump performance.

as a baffle plate or a set of turning vanes, should

be installed with an elbow to correct any disruption in flow (see Figure 8). By smoothing out
the flow, a flow straightener creates a more even
velocity profile. Care must be taken, however,
to ensure that the pressure drop across the
straightener does not cause cavitation.

Vapor Collection. Vapor entrapment can be

another consequence of a poor piping layout. If
the suction piping leading to the pump does not
have a constant slope, vapor can collect at the
high points. Vapor pockets limit flow through the
pipe and cause pressure pulsations that degrade
the pumps performance. Figure 7 shows
examples of piping installations that encourage
vapor collection.
Vortex Formation. In tank applications, if a fluid
surface drops close to the suction inlet, a vortex
can form, potentially creating a loss of suction
head or allowing air into the pump. In severe
cases, the pump will lose its prime, which can
cause severe degradations in performance and
even damage to the pump. A centrifugal pump is
not designed to run without fluid; mechanical
seals, packing, and impeller wearing rings are
susceptible to damage if they are not lubricated.
Most centrifugal pumps are not self-priming; if a
pump loses its prime, it must be filled and vented
to be restarted. The centrifugal pumps that are
self-priming tend to be less efficient than
conventional centrifugal pumps and should be
used only when necessary.

Flow straightener
(turning vanes)

Figure 8. Flow Straighteners

Figure 8. Flow Straighteners

In addition, installers should make sure that transition pieces and joints between pipes or fittings are
kept as smooth as possible. Burrs or misaligned
pipes create trip points that disrupt flow.
Suction and discharge piping close to the pump
should be properly supported (see Figure 9).
Many pump/motor problems are caused by pipe




Rules of Thumb for Improving Pipe

There are two primary rules of thumb for improving pipe configurations. First, to establish a
uniform-velocity flow profile upstream of the
pump, the operator should make sure that a
straight run of pipe leads into the pump inlet.
If space constraints require an elbow just upstream
of the pump, a long radius elbow should be
selected. In some cases, a flow straightener, such

A Sourcebook for Industry



Horizontal split casing pump

Figure 9. Proper Support of Suction and Discharge Piping


4. Piping Configurations To Improve Pumping System Efficiency

reactions that pull the pump out of alignment. For

example, when a pump is installed, the connecting
piping is rarely aligned perfectly with the pump;
rather, some amount of mechanical correction is
needed to make the connections. If the piping is
pulled too far from its relaxed position to make the
fit, it can force the pump and motor out of
alignment, excessively straining the pump casing.
Properly supporting the piping near the pump
allows the pipe reaction to be carried by the pipe
hangers rather than by the pump itself. Also,
proper support of the piping near the pump stiffens
the system, and this can reduce system vibrations.


Improving Pumping System Performance

5. Basic Pump Maintenance

Basic Pump Maintenance

Centrifugal pumps are widely used because of their
low maintenance requirements. However, like all
machinery, they still require periodic maintenance.
Common maintenance tasks on centrifugal pumps
include the following:

Bearing lubrication and replacement

Mechanical seal replacement

Packing tightening and replacement

Wear ring adjustment or replacement

Impeller replacement

Pump/motor alignment

Motor repair or replacement.

Common Failures
The most costly consequence of improper pump
maintenance is unscheduled downtime. Causes
of this downtime vary according to the demands
of the application. In corrosive or hazardous
fluid systems, mechanical seal leaks often require
shutting down the system for safety reasons. In
other systems, such leaks can be tolerated. And in
some systems, problems such as bearing seizures
may pose the greatest threat to continuous system
operation. Since each system places particular
demands on its pump/motor equipment, maintenance requirements vary widely.
Preventive Maintenance and Schedules
To minimize unscheduled downtime, basic system
maintenance should be performed at predetermined
intervals. Factors that must be weighed in setting
this schedule include the cost of downtime; the
cost and risk of catastrophic failure; the expected
mean time between repair (MTBR) for motors,
bearings, and seals; and the availability of backup
equipment. Hours of operation or calendar intervals
e.g., quarterly or semiannuallycan help determine the schedule. See, for example, the basic
maintenance checklist sample in this fact sheet.
Operators can base decisions about the frequency
of maintenance on the manufacturers recomA Sourcebook for Industry

Related Tip Sheet

A summary of key issues presented here is
available in an ITP BestPractices Tip Sheet
titled Maintain Pumping Systems Effectively. Tip
sheets can be found in Appendix C, accessed
on the Web at
bestpractices, or obtained by
contacting the EERE Information Center at

mendations and on their own experience with

pumps in similar applications. In systems that do
not have abnormally severe operating demands, a
typical maintenance schedule like the one shown
here could be followed.

Packing and Mechanical Seal Adjustments.

Packing and mechanical seal adjustments should
be done weekly, taking into consideration the

For packing, adjust the tightness of the gland

bolts to obtain the cooling flow leakage rate
allowed by the pump manufacturer (usually
2 to 60 drops per minute). Do not overtighten
the boltsthis will burn up the packing and
require repacking of the stuffing box. As
the packing wears, add more packing rings.
Eventually, the stuffing box will need all new
packing rings. When repacking the box, clean
and lubricate the gland bolts.
For mechanical seals, check the performance
of the seal and measure leakage.

Bearing Lubrication. Bearings should be lubri

cated semiannually or annually. Operators should
pay particular attention to the following:

For grease-lubricated bearings, add grease as

described in the technical manual for the
pump. Be careful not to overgrease bearings,
because this interferes with the ball or roller
motion and might cause overheating.


5. Basic Pump Maintenance

Check the quality of the grease and, if

necessary, repack the bearings.
For oil-lubricated bearings, check the level
and quality of the oil. If necessary, add or
replace oil. Do not overfill the oil reservoir.

Motor/Pump Alignment. Since shifting of the

pump foundation feet or piping can cause pump/
motor misalignment, check the alignment
periodically. Alignment is typically measured by
using a dial indicator and reading the total
indicated runout, or TIRalso known as full
indicator movement, or FIMof a pump/motor
coupling. Regularly scheduled vibration readings
can reveal changes in the status of a bearing.

Basic Maintenance Checklist

For pumps requiring unusually precise alignments, laser measurement systems provide higher
accuracy than some other types. Alignment
requirements can usually be found in the
technical manual for the pump.

Repair Items
Repair items that typically have to be replaced
regularly include mechanical seals and bearings,
packing, wear rings, motors, and impellers.
Replace Mechanical Seals and Bearings.
Although seals and bearings are normal maintenance items, they sometimes fail catastrophically.
Worn bearings can cause an unsatisfactory
amount of noise or even seize. Occasionally, a
bearing or a mechanical seal seizure scores its
corresponding shaft sleeve, which necessitates
removal of the pump shaft and installation of a
new sleeve.
Mechanical seals are typically used in applications that require a better seal than packing can
provide. Although mechanical seals are more
expensive, they experience less friction and
exhibit superior sealing capabilities in comparison to packing. Mechanical seals rely on
a precisely fit contact between their dynamic
surfaces. Contaminants can quickly degrade
a seal. However, mechanical seals can last
thousands of hours if they are properly installed,
kept clean, and flushed as required.


Packing. Check for leakage around the

packing and adjust it according to the
instructions of the pump and packing
manufacturers. Allowable leakage is usually
between 2 and 60 drops per minute. Add
packing rings or, if necessary, replace all the
Mechanical Seals. Check for leakage.
If leakage exceeds the manufacturers
specifications, replace the seal.
Bearings. Determine the condition of the
bearing by listening for noises that indicate
excessive wear, measuring the bearings
operating temperature, and using a
predictive maintenance technique such as
vibration analysis or oil analysis. Lubricate
bearings according to the pump manu
facturers instructions; replace them
if necessary. A vibration analysis can also
indicate the status of bearings.
Motor/Pump Alignment. Determine if motor
pump alignment is within the service limits
of the pump.

Motor Condition. Check the integrity of

motor winding insulation. These tests usually
measure insulation resistance at a certain
voltage, or measure the rate at which an
applied voltage decays across the insulation.
A vibration analysis can also indicate certain
conditions within motor windings and lead to
early detection of developing problems.

Replace Packing. Packing is a soft, malleable,

rope-like material that, when compressed by the
packing gland, forms a seal between the pump
and the motor shaft. Since packing contacts the
rotating shaft directly, it relies on the system fluid
for cooling and lubrication. As the packing
wears, it must be compressed by tightening the
gland nuts. Over time, however, the packing
loses its ability to seal and must be replaced.
Improving Pumping System Performance

5. Basic Pump Maintenance

Packing typically comes in rolls; it must be cut into

sections that are then wrapped around the shaft.
Cutting packing rings accurately is difficult, but
it is essential to ensure proper sealing. Many
mechanics facilitate this job by using a piece of
pipe or bar stock that is machined to the precise
diameter of the pump shaft. Using this mockup
shaft allows the mechanic to cut the rings to fit
directly without having to measure the packing first
and then cut it. Since packing is usually stretchy,
the measure/cut method often leads to a poor fit-up.

Replace Wear Rings. Wear rings are fastened

to an impeller or a casing (or both) to act as the
wear surface between different impeller stages
or between an impeller and a pump casing. Wear
rings are sized to establish a certain gap between
the high- and low-pressure sides of an impeller.
If this gap becomes too large, fluid slips back into
the suction side of the pump, creating an efficiency loss. Some wear rings have an axial gap
that could compensate for wear, and some pump
designs use adjustable wear plates. A key indication that wear rings need to be replaced is a
substantial decline in the pumps performance.
Unfortunately, pumps must be disassembled in
order to replace wear rings.
Replace Motors. Even properly maintained
motors have a finite life. Over time, winding
insulation breaks down. When a motors winding
temperatures exceed rated values for long periods
of time, its insulation tends to break down more
quickly. In motor applications below 50
horsepower (hp), the most common option is
simply to replace the motor with a new one;
however, in larger applications, it is often more
economical to rewind an existing motor.
Although motor rewinds are typically a costeffective alternative, rewound motors can lose
even more efficiency during subsequent rewinds.
For motor rewinds, operators should ensure that
the repair facility has a proper quality assurance
program, since poor quality motor rewinds can
compromise motor efficiency. For more information on motor repair, see
industry/bestpractices or contact the EERE
Information Center at 877-337-3463.
A Sourcebook for Industry

For motor replacements, high-efficiency motors

should be considered. High-efficiency motors are
generally 3% to 8% more efficient than standard
ones. In high-use applications, this efficiency
advantage often provides an attractive payback
period. The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992
set minimum efficiency standards that went into
effect in 1997 for most general-purpose motors
from 1 to 200 hp. In addition, the National
Electrical Manufacturers Associations NEMA
PremiumTM energy efficiency motors program
describes premium efficiency motors as those
with even higher efficiencies than the levels
established by EPAct. Premium efficiency motors
can be cost effective for pumps having high
hours of operation.
DOEs MotorMaster+ software tool can be
a valuable tool in selecting energy-efficient
motors. The program also allows users to
compare motors and estimate energy costs
and savings along with life-cycle costs. It is
available through the EERE Information Center
and can be downloaded from the Web site at
Additional information can be found in the
Energy-Efficient Motor Selection Handbook,
which is available from the EERE Information

Replace Impellers. Impellers often last the life of

the pump. However, severe cavitation or erosion
can degrade an impeller, reducing pump performance and efficiency. Impeller replacement is
similar to wear-ring replacement in that the pump
must first be disassembled.
Predictive Maintenance
In many applications, pump maintenance is
reactive. For example, bearing noises indicate the
need for lubrication or replacement, excessive
packing or seal leakage indicates the need for
repair or replacement, and poor pump performance
may indicate excessive wear ring degradation.
Fortunately, recent improvements in instrumentation and signal analysis software have increased
the availability of vibration testing equipment; this
has helped to improve the planning of pump/motor
maintenance. Vibration analysis equipment is

5. Basic Pump Maintenance

essentially a refined extension of the human ear.

By listening to the vibrations of a motor or
similar piece of machinery, the instrumentation
can detect the beginnings of bearing problems,
motor winding problems, or other dynamic

In addition, thermography, or infrared (IR)

scanning, can be used. IR scans provide early
detection of a hot spot and can help avoid an
unexpected shutdown. With pump motors, IR
scans offer a means of identifying developing
problemsfor example, a hot-running bearing
or deteriorating winding insulation.

Vibration analysis equipment uses accelerometers

to measure the vibration response of machinery
during operation and records the data on an
amplitude/frequency graph. These measured
vibrations are compared with a baseline set of
data, usually taken when the machinery was
first operated. Identifying problems before they
become larger allows operators to schedule the
needed repairs and significantly reduce the risk
of catastrophic failure.
Predictive maintenance thus allows operators to
plan for equipment repairs. Two different
signatures can be compared to determine the rate
at which a problem is developing. This infor
mation can be useful in that a repair may be
postponed with greater confidence until a
convenient downtime.
Another predictive maintenance technique
involves oil monitoring and analysis. For pumps
with oil-lubricated bearings, analyzing oil quality
provides another insight into the operating
condition of the bearings and seals. An oil analysis
can indicate whether a pump has operated at high
temperatures, whether system fluid is leaking into
the oil, and whether the bearings are nearing the
end of their operating life.
An oil analysis can also increase the confidence
with which oil change-outs are planned and
eliminate unnecessary oil replacements. It can
also provide substantial cost savings, especially
if the oil is expensivefor example, a synthetic
type with sophisticated additives. At approximately $1,000 per analysis, oil monitoring is not
economical for all pump applications; however,
it can provide some facilities with worthwhile
intelligence regarding the condition of their plant


Improving Pumping System Performance

6. Centrifugal Pumps

Centrifugal Pumps
Centrifugal pumps (also known as rotodynamic
pumps) have variable flow rates even when
rotating at a constant speedunlike positive
displacement pumps, which push a certain volume
of fluid with each stroke or rotation. Centrifugal
pumps use an impeller, which is basically a
rotating wheel, to add energy to a fluid. The highvelocity fluid coming off the impeller tip is sent
into a diffusera chamber that feeds directly
into discharge piping. The fluid slows as it enters
the diffuser, and the kinetic energy of the fluid
converts to higher pressure.
The performance of a centrifugal pump is typically
described by a graph plotting the pressure generated by the pump (measured in terms of head)
over a range of flow rates. Figure 10 shows a
performance curve for a typical centrifugal pump.

Related Tip Sheet

A summary of key issues presented in this
fact sheet is available in an ITP BestPractices
Tip Sheet titled Select an Energy-Efficient
Centrifugal Pump. Tip sheets can be found
in Appendix C, accessed on the Web at,
or obtained by contacting the EERE Information
Center at 877-337-3463.

Performance Curve



Head 120

Efficiency (%)




The amount of fluid that a centrifugal pump

moves depends on pump differential pressure.
As the pump differential pressure increases, the
flow rate decreases. The rate of this decrease is a
function of the pump design. Understanding this
relationship is essential to designing, sourcing,
and operating a centrifugal pump system.
Also included on a typical pump performance
curve are its efficiency and brake horsepower
(bhp), both of which are plotted with respect to
flow rate. The efficiency of a pump is the ratio
of the pumps fluid power to the pump shaft
horsepower, which, for direct-coupled pump/
motor combinations, is the motor bhp.

Best Efficiency Point

An important characteristic of the head/flow curve
is the best efficiency point (BEP). At the BEP, the
pump operates most cost-effectively in terms of
both energy efficiency and maintenance. BEP is
explained further in the fact sheet titled Multiple
Pump Arrangements.
Operating a pump at a point well away from its
BEP may accelerate wear in bearings, mechanical
seals, and other parts. In practice, it is difficult to
A Sourcebook for Industry





















Flow (gpm)

Figure 10. Centrifugal Pump Performance Curves

Figure 10. Centrifugal Pump Performance Curves

keep a pump operating consistently at this point

because systems usually have changing demands.
However, keeping a pump operating within a
reasonable range of its BEP lowers overall system
operating costs.

Family of Pump Curves. Manufacturers use a

coverage chart to describe the performance
characteristics of a family of pumps. This type
of chart, shown in Figure 11 on page 38, is
useful in selecting the appropriate pump size for
a particular application. The pump designation
numbers in Figure 11 refer to the pump inlet
size, the pump outlet size, and the impeller size,
respectively. There is significant overlap among
these various pump sizes, which is attributable to
the availability of different impeller sizes within
a particular pump size.

6. Centrifugal Pumps




















Head/flow Curves











Flow (gpm)

Figure 11. Family of Pump Performance Curves

Figure 11. Family of Pump Performance Curves

Pump Curves for Multiple Impeller Sizes.

Once a pump has been selected as roughly
meeting the needs of the system, the specific
performance curve for that pump must be
evaluated. Often, impellers of several different
sizes can be installed with it, and each impeller
has a separate, unique performance curve.
Figure 12 displays performance curves for each
size of impeller. Also illustrated are iso-efficiency
lines, which indicate how efficient the various
impellers are at different flow conditions.
Sizing the impeller and the pump motor is an
iterative process that uses the curves shown in
Figure 12 to determine pump efficiency and
performance over its anticipated operating range.
For more information, see the fact sheet in this
section titled Impeller Trimming.

Net Positive Suction Head

To prevent cavitation, centrifugal pumps must
operate with a certain amount of pressure at the
inlet. This pressure is defined as the net positive
suction head (NPSH). There are two principal
references to NPSH: (1) the available system
pressure (NPSHA) at the inlet, which is a
function of the system and the flow rate, and
(2) the required pressure (NPSHR), which is a
function of the pump and the flow rate. NPSHR
is typically included on pump performance
curves. If the NPSHA is sufficiently above the
NPSHR, then the pump should not cavitate.








Iso-efficiency Lines

Impeller Sizes








Flow (gpm)

Figure 12. Performance Curves for Different Impeller Sizes

Figure 12.

Excessive cavitation affects pump efficiency

and can potentially damage the pump.
As defined by the Hydraulic Institute, NPSHR
is determined and plotted when the pump total
head (or the first-stage head of a multistage
pump) is reduced by 3% as a result of cavitation.
Recently, the Hydraulic Institute has adopted
the term NPSH3 to define the NPSHR qualified
by this criterion. Further information can be
found in ANSI/HI 1.6-2000Centrifugal Tests
(see Section 4). Most pumps can operate
satisfactorily with a minimum margin above
the NPSH3 value when operating near the BEP.
But they will require a much higher NPSH
margin to suppress all cavitation when operated
at flow rates away from the BEP.
For satisfactory operation, the NPSHA margin
over NPSHR must be provided by the system.
A common rule in system design is to ensure
that NPSHA is 25% higher than NPSHR for all
expected flow rates. When oversized pumps
operate in regions far to the right of their design
points, the difference between NPSHA and
NPSHR can become dangerously small.

Pump Speed Selection

Pump speed is usually an important consideration
in system design. The pump speed is perhaps best
determined by evaluating the effectiveness of
similar pumps in other applications. In the absence

Improving Pumping System Performance

6. Centrifugal Pumps

of such experience, pump speed can be estimated

by using a dimensionless pump performance
parameter known as specific speed. Specific
speed can be used in two different references:
impeller specific speed and pump suction specific
speed. The impeller specific speed (Ns) is used
to evaluate a pumps performance using different
impeller sizes and pump speeds.







68% 70%





9 hp




N s


specific speed
pump rotational speed (rpm)
flow rate (gpm)
total head per stage (ft).

For standard impellers, specific speeds range from

500 to 10,000. Pumps with specific speed values
between 2,000 and 3,000 usually have the highest

Example of Pump Selection

The data required to size and source a pump
include system flow demands and the systems
resistance curve. To determine the system curve,
the required data include the system configuration, the total pipe length, the pipe size, and
the number of elbows, tees, fittings, and valves.
A designer can use these dataalong with known
fluid properties and the head available from the
suction sourceto estimate the systems head loss
and its NPSHA at the pump suction.
At this point, the designer must review the
manufacturers data to find pumps that can meet
system requirements. Unfortunately, this process
requires repeated evaluations of many different
pump characteristics, including the BEP, pump
speed, NPSHR, and pump type. Using the
expected system operating range, a designer must
evaluate the family of performance curves, similar
A Sourcebook for Industry




8 hp
7 hp

5 hp

4 hp




2.5 hp


Specific speed is an index that, in mechanical

terms, represents the impeller speed necessary
to generate 1 gallon per minute at 1 foot of head.
The equation for impeller specific speed is as

Ns = n Q
H 3/4

72% 76%




6 hp


Flow (gpm)

Figure 13. Performance Curves for a 4x1.5-6 Pump Used for

Water Service

to that shown in Figure 11, for each pump

manufacturer to identify pumps that meet the
service needs.
The next step is to evaluate the performance
curves of each pump selected. Each pump usually
has a range of performance curves for each
impeller size offered with that pump. In addition
to different stock impeller sizes, an impeller can
be trimmed to further fine tune a pumps
performance (see the Impeller Trimming fact
In Figure 13, a 4x1.5-6 pump is used as an
example. The design point is just below the curve
for the 6-inch impeller. For this particular pump
size, at these operating conditions, the pump
efficiency is 74%, and the 5-hp motor appears
strong enough to meet service requirements. The
pumps BEP is just slightly to the right of the
design point and the NPSHR is 6 ft. If the NPSHA
is more than 7.5 ft, or at least 25% higher than the
NPSHR, the 4x1.5-6 pump should be suitable.

Pump Manufacturers Software

The complexity of pump selection has motivated
most pump manufacturers to develop electronic
selection catalogs. Using specific system requirements, these catalogs help designers identify
pumps capable of meeting the end users service

6. Centrifugal Pumps

Prospective customers enter known system

characteristics such as head, flow, pipe size,
NPSHA, and key fluid properties and the
software generates a list of pumps suitable
for the application.
The software contains performance data on each
of the manufacturers pumps for further analysis.
Pump constraints, such as required pump speed,
can also be used to further refine the list of
candidate pumps. Although system performance
concerns such as head/flow curve sensitivity
and multiple pump configurations still require
sound engineering judgment, the use of a pump
manufacturers software can simplify the pump
selection process.


Improving Pumping System Performance

7. Positive Displacement Pump Applications

Positive Displacement Pump Applications

The term positive displacement refers to the way
in which these pumps pressurize and move fluid.
Positive displacement pumps squeeze fluid by
decreasing the volume that contains it. One type
of positive displacement pump is a piston pump:
every stroke pushes along a certain amount of
fluid. An example of a rotary displacement pump
is a screw pump, which uses two parallel,
overlapping screws to push along a certain volume
with each revolution.

Although positive displacement pumps have
higher maintenance requirements than other
types, they are inherently better suited for certain
applications. These applications include the

High-Pressure/Low-Flow Applications. Positive

displacement pumps are usually more effective
in generating high pressures in low-flow applications. Although centrifugal pumps can be
designed to generate high pressuresusually
through the use of multiple stagesthese
special pumps tend to be comparatively
High-Fluid-Viscosity Applications. Positive
displacement pumps are more effective than
centrifugal pumps in moving viscous fluids.
By directly pressurizing the fluids, positive
displacement pumps lose less energy to the
high shear stresses that are inherent in viscous
Accurately Controlled Flow Applications. Since
each stroke or revolution generates a certain
amount of flow, positive displacement pumps
are typically used in applications requiring
precise flow control. By controlling the number
of pump cycles, positive displacement pumps
are well suited for metered-flow applications.

In addition, many positive displacement pumps

have certain unique characteristics that make them
attractive. For example, positive displacement
pumps are usually self-priming and can operate
A Sourcebook for Industry

Related Tip Sheet

Related information is available in an ITP
BestPractices Tip Sheet titled Pump Selection
Considerations. Tip sheets can be found in
Appendix C, accessed on the Web at
bestpractices, or obtained by contacting the
EERE Information Center at 877-337-3463.

with entrained gases in the suction line. This

feature allows system designers to place these
pumps above the fluid level, which can simplify
the system layout. Centrifugal pumps often require
special system equipment to remove gases and
prime the impeller. Although some centrifugal
pumps are designed to be self-priming, they are
also expensive, less reliable, and less efficient
and gas must still be removed.
Certain positive displacement pumpssuch as
diaphragm and peristaltic typesdo not require
seals and thus do not leak. In systems that handle
corrosive or hazardous fluids, eliminating the
need for seal maintenance can yield substantial
cost savings.

Special Considerations
Positive displacement pumps are usually installed
with pressure relief valves. In fact, in many of
these pumps, relief valves are internal to the
pump. This protection is needed because the
pumps push fluid into the discharge line
irrespective of backpressure. Consequently, if the
system flow becomes completely obstructed
downstream of the pump, fluid pressure builds
until the motor torque reaches an overload
condition or until the piping or other equipment
ruptures. Although relief valves are designed
to protect against such damage, they require
periodic testing and maintenance. A relief valve
that fails to operate properly can cause costly
system damage.

7. Positive Displacement Pump Applications

Positive displacement pumps also typically have

pulsating flow characteristics. In some systems,
these pulsations can create vibration problems,
especially if the pulse rate has a harmonic component that coincides with the natural frequency
of any piping or structure. Flow-induced piping
vibrations create cyclic loading on piping welds
and piping supports; they can also accelerate the
loosening of mechanical joints. These vibrations
can be dampened by using accumulators to absorb
some of the vibrational energy.
Another consideration is the need for storage of
spare parts. Because of the relatively high number
of moving parts associated with many positive
displacement pumps, some facilities have to
maintain a large spare parts inventory. For
example, mating surfaces on the internal valves of
many reciprocating pumps are susceptible to wear
and require periodic replacement. Although these
parts can be obtained from a manufacturer or parts
supplier, plants often prefer to keep common
replacement parts on hand to minimize downtime.
Consequently, using pumps with a large number of
moving parts can increase a plants maintenance
workload and inventory holding costs.


Improving Pumping System Performance

8. Multiple Pump Arrangements

Multiple Pump Arrangements

An alternative to using one pump to serve the
requirements of a system is to use several smaller
pumps in combination (parallel operation).
Wide variations in system demand preclude a
single pump from consistently operating close to
its best efficiency point (BEP). Operating a pump
away from its BEP can result in higher operating
and maintenance costs. In some systems, especially those with high static head requirements,
energizing or de-energizing multiple pumps to
meet demand changes allows each pump to
operate more efficiently, improving overall system
efficiency. However, this efficiency advantage
depends on the pump curves, the system curve,
and the demand change that is being met.
Some of the advantages of multiple pump arrangements are flexibility, redundancy, and the ability to
meet changing flow needs efficiently in systems
with high static head components. In systems with
high-friction components, alternatives such as
adjustable speed motors tend to be more efficient
solutions to variable demand requirements.
Multiple pumps are usually parallel combinations
of the same pump model. Placing an additional
pump on line adds flow to the system and shifts
the operating point to the right along the system
curve (see Figure 14 on page 44).
Parallel pumps are usually identical, to provide
balanced load-sharing when all the pumps are
operating at the same time. Using different-sized
pumps could result in a condition in which the
largest pump dominates the system, forcing other
pumps to operate below their minimum flow
ratings. If different-sized pumps must be configured in parallel, their performance curves should
be carefully reviewed to ensure that no pump
operates below its minimum flow requirement.

Best Efficiency Point

Design characteristics for both performance
and service life are optimized around a capacity
designated as the best efficiency point (BEP).
A Sourcebook for Industry

Related Tip Sheet

Related information is available in an ITP
BestPractices Tip Sheet titled Optimize Parallel
Pumping Systems. Tip sheets can be found in
Appendix C, accessed on the Web at www., or
obtained by contacting the EERE Information
Center at 877-337-3463.

Every centrifugal pump has a BEPthe point at

which its operating efficiency is highest and its
radial bearing loads are lowest. A pumps BEP is a
function of its inlet configuration, impeller design,
casing design, and pump speed. At the BEP, the
hydraulic efficiency is at its maximum, and the
liquid enters the impeller vanes, casing diffuser
(discharge nozzle), or vaned diffuser in a
shockless manner. Flow through the impeller and
diffuser vanes (if the pump is so equipped) is
uniform, free of separation, and well controlled.
The flow remains well controlled within a range
of capacities designated as the preferred
operating region (POR). Within this region, the
service life of the pump will not be affected
significantly by hydraulic loads, vibration, or flow
separation. The allowable operating region
(AOR) defines the precise limits for minimum and
maximum flow in a pump.
Most centrifugal pumps are equipped with roller
or ball bearings. Since the operating life of these
types of bearings is an inverse function of the
cube of the load, selecting a pump with a BEP that
is close to the systems normal operating range
significantly extends the interval between bearing

Advantages of Multiple Pump Arrangements

There are many advantages to using combinations
of smaller pumps rather than a single large one.
These advantages include operating flexibility,
redundancy in case of a pump failure, lower
maintenance requirements, and higher efficiency.

8. Multiple Pump Arrangements

Operating Flexibility. As shown in Figure 14,

using several pumps in parallel broadens the
range of flow that can be delivered to the system.
(Note that Figure 14 is illustrative and does not
represent actual pump curves.) In addition,
energizing and de-energizing pumps keeps the
operating point of each one closer to its BEP
(for systems with flat curves). Operators should
use caution when operating parallel pumps,
however, to ensure that the minimum flow
requirement is met for each pump.



Pump Curves


System Curve


Three Pumps Running


Two Pumps Running

One Pump Running







Flow (gpm)

Figure 14. Multiple Pump Operation

Redundancy. With a multiple pump arrangement,

one pump can be repaired while others continue
to serve the system. Thus, the failure of one unit
does not shut down the entire system.
Maintenance. Multiple pump configurations
allow each pump to be operated close to its BEP
(for systems with flat curves), which reduces
bearing wear and permits the pumps to run more
smoothly. Other benefits include less reliance on
energy-dissipating flow control options such as
bypass lines and throttle valves. The use of a
single, large pump during low-flow demand
conditions forces the excess flow to be throttled
or bypassed. Throttling the flow wears the
throttle valves and creates energy losses. Similarly, bypassing the flow is highly inefficient,
since all the energy used to push the excess flow


through the bypass lines is wasted. Variable

speed drives can also be an efficient solution.

Efficiency. A potential advantage of using multiple

pumps is higher overall efficiency, since each
pump can operate close to its BEP (for systems
with flat curves). Energizing or de-energizing
pumps as needed to meet changes in system
demand allows each pump to operate over a
smaller region of its performance curveideally,
around the BEP. A single pump would have to
operate over a larger range, and thus farther away
from its BEP at times.
At a given head and flow, high-speed pumps
tend to be more efficient than low-speed pumps.
Pumps with specific speed values greater than
3,000 are the exception; they tend to be less
efficient at higher speeds. However, this is not
typical of most pumps. Since smaller pumps
require smaller motors, the use of multiple highspeed pumps can provide an efficiency advantage
over a single, low-speed pump. However, this
efficiency advantage should be balanced against
the tendency of high-speed machines to require
more maintenance.

Other Options
Other system designs that can be used to handle
widely varying operating conditions include pony
pumps, multiple-speed pumps, and variable
frequency drives (VFDs). For more information
on pony pumps, see the fact sheet titled Pony
Pumps. Information on VFDs is found in the fact
sheet in this section titled Controlling Pumps with
Adjustable Speed Drives.
Multiple-speed pumps can be used in similar ways,
in that the fluid power generated can be matched
to the demands of the system. Shifting a pump to
higher or lower speeds moves the entire performance curve up or down, respectively, as shown in
Figure 15. (Note that Figure 15 is illustrative and
does not represent an actual pump curve.)
Although multiple-speed pumps tend to perform
less efficiently at any given operating point than

Improving Pumping System Performance

8. Multiple Pump Arrangements


System Curve

High Speed




Medium Speed


Pump Curves

Low Speed







Flow (gpm)

Figure 15. Multiple-Speed Pump Performance Curves

single-speed pumps do, their ability to operate over

a wide range of conditions is a key advantage.
Multiple-speed pumps are also space-savers; their
compact operating package avoids the additional
piping and valves required for parallel pumps.

A Sourcebook for Industry


8. Multiple Pump Arrangements


Improving Pumping System Performance

9. Pony Pumps

Pony Pumps
Pumping systems have a wide range of flow needs.
In many applications, there is a large difference
between the flow required during normal system
operation and that required during peak load
conditions. For example, some cooling system and
rainwater collection applications require a relatively low flow rate. Occasionally, however, a heavy
storm or a large heat load caused by a sudden
increase in production demand creates a need for
greater pumping capacity.
If pumps are sized to handle a peak flow or worstcase conditions, they could operate at substantially
less efficient levels for long periods during times
of high demand. Oversized pumps in applications
like these tend to waste energy, and they require
frequent maintenance because they operate far
from their best efficiency points.
In applications such as sewage treatment plants,
the normal operating demands on pumps may be
relatively low. During storms, however, the
amount of fluid that must be drained from holding
ponds or tanks increases dramatically. So pumps
that maintain holding pond levels must be able to
handle storm conditions.
To avoid the high friction losses and maintenance
problems that accompany continuous operation or
frequent starts of oversized pumps, a plant can
install smaller ones, called pony pumps, to
handle normal operating conditions. The large
pumps would then be used occasionally only to
handle severe load conditions, providing
considerable cost savings.

When To Consider Pony Pumps

Indicators of a need for a smaller pump to handle
normal operating conditions include the following:

Intermittent pump operation

Excessive flow noise, cavitation, and piping
vibrations that disappear during heavy demand
periods. (If these conditions persist, then the
primary pump may need to be downsized.)

A Sourcebook for Industry

Related Tip Sheet

Related information is available in an ITP
BestPractices Tip Sheet titled Optimize Parallel
Pumping Systems. Tip sheets can be found in
Appendix C, accessed on the Web at www., or
obtained by contacting the EERE Information
Center at 877-337-3463.

Costs of Intermittent Pump Operation

Intermittent pump operation is caused by an
unbalanced set of system flows. For example, a
pumps high flow rate drains the tank or reservoir
to the point where the low-level switch deenergizes or turns off the pump. When the fluid
level in the tank rises and activates the high-level
switch, the pump is re-energized, turning back on
to drain the tank (see Figure 16 on page 48).
Repeatedly stopping and restarting a pump wears
out the motor controllers and dynamic surfaces in
the pump/motor assembly, and it can lead to
unreliable pump operation. This problem is
especially severe for large pumps, because of their
high starting currents. Each repeated closing and
opening of high-voltage contacts also creates a
danger of sparking that can damage the contact
surfaces. In addition, discontinuous loading of the
transformers and switchgear often shortens their
operating lives. Some pump/motor assemblies are
specially designed to handle repeated starting and
stopping. For such applications, this more
expensive type of equipment should be specified.
Many pumps do not respond well to start-ups and
shutdowns. The mechanical seals used in many
pumps rely on a lubricating film of system fluid.
This film requires a revolution or two to develop
and, over time, repeated start-ups accelerate seal
wear. Similarly, bearings that are subjected to
cyclical loading tend to have shorter operating
lives than those in constant-use applications.


9. Pony Pumps

maintenance cost savings. A simple economic

analysis can demonstrate the cost of current power
consumption and maintenance intervals in comparison to the capital cost and projected savings
associated with operating a smaller, more efficient

Tank Inlet Lines

High-Level Switch


Low-Level Switch



Suction Line

Figure 16. Typical Tank Level Control

Costs of High Flow Velocity

An additional penalty for using an oversized
pump is the added friction losses which occur
during pump operation. Higher flow rates create
higher flow velocities which, in turn, lead to
higher friction loss. The relationship between
velocity and friction loss is provided by the
Darcy-Weisbach equation:
hf = f

L V2
D 2g

hf = head loss
f = pipe friction coefficient
V = fluid velocity
g = gravitational constant
D = inner diameter of the pipe
L = length of pipe.

The V2 term shows that pressure loss through a

pipe is proportional to the square of the fluid
velocity. Consequently, given the same size pipe,
a flow rate that is two times higher endures four
times more friction loss. This means that it costs
much more to pump a gallon of fluid at a higherthan-necessary flow rate.

Recovering the Costs of Installing

a Smaller Pump
Installing a smaller pump to run parallel to an
existing one can provide substantial energy and

Energy-saving alternatives to a pony pump include

reducing the impeller size, replacing the existing
pump/motor assembly with a smaller one, and
installing an adjustable speed drive (ASD) on the
pump motor. Depending on the requirements of
the application, impeller adjustments and the
smaller pump/motor assembly could compromise
the capacity of the existing pump during worstcase situations. Although ASDs in general allow a
pump to run at lower capacity, variable frequency
drives (VFDs) are more suitable for varying
demand rather than for continuously low demand.
The VFDs themselves introduce efficiency losses.
If normal operation is far below the full load
rating of the motor for long operating periods, the
cost of these losses can be considerable. A VFD
can also introduce harmonics in the motor windings, which increases the winding temperature.
Over an extended period of time, this increase in
the motor winding temperature accelerates the
breakdown of insulation. For more information on
VFDs, see the fact sheet in this section titled
Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives.
A project undertaken by the city of Milford,
Connecticut, provides a practical example of the
successful use of a pony pump. By adding a pony
pump to the citys Welches Point Sewage Lift
station, Milford realized substantial energy savings
and reduced maintenance costs. This project is
described in a case study, Saving Energy at a
Sewage Lift Station Through Pump System
Modifications, available on DOEs Industrial
Technologies Program BestPractices Web site
motors.html) or from the EERE Information
Center at 877-337-3463.

Improving Pumping System Performance

10. Impeller Trimming

Impeller Trimming
Impeller trimming refers to the process of
machining the diameter of an impeller to reduce
the energy added to the system fluid. Impeller
trimming can be a useful correction to pumps that,
through overly conservative design practices or
changes in system loads, are oversized for their
Trimming an impeller represents a level of correction slightly less effective than buying a smaller
impeller from the pump manufacturer. In many
cases, an impeller at the next smaller size than the
original would be too small for the pump load.
And in some cases, smaller impellers might not be
available for the pump size in the application, so
impeller trimming is the only practical alternative
short of replacing the entire pump/motor assembly.

When To Consider Impeller Trimming

End users should consider trimming an impeller
when any of the following conditions occur:

Many system bypass valves are open,

indicating that excess flow is available
to system equipment
Excessive throttling is needed to control
flow through the system or process
High levels of noise or vibration indicate
excessive flow
A pump is operating far from its design point.

The pump originally

serves at this point
on the system curve.

Pump performance using

the original impeller



Pump performance after

impeller trimming


After trimming,
the pump serves
at this point.

System Curve


Desired Flow






Flow (gpm)

Figure 17. Effect of Impeller Trimming on Pump


A Sourcebook for Industry


Related Tip Sheet

A summary of key issues presented in this
fact sheet is available in an ITP BestPractices
Tip Sheet titled Trim or Replace Impellers on
Oversized Pumps. Tip sheets can be found in
Appendix C, accessed on the Web at www.,
or obtained by contacting the EERE Information
Center at 877-337-3463.
Why Impeller Trimming Works
Impeller trimming reduces tip speed, which in turn
directly reduces the amount of energy imparted to
the system fluid and lowers both the flow and
pressure generated by the pump (see Figure 17;
note that this figure is illustrative and does not
represent an actual pump curve). The affinity laws,
which describe a centrifugal pumps performance,
provide a theoretical relationship between impeller
size and pump output (assuming constant pump
Q2 =

D1 1

[ DD ] H
bhp = [ ] bhp
H2 =


Q = flow
H = head
bhp = brake horsepower of the pump motor
(bhp1 refers to the original pump,
bhp2 to the pump after impeller
D = diameter.
In practice, these relationships are not strictly
accurate because of nonlinearities in flow;
however, the fundamental effect of impeller
trimming on flow, head, and bhp holds. For


10. Impeller Trimming

example, a 2% reduction in the impeller diameter

creates about a 2% reduction in flow, a 4%
reduction in head, and an 8% reduction in power.
This relationship should be used as an approximation for small changes. The final result of
trimming depends on the system curve and pump
performance changes

Benefits of Impeller Trimming

A principal benefit of reducing the size of the
impeller is the resulting decrease in operating and
maintenance costs. Less fluid energy is wasted in
the bypass lines and across throttle valves, or
dissipated as noise and vibrations through the
system. Energy savings are roughly proportional
to the cube of the diameter reduction. This is
shown in the fluid power equation discussed in
Section 1 (page 9):
Fluid power = HQ (s.g.)
The motor power required to generate this fluid
power is higher because of motor and pump

It is available on DOEs Industrial Technologies

Program BestPractices Web site (
gov/industry/bestpractices/motors.html) or through
the EERE Information Center at 877-337-3463.

Trimming an impeller changes its operating
efficiency, and the nonlinearities of the affinity
laws with respect to impeller machining
complicate predictions of a pumps performance.
Consequently, impeller diameters are rarely
reduced below 70% of their original size.
In some pumps, impeller trimming increases the
pumps required net positive suction head
(NPSHR). To prevent cavitation, a centrifugal
pump must operate with a certain amount of
pressure at its inlet, the NPSHR. To reduce the
risk of cavitation, the effect of impeller trimming
on NPSHR should be evaluated using the manufacturers data over the full range of operating
conditions. For more on NPSH, see the fact sheet
in this section titled Centrifugal Pumps.

In addition to energy savings, impeller trimming

also reduces wear on system piping, valves, and
piping supports. Flow-induced piping vibrations
tend to fatigue pipe welds and mechanical joints.
Over time, welds crack and joints loosen, causing
leaks and downtime for repairs.
Excessive fluid energy is also not desirable from a
design perspective. Pipe supports are usually
spaced and sized to withstand static loads from the
weight of the pipe and the fluid, pressure loads
from the internal system pressure, andin
thermally dynamic applicationsexpansion
caused by changes in temperature. The vibrations
created by excessive fluid energy provide a load
that the system is not designed to handle and lead
to leaks, downtime, and additional maintenance.
For a practical example of how impeller trimming
lowers maintenance requirements, see the case
study titled Optimized Pump Systems Save
Coal Preparation Plant Money and Energy.


Improving Pumping System Performance

11. Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives

Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives

Centrifugal pumps are often operated over a wide
range of conditions. For example, many cooling
systems experience variable loads caused by
changes in ambient conditions, occupancy, and
production demands. To accommodate demand
changes, flow can be controlled by any of these
four methods: bypass lines, throttle valves,
multiple pump arrangements (as discussed in the
previous fact sheet), or pump speed adjustments.

Bypass Lines
Bypass lines provide accurate flow control while
avoiding the danger of deadheading a pump.
Deadheading is the condition in which a pumps
flow is completely choked off by closed downstream valves. Unfortunately, bypassing flow is
usually the least energy-efficient flow control
Throttle Valves
Throttle valves provide flow control in two ways:
by increasing the upstream backpressure, which
reduces pump flow, and by directly dissipating fluid
energy. By increasing the backpressure on a pump,
throttle valves make a pumping system less efficient. In low-static-head systems, variable speed
operation allows the pump to run near its best
efficiency point (BEP) for a given head or flow.
Pump Speed Adjustments
Pump speed adjustments are the most efficient
means of controlling pump flow. Reducing the
pump speed means less energy is imparted to the
fluid and less energy needs to be throttled or bypassed. There are two primary ways of reducing
the pump speed: using multiple-speed pump
motors and using adjustable speed drives (ASDs).
Although both directly control the pumps output,
multiple-speed motors and ASDs serve entirely
separate applications.
Multiple-speed motors contain a different set of
windings for each motor speed; consequently, they
are more expensive and less efficient than singlespeed motors. Multiple-speed motors also lack

A Sourcebook for Industry

Related Publications
Related information is available in a EuropumpHydraulic Institute publication, Variable Speed
Pumping: A Guide to Successful Applications,
as well as in two ITP BestPractices Tip Sheets,
Adjustable Speed Pumping Applications and
Control Strategies for Centrifugal Pumps with
Variable Flow Rates. To obtain the pumping
guide, see the Hydraulic Institutes Web site,, or call 973-267-9700.
Tip sheets can be found in Appendix C,
accessed on the Web at
gov/industry/bestpractices, or obtained by
contacting the EERE Information Center at

subtle speed-changing capabilities within discrete

In contrast, ASDs allow pump speed adjustments
to be made over a continuous range, avoiding the
need to jump from speed to speed. ASDs control
pump speeds using several different types of
mechanical and electrical systems. Mechanical
ASDs include hydraulic clutches, fluid couplings,
and adjustable belts and pulleys. Electrical ASDs
include eddy current clutches, wound-rotor motor
controllers, and variable frequency drives (VFDs).
VFDs adjust the electrical frequency of the power
supplied to a motor to change the motors rotational speed. VFDs are by far the most popular
type of ASD.
Pump speed adjustments are not appropriate for
all systems, however. In applications with high
static head, slowing a pump could induce
vibrations and create performance problems that
are similar to those found when a pump operates
against its shutoff head. For systems in which the
static head represents a large portion of the total
head, however, operators should use caution in


11. Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives

Reduced Speed




Head 120

Direction of the Shift as

Speed Decreases



Efficiency (%)























Flow (gpm)

Figure 18. Effects of Reducing Speed on a Pumps

Operating Characteristics

deciding whether to use ASDs. Operators should

review the performance of ASDs in similar
applications and consult ASD manufacturers to
avoid the damage that can result when a pump
operates too slowly against high-static-head

Pump Operating Efficiency Improvements

For many systems, VFDs can help to improve
pump operating efficiency despite changes in
operating conditions. The effect of slowing pump
speed on pump operation is illustrated by the three
curves in Figure 18. When a VFD slows a pump,
its head/flow and brake horsepower (bhp) curves
drop down and to the left, and its efficiency curve
shifts to the left. This efficiency response provides
an essential cost advantage; keeping the operating
efficiency as high as possible across variations in
the systems flow demand can reduce the energy
and maintenance costs of the pump significantly.
VFDs can also be used with positive displacement

often reveals opportunities for reducing operating

costs. For example, in many systems, increasing
flow through bypass lines does not have a
noticeable impact on the backpressure on a pump.
Consequently, in these applications, pump
efficiency does not necessarily decline during
periods of low flow demand. However, analyzing
the entire system allows operators to identify the
energy lost in pushing fluid through bypass lines
and across throttle valves. Figure 19 depicts
energy losses attributable to bypass valve
operation; Figure 20 depicts energy losses
attributable to throttling. (Note that Figures 19
and 20 are illustrative and do not represent actual
pump curves.)
Original System



System Curve with

Open Bypass Line

Fluid Energy Lost to Bypass


Actual Flow


Required Flow



Using a system perspective to identify areas in

which fluid energy is dissipated in nonuseful work





Flow (gpm)

Figure 19. Power Lost through a Bypass Line


Pump Curve




Fluid Energy Lost to Throttling


System Curve
after Throttling


System Operating Efficiency Improvements

VFDs can provide operating cost reductions by
increasing a pumps operating efficiency.
However, the majority of savings derive from the
reduction in frictional or bypass flow losses.


Required Flow

Original System






Flow (gpm)

Figure 20. Fluid Power Lost across a Throttle Valve

Improving Pumping System Performance


11. Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives

One major benefit of VFDs is that they can reduce

energy losses by lowering the overall system flow
or head. By slowing down the pump and reducing
the amount of fluid energy imparted to the system
when it is not needed, VFDs offer substantial
savings with respect to the cost per gallon of
liquid pumped. Another system-related benefit is
that VFDs provide a soft-start capability. During
start-up, most motors experience in-rush currents
that are 5 to 6 times higher than normal operating
currents. This high current fades when the motor
achieves normal speed.
VFDs allow the motor to be started with a lower
start-up currentusually only about 1.5 times the
normal operating current. This reduces wear on
the motor and its controller.

Maintenance Requirements
As added system equipment, VFDs require
maintenance and repairs. However, in many
applications, VFDs lower the maintenance
requirements for the pump, system piping, and
components. The principal factors behind these
maintenance savings are the reduced load on the
pump and the lower static and dynamic fluid
forces imparted to the system.
By reducing a pumps operating speed, a VFD
often shifts the BEP to the left of the BEP
corresponding to the pumps normal operating
speed. In these cases, since the bearing loads on a
pump are lowest when the pump is operating at its
BEP, this shift of the BEP during periods of low
flow allows the pump to operate with lower
bearing loads and less shaft deflection. Most pump
bearings are roller- or ball-type; their design
operating life is a function of the cube of the load.
Consequently, using a VFD can extend the interval
between bearing maintenance tasks.
In addition, VFDs reduce stress on pipes and
piping supports. When the system flow far
exceeds equipment demands, excess fluid energy
is dissipated in the form of noise and vibration.
Vibrations help to loosen mechanical joints and
cause cracks in the welds in pipes and pipe
hangers. By reducing the fluid energy, VFDs
A Sourcebook for Industry

lessen system wear. For more information on

indications of excessive system flow and ways
to correct it, see the fact sheet in this section
titled Indications of Oversized Pumps.

Limitations of VFDs
Although using VFDs can help to reduce
operating and maintenance costs, they are not
appropriate for all applications. As a pumps
speed decreases, it generates less pressure. In
high-static-head applications, the use of VFDs
can slow a pump down so that it operates at or
near shut-off head conditions. The pump thus
experiences the same harsh conditions that the
manufacturer attempts to guard against when
setting a minimum flow rate, which usually
corresponds to the pumps rated speed. The
consequences include greater shaft deflection,
high vibration levels, and high bearing loads.
Power quality can also be a concern. VFDs
operate by rectifying the alternating current (ac)
line power into a direct current (dc) signal, then
inverting and regulating this signal into ac power
that is sent to the motor. Often, the inverter
creates harmonics in the power supplied to the
motor. These harmonics can cause motor
windings to operate at higher temperatures, which
accelerates wear in insulation. To account for the
added winding heat, motors are typically derated
5% to 10% when used with VFDs. A classification of motors known as inverter-duty
has been developed to better match VFDs with
In some electrical systems, the harmonics created by the inverter can be picked up by other
electrical lines that have common connections
with the VFD. Systems that are sensitive to minor
disturbances in power supply should be served
separately from the VFD power supply.
In some applications, VFDs contribute to reduced
bearing life. The interaction between the three
phases of the power supply from a VFD inverter
sometimes induces a small voltage across the
motor bearings. As a result, these bearings can
experience pitting and accelerated wear. VFD


11. Controlling Pumps with Adjustable Speed Drives

manufacturers are familiar with this problem,

and several methods can be used to correct it.
These methods include insulating certain bearings,
grounding the shaft, and conditioning the power
Finally, anticipated energy savings are not realized
in some applications because some of the losses
associated with VFD installation were not taken
into consideration. The VFDs themselves are
approximately 95% to 97% efficient, and motor
efficiency generally begins to decrease at less
than 75% of full load. In addition, the quality of
electric power supplied to the motor can affect
both its efficiency and its power rating.
Although VFDs are an attractive option in many
applications, all these considerations should be
incorporated into a feasibility study before VFDs
are installed.


Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

Section 3: The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

Pumping systems can be critically important to
a plants operations. In many industrial applications, such as power and petrochemical plants,
pumps directly support production processes and
run as often asor even longer thanany other
equipment at the facility. The amount of energy
consumed by many long-running pumping
systems often results in a substantial addition to
a plants annual operating costs. In fact, about
27% of all the energy consumed by motor-driven
equipment in manufacturing facilities is used to
operate pumps.3 Therefore, pumping systems
are a natural target in efforts to reduce energy
consumption in motor-driven systems.

In some cases, pumping system energy is used

quite efficiently; in others, it is not. Facility
operators are often very familiar with the
controllability, reliability, and availability of
pumping system equipment, but they might not
be as aware of system efficiency issuesand
there are good reasons to increase their awareness. For example, there is a strong correlation
between the reliability of pumps and their
efficiency; that is, pumps that operate close to
their best efficiency point tend to perform more
reliably and with greater availability.
There are numerous opportunities to improve
the reliability, performance, and efficiency of
pumping systems in many industrial facilities.
This section discusses three basic steps that can
help in identifying and implementing pumping
system improvement projects:

Conduct a systems assessment

Analyze life-cycle costs before making
a decision
Sell your projects to management.

Conduct a Systems Assessment

A systems assessment reviews the operation of a
pumping system, often using certain tools to help
identify improvement opportunities. Taking a
systems approach can be a very effective way to
perform the assessment. Consequently, DOE seeks
to build industrys awareness of this approach in
many key industrial systems, including pumping.
The Hydraulic Institutes Pump Systems MatterTM
initiative also promotes a systems approach to
pumping system assessments.

A Systems Approach
A systems approach can be effective in assessing
system performance, solving operating problems,
and finding improvement opportunities. In a
systems approach, engineers and operators analyze
both the supply and demand sides of the system
and how they interact, essentially shifting the focus
from the performance of individual components
to that of the system as a whole. In attempting
to correct problems or look for ways to improve
performance, evaluating only the components
rather than the whole system can cause analysts
to overlook potential cost savings.
For example, although a pump might be operating
efficiently, it could be generating more flow than
the system requires. Consequently, it is important
to assess system efficiency based on how well
the end uses are served by the pumps. Reflecting
a systems approach, process system design and
manufacturing best practices will first optimize
the performance of the entire system and then
select the components and control strategies that
best match the new process load.

Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)

DOE studies show that almost two-thirds of the
potential energy savings for motor systems

United States Industrial Electric Motor Systems Market Opportunities Assessment, DOE/GO-102000-959, U.S. Department of Energy,
1998; see

A Sourcebook for Industry


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

involve system optimization. Therefore, DOEs

Industrial Technologies Program has developed
prescreening guidance documents and assisted in
developing a computer-based Pumping System
Assessment Tool (PSAT). It is intended to help
end users, consultants, and equipment distributors
recognize, both qualitatively and quantitatively,
opportunities to improve pumping system
efficiency. PSAT software can be used to estimate
the efficiency of a system based on specific input;
accurate field measurements are required.
For example, the usefulness of the input for
pressure depends on taking an exact reading along
a section of pipe; it also depends on whether the
pressure is measured upstream or downstream
of a throttling valve. Users must therefore
understand their system or process demands
to make reasonable use of PSAT. The software
relies on all of the following:

Fundamental electrical, mechanical,

and fluid power relationships
Typical performance characteristics from
industry standards and databases
Field measurements of fluid and electrical

PSAT estimates the efficiency of an existing motor

and pump using field measurements and nameplate
information. It also estimates achievable efficiencies
if the motor and pump were optimally selected
to meet specified flow and head requirements.
The software then compares the two results and
determines potential power savings. Finally, PSAT
estimates potential cost and energy savings, based
on user-specified utility rates and operating times.

Fundamental Power Relationships. Motor input

power can be measured in the field on low-voltage
(e.g., 480-V) busses. With directly coupled equipment, the motor shaft power and the pump shaft
power are equal, practically speaking. Pump
efficiency is then the ratio of fluid power to shaft
power. So, if the parameters that define fluid power
4 For

(flow rate, head, and fluid specific weight) are

known, pump efficiency can also be determined.

Performance Characteristics of Motors. DOEs

Industrial Technologies Program distributes
MotorMaster+ software4 free of charge. Part
of the underlying supporting structure for
MotorMaster+ is an extensive database of motors.
The database, constructed using data supplied by
motor manufacturers, includes a fairly comprehensive list of parameters such as motor rated
power, efficiency, power factor, speed, full-load
current, enclosure style, NEMA design type, rated
voltage, and price.
After it was filtered to ensure a homogeneous,
representative motor population, this database was
used to develop the algorithms used in PSAT. The
database was first limited to include only 460-V,
NEMA Design B motors, the design type used on
most pumps. Next, the database was sorted and
classed according to rated power and number of
poles, and filtered to exclude inconsistent entries.
The motors were then classified as either standard
or energy efficient, based on the efficiency
standards of NEMA MG 1-2003.5
After the developers categorized the motor
population by size, speed, and efficiency class,
they established average performance
characteristics (current, power factor, and
efficiency versus load). Using these average
values, they created curve fits of the performance
Motor performance can, of course, vary within
a given power, speed, and efficiency class.
But relative to other uncertainties surrounding
pumping system field measurements, variability
in the motor data is relatively small. There are,
however, many interdependencies in motor
performance characteristics. For example,
efficiency and current are functions of motor
size, number of poles (speed), load, and voltage,
among others.

more on the MotorMaster+ software program, see

1-2003, Section II, Part 12, Table 12-11, Full-Load Efficiencies of Energy Efficient Motors.



Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

MotorMaster+ allows motor efficiency to be

estimated based on the motors size, speed, and
either motor input power or current measurements.
If power is measured, PSAT determines the shaft
power and efficiency that is consistent with the
specified motor size and speed. If current is
measured, power is estimated from current versus
load profiles in PSAT. A full set of motor characteristics (shaft power, current, power factor, and
electrical power) can be established, regardless
of whether current or power is measured.
Although the motor characteristics used in PSAT
were derived exclusively from 460-V motors, the
user can select from other nominal voltages, such
as 230, 2300, 4160, and 6900 V. The current data
is linearly adjusted for nominal voltage. The user
also selects from one of three motor efficiency
classes: energy-efficient, standard efficiency, and
average. If the user selects average, PSAT simply
calculates motor performance characteristics based
on the average of the standard efficiency and the
energy-efficient motor values. Most motors
used on pump systems are NEMA Design B.

Performance Characteristics of Pumps. Many

different pump designs can be applied to the broad
spectrum of pumping applications. For certain
applications, such as sewage or stock pumping,
service reliability considerations prevent the use
of more efficient designs that are used in clean
water pumping. For example, the narrow channels
used in some high-efficiency impellers might clog
if used to pump sewage.
The Hydraulic Institute (HI) has published a
standard6 that provides guidance on achievable
efficiencies. The standard addresses the effects
of general pump style, capacity, specific speed,
and variability in achievable efficiency from
miscellaneous other factors such as surface roughness and internal clearances. The HI standard
walks the user through a series of steps, starting
with reading a graph to determine efficiency at an
optimum specific speed for the selected pump
style and flow rate.

PSAT software uses curve fits of the graphical

data included in the HI standard to estimate
achievable efficiency. However, it automatically
completes the three-step series of actions
described earlier.
Based on the input data, PSAT first estimates the
existing shaft power from the motor data measurements. It then calculates fluid power from the
specified flow rate, head, and specific gravity. At
this point, the motor input power, the shaft power,
and the fluid power are known, as are the existing
motor and pump efficiencies. Given the fraction of
time the pump is operated and the electricity cost
rate, PSAT also calculates annual energy use and
energy costs.

Field Measurements of Fluid and Electrical

Parameters. Individual motor input power is not
usually monitored by permanently installed instruments. Individual motor current is sometimes
monitored and displayed at the motor control
center or remotely, but usually only for larger
motors. Motor input power and/or current can be
measured on low-voltage (e.g., 480-V) busses
with portable test equipment.
Generally speaking, the fluid viscosity and specific
gravity are either essentially constant or they can
be readily determined. This determination is made
either by direct measurement or from their relationship to some other easily measured parameter,
such as temperature.
Most pump applications include suction and
discharge connections for pressure measurement
the most important parameters in pump head
calculation. Static head can be readily determined
from system drawings, linear measurements, and/
or pressure/level gauges.
Permanently installed instrumentation is used
to measure the flow rate in some applications,
but it is less commonly available than pressure.
When permanent flow rate instruments are not
available, temporary test devices can be employed.

Hydraulic Institute, ANSI/HI 1.3-2000. For this and other HI standards, see

A Sourcebook for Industry


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

Alternatively, flow rate can be estimated using the

measured differential pressure and pump performance curves. This method of estimating the flow
rate is not the preferred approach, but in some
cases it is the only one available. In many cases,
other sources of data can help corroborate or
refine flow rate estimates. When using pump
performance curves, be sure to measure actual
speed. If it is significantly different from the speed
at which the curve was developed, adjust the
curve using pump affinity laws.

Pumping System Energy Costs

To properly evaluate pumping system projects,
system operating costs must be quantified; these
costs generally include several fixed and variable
components. Of these costs, energy is often the
largest component. Tools such as PSAT can
provide guidance in estimating energy costs and
the potential to reduce them. However, other
methods can be used to help the user estimate the
amount of energy used and the associated cost of
this energy. The following sections describe some
of these alternative methods.
Load Factor
A pumps economics is largely determined by the
amount of time that a pump operates and the
percentage of full capacity at which it operates.
Regardless of how pumping system energy use is
measured at any point in time, this snapshot
data must be translated to a representative
indication of energy use over time. Then, the
pumping systems average load factor can be
estimated. The term load factor refers to the
average percentage of full-load power at which
the pump operates over a period of time.
Load factor = (Actual load x number of operating hours at this load)
(Rated full load x number of operating hours in the period)

Unless operators maintain comprehensive records

or are highly familiar with pump operating data,
however, it might be difficult to determine the
load factor accurately; instead, it might be
necessary to rely on a reasonable estimate. If
the pump is at full load whenever it is operating,
the load factor is just the percentage of time the
pump operates within the time period.


Calculating Electricity Costs

Electricity costs can be determined by several
methods, including any of the following:

The use of motor nameplate data

Direct measurement of motor current

The use of performance curve data.

With any of these methods, the usefulness of the

data is limited by the extent to which it represents
average system operating conditions. In systems
with widely varying operating conditions, taking
data just once will probably not provide a true
indication of pumping system energy consumption.

Nameplate Data. A quick way to determine

energy costs is to use the pump motor nameplate
data. In many applications, the pump/motor
assembly is oversized, which means the motor
operates below its full-load nameplate data.
Estimating the load factor allows the pumps
annual operating costs to be calculated.

Simple Calculation
Annual electricity costs =
(motor full-load brake horsepower [bhp]) x
(0.746 kW/hp) / (motor efficiency) x (annual hours
of operation) x (unit electricity cost) x (load factor)
Use the following data to illustrate this calculation:
Motor full-load brake horsepower = 100 bhp
Annual hours of operation = 8,760 hours
(3-shift, continuous operation)
Unit electricity cost = $0.05/kWh
Load factor = 65%
Motor efficiency = 95%
Annual electricity costs =
(100 hp) x (0.746 kW/hp) x (1/0.95) x (8,760 hours)
x ($0.05/kWh) x 0.65
Annual electricity costs = $22,356

Other data needed include annual hours of

operation (hours/year) and the unit cost of
electricity ($/kWh). The unit cost of electricity is
an average value that includes both consumption
Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

and demand costs. Annual electricity costs can be

calculated by inserting this information into the
equation in the simple calculation shown in the
box on page 58.
This simple calculation assumes that the electric
motor driving the pump is 95% efficient (the 0.95
in the 1/0.95 factor), which is a reasonable
estimate for a pump motor larger than 50 hp.
Newer motors may have even higher efficiencies
because of provisions of the Energy Policy Act
that have been in effect since 1997. If the pump
uses an older motor that has been rewound several
times or has a smaller motor, then a motor
efficiency of 80% to 90% (or the motor nameplate
efficiency rating) should be used. The motors used
on most centrifugal pumps have a 1.15 continuous
service factor. This means that a motor with a
nominal nameplate rating of 100 bhp could, in
fact, be operated continuously up to 115 bhp,
although motor efficiency drops slightly above
the rated load. Using nameplate data to calculate
energy costs for motors that operate above the
rated load will understate the actual costs.

Direct Measurement Method. A more accurate

way to determine electricity consumption requires
taking electrical measurements. Depending on
the availability of instrumentation and measurement access, the direct measurement method
requires reading power (kW) with a wattmeter or
reading amps and volts and calculating kW using
the nameplate power factor.
Wattmeters require two simultaneous inputs
(voltage and current), and many motor installations do not offer convenient access to both.
To calculate electricity consumption, multiply
the measured kW value by the hours of operation
and electricity costs, as shown in the calculation
for Case I in the box on this page titled Direct
Measurement. This calculation is for a motor
with a constant loadi.e., one that does not vary
over time.
If a wattmeter is not available, or if using a
wattmeter is not practical, then amps and volts
can be measured separately. If there is a
possibility that the motor load is less than
A Sourcebook for Industry

Direct Measurement
3-phase motor
0.85 power factor (nameplate)
$0.05/kWh unit electricity cost
Annual hours of operation = 8,760 hours
(3-shift, continuous operation)
Case I. Using a wattmeter
Annual electricity costs =
(wattmeter reading, using a 3-phase setting) x
(annual hours of operation) x (electricity cost in $/kWh)
For example: Wattmeter reading = 77.88 kW
Annual electricity costs =
(77.88 kW) x (8,760 hours) x ($0.05/kWh)
= $34,111
Case II. Using a voltmeter and an ammeter
Annual electricity costs =
[(load amps) x (volts) x (1.732) x
(power factor)/1,000)] x (annual hours of
operation) x (electricity cost in $/kWh)
For example: Average load amp measurement across
all phases = 115 A
Measured voltage = 460 V
Annual electricity costs =
[(115 A) x (460 V) x (1.732) x (0.85)/1,000)]
x (8,760 hours) x ($0.05/kWh) = $34,111

65% of the motors rated capacity, then

calculations using direct measurement of volts
and amps will not provide useful results.
Current is measured by using a clamp-on type
ammeter. The current is measured on each of the
three power cables running to the motor (most
industrial motors are three-phase). At some sites,
the motor controller is a convenient point at
which to take these readings; at other sites, the
connection box on the motor itself is more
accessible. Line voltage is usually measured at
the motor controller and should be measured at
the same time as the current reading; in some


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

facilities, line voltage drops with increases in

power usage. A calculation example is shown in
Case II in the box titled Direct Measurement.
This calculation is also for a motor with a
constant load.
Direct measurement of motor current is not
always practical, however. Hot measurements of
motor current pose safety risks for workers, and
these measurements might not be feasible in an
industrial environment where power connections
are exposed to moisture or contaminants.

Using Pump Curves. Another method of determining a pumps power consumption is to record
the pressure readings associated with the pumps
operation and use its performance curve to
determine the corresponding brake horsepower.
Pump performance curves use total head to
indicate the pump output; consequently, this
method requires pressure instrumentation on the
suction and discharge sides of a pump and
correction for the velocity head.
Once the pressure on the discharge and suction
sides of a pump are known, the engineer can
calculate the total head developed by the pump.
This corresponds to a horsepower reading, as
shown in Figure 21.
To calculate annual energy costs, see the box on
page 61 titled Using a Pump Performance Curve
to Determine Annual Electricity Costs. This
approach might be limited, however, because in
many applications there is no gauge on the suction
side of the pump. Unless a reasonable assumption
of suction pressure is available (for example, the
height of a fluid level in a vented tank that feeds
directly into the pump suction), the total head
developed by the pump cannot be known.
Another potential limitation is the accuracy of
pressure gauges used in many industrial applications. These pressure gauges are usually
not calibrated regularly, so they might not be
sufficiently accurate. In some cases, these gauges
also lack the precision required to determine
power consumption accurately. This is particu-



Performance Curve



Use this line if the total pump

head is known.





Efficiency (%)










Use this line if the

flow rate is known.












Flow (gpm)

Figure 21. Using a Pump Performance Curve to Determine

Power Draw

larly true for pumps that have relatively flat

performance curves, in which a small difference
in head makes a big difference in flow and bhp.
If the system gauge does not have the required
precision, a test gauge should be installed. In
many systems, the pipe fittings used for pressure
gauges have secondary connection ports to
accommodate calibration equipment. These ports
are well suited for a separate test gauge, which
is more accurate than the system gauge.
Using pump curves to estimate a pumps power
consumption can be inaccurate and should be
a last resort, understanding that actual power
consumption may be as much as 20% greater
or 10% less than estimated. Increases in the
clearance in wear rings or other internal
restriction devices and wear of the impeller and
casing can lead to inaccuracies.
Unless the pump was tested in the factory,
standard performance curves represent typical
performance. As a result of normal manufacturing
variations, actual power measurements may be
5% higher or lower.
To use the pump curve, the engineer must convert
the total pressure developed by the pump to a
head value. This conversion requires two key
factors: the density of the system fluid and

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

an estimate of the velocity, or dynamic, head.

Fluid density is typically determined by measuring
the temperature of the fluid and using a table of
properties for that fluid to find the corresponding
The velocity head is more difficult to determine,
because it requires knowing the pump flow rate;
in turn, knowing the flow rate requires knowing
the pump head. However, since velocity head is
typically much smaller than the static head, by
making a reasonable assumption of the fluid
velocity, the engineer can determine the approximate velocity head. For example, in some cooling
systems, to minimize flow noise, a maximum flow
velocity of 10 feet (ft) per second is used as a
design guideline. This flow speed corresponds to
a velocity head of 1.55 ft. The value of the error
associated with this number is probably minor
in comparison to other errors associated with
estimated annual energy consumption.

Using a Pump Performance Curve To

Determine Annual Electricity Costs
Annual electricity costs = (pump bhp)/(motor
efficiency) x (hours in a year) x (unit electricity cost)
x (% of time operating)
Either total pump head or pump flow
rate is known (must be fairly constant
throughout the year)
Motor efficiency = 95%
Percentage of time running = 65%
(operating 65% of the year at the load
Unit electricity cost = $0.05/kWh

For example:
Total head = 155 feet
Pump bhp (reading from the bhp line) = 11 hp
Annual electricity costs = (11 bhp) x
(0.746 kW/hp) x (1/0.95) x (8,760 hrs) x (0.05$/kWh)
x 0.65
Annual electricity costs = $2,459

A Sourcebook for Industry

Alternatively, a pump discharge line that already

has a flowmeter provides an ideal opportunity to
determine the flow rate; the flow rate, in turn, can
be used to determine the pumps operating point
along its performance curve. Also, portable
flowmeters that clamp onto the pipe can be used
to measure flow rate. In general, portable flowmeters work relatively well on systems that have
homogeneous fluids and long straight runs of
pipe. However, the accuracy of these instruments
deteriorates if the fluid contains particulates or
vapor, or if the flow profile is not uniform.

Energy and Demand Charges

Understanding Your Electricity Bill
The calculations shown earlier use simplified
electricity rate approximations stated in terms
of dollars per kilowatt-hour ($/kWh). However,
electric utilities use more complicated rate structures to bill industrial customers. These typically
include both energy ($/kWh) and demand charges
($/kW), and they have different rates depending
on the level of consumption and the time of year.
Demand charges are based on the peak demand for
a given month or season and can have significant
impacts on some customers electricity costs. When
the economic impacts of efficiency measures are
calculated, the marginal cost of the electricity needs
to be considered, taking into account energy and
demand charges, seasonal rates, and different rates
for different levels of consumption.
Maintenance Considerations
An important aspect of any system improvement
is ensuring that its benefits continue well beyond
the payback period. To help prevent the system
from performing poorly again, proper operating
and maintenance practices need to be followed.
A continuous improvement approach can help to
ensure that cost and performance benefits remain
in effect over the long term. An important part of
this approach is increasing operators awareness of
operating costs and the performance implications
of improper operation or maintenance.
Preventive maintenance (PM) is intended to
improve system reliability, reduce the risk of


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

unplanned downtime, and avoid expensive

failures. In general, PM is less costly than repair.
A well-designed PM schedule minimizes the need
for repairs by detecting and resolving a problem
before it develops into something more serious.

Analyze Life-Cycle Costs

Before Making a Decision
In much the same way that a PM schedule
minimizes expensive repairs, a well-designed
system can avoid higher-than-necessary operating
costs. Using a life-cycle cost perspective during
initial system design, or while planning system
upgrades and modifications, can reduce operating
costs and improve system reliability. The
components of life-cycle costs include the cost
of initial equipment, energy consumption,
maintenance, and decommissioning; these are
discussed in more detail later in this section.

The life-cycle costs of pumps are difficult to

summarize because, even among pumps of the
same size, initial costs vary widely. Other costs
such as maintenance and disposal or decommissioningcan be difficult to quantify. Several
industry stakeholders have participated in efforts
to encourage greater consideration of life-cycle
costs in pumping system specification and
operation. For example, the Hydraulic Institute,
a U.S. pump manufacturers trade association, has
developed a life-cycle costing guidebook7 to
increase industry experts awareness of the
A highly efficient pumping system is not merely
a system with an energy-efficient motor. Overall
system efficiency is the key to maximum cost
savings. Often, users are concerned only with
initial costs, and they accept the lowest bid for a
component while ignoring system efficiency. To
achieve optimum pumping system economics,
users should select equipment based on life-cycle
economics and operate and maintain the
equipment for peak performance.


Plant and corporate managers are often bound by a

concern for a companys profits when considering
the investment of capital funds. Decision makers
are usually attuned to activities that translate
directly to the bottom line, such as projects that
increase productivity. Fortunately, many (if not
most) energy efficiency projects provide other
benefits in addition to energy cost savings, such
as the following:

Increased productivity

Lower maintenance costs

Reduced costs of environmental compliance

Lower production costs

Reduced waste disposal costs

Better product quality

Improved capacity utilization

Better reliability

Improved worker safety.

Any potential efficiency improvement project

stands a better chance of being funded if it takes
into account all these costs and benefits over the
projects anticipated lifespan. Understanding all
the components that make up the total cost of
owning and operating a pumping system helps
decision makers more easily recognize opportunities to significantly reduce energy, operating,
and maintenance costs.
Life-cycle cost (LCC) analysis is a management
tool that can help companies realize these opportunities. The analysis takes into consideration the
cost of purchasing, installing, operating,
maintaining, and disposing of all the systems
components. Determining the LCC of a system
involves using a methodology to identify and
quantify all of the components of the LCC
equation. As stated in the Hydraulic Institutes
LCC guidebook, the equation is as follows:
LCC = Cic + Cin + Ce + Co + Cm + Cs + Cenv + Cd

Pump Life Cycle Costs: A Guide to LCC Analysis for Pumping Systems, Europump and Hydraulic Institute, 2001,

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

where C = a cost element, and

ic = initial cost or purchase price (e.g.,
of the pump, system, pipe, auxiliary

in = installation and commissioning

e = energy costs

o = operating costs (the labor costs for
normal system supervision)

m = maintenance costs (e.g., parts,

s = downtime (loss of production)

env = environmental costs

d = decommissioning.
These elements should also include the costs
associated with loans, depreciation, and taxes.
The cost of the energy consumed by pumps is
always a significant factor in pump life-cycle
costs. But many end users are already stretched
thin in carrying out day-to-day facility operations.
They lack the time and resources needed to
perform a methodical engineering study of the
pumps (sometimes hundreds of them) in their
facilities that will show their energy costs as well
as opportunities for savings.
For most facilities, lifetime energy costs or
maintenance costs (or both) dominate life-cycle
costs. It is thus important to determine as
accurately as possible the current cost of energy
and the expected annual escalation in energy
prices over the systems estimated life, along with
expected labor and material costs for maintenance.
Other elements, such as the lifetime costs of
downtime, decommissioning, and environmental
protection (including disposal costs), can often be
estimated using historical data for the facility.
Depending on the process, downtime costs can be
more important than the energy or maintenance
elements of the equation. Careful consideration
should thus be given to productivity losses caused
by downtime.
Pumping systems often have a lifespan of 15 to
20 years. Thus, some costs will be incurred at the
outset and others will be incurred at different
times during the lifetimes of the different solutions
A Sourcebook for Industry

being evaluated. So it is necessary to calculate a

present or discounted value of the LCC to assess
the different solutions accurately. As a result, other
financial factors need to be taken into consideration in developing the LCC. These include the

Discount rate

Interest rate

Expected equipment life (calculation period)

Expected price increases for each LCC factor

over the estimated lifetime of the equipment.

When used as a tool for comparing alternative

solutions, the LCC process will indicate the most
cost-effective one within the limits of available
data. When applying the evaluation process, or
selecting pumps and other equipment, the best
information concerning the output and operation
of the plant must be obtained. Using bad or
imprecise information results in a bad or imprecise
assessment. The LCC process does not guarantee
a particular result, but it does allow plant
personnel to make a reasonable comparison
between several alternatives.
LCC analysis is concerned with assessments in
which the details of the system design are being
reviewed. To make a fair comparison, the plant
designer or manager should consider the unit of
measure used. For example, if two items being
evaluated do not reflect the same volume of
output, it might be appropriate to express them in
terms of cost per unit of output (e.g., $/ton). The
analysis should take into account all significant
differences between the solutions being evaluated.
Finally, the plant designer or manager should
consider maintenance or servicing costs, for
example, when they will be subcontracted or when
spare parts will be provided with the initial supply
of equipment. Everything should be considered on
a comparable basis. In other words, if the plant
designer or manager decides to subcontract
maintenance or inventory spare parts strictly for
the sake of convenience, this criterion must be
used for all the systems assessed. However, if
maintenance of a particular component can be
carried out only by a subcontracted specialist, or


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

certain spare parts must be inventoried to prevent

downtime, then it is acceptable to include the cost
of these measures by themselves.
For additional information on life-cycle cost analysis for pumping systems, refer to the Hydraulic
Institutes Pump Life Cycle Costs: A Guide to LCC
Analysis for Pumping Systems. This guide also
provides substantial technical guidance on designing new pumping systems as well as assessing
improvements to existing systems. It includes
examples of manual calculations of LCC and a
software tool to assist in LCC calculation. The
guide and accompanying LCC calculation tool are
available through the Hydraulic Institutes Web
site (

Sell Your Projects to Management

Often, industrial facility managers must convince
upper management that an investment in pumping
system efficiency is worth making. Communicating this message can be more difficult than the
actual engineering behind the concept, however. A
corporate audience usually responds more readily
to dollars-and-cents impacts than to a discussion
of best efficiency points. By adopting a financial
approach, the facility manager can relate pumping
system performance and efficiency to corporate
goals. Finance personnel can help facility managers
create the kind of proposal that can win over the
corporate officers who make the final decision on
capital investments in pumping system upgrades.
Before providing some recommendations to justify
pumping system improvement projects, it is useful
to gain some insight into corporate priorities.

Understanding Corporate Priorities

Corporate officers are accountable to a chief
executive, a board of directors, and an owner (or
shareholders, if the firm is publicly held). These
officers must create and grow the equity value of
the firm. The corporations industrial facilities do
so by generating revenue that exceeds the cost of
owning and operating the facility. Plant equipmentincluding pumping system components
are assets that must generate an economic return.

Dividing the annual earnings attributable to the

sale of goods produced by these assets by the
value of the assets themselves yields the rate of
return on assets. This is a key measure for which
corporate decision makers are held accountable.
Finance officers seek investments that are most apt
to demonstrate a favorable return on assets. When
faced with multiple investment opportunities,
these officers will favor options that lead to the
largest and fastest returns.
This corporate attitude can impose (sometimes
unwanted) priorities on the facility manager:
assure reliability in production, avoid surprises by
sticking with familiar technologies and practices,
and contribute to immediate cost control by, for
example, cutting a few corners in maintenance
and upkeep. These priorities might lead industrial
decision makers to conclude that pumping system
efficiency is a luxury that they cannot afford.
Fortunately, the story does not end here. The
following discussion describes the ways that
industrial pumping system efficiency can save
money and contribute to corporate goals while
effectively reducing energy consumption. Facility
managers can use these facts to form a persuasive
case for corporate support of pumping system
Many organizations consider only the initial
purchase and installation costs of a system.
However, plant designers and managers will
benefit from evaluating the LCC of different
solutions before installing major new equipment
or carrying out a major overhaul, to identify the
most financially attractive alternative. As national
and global markets continue to become more
competitive, organizations continually seek cost
savings to improve the profitability of their
operations. Plant operations can be a significant
source of savings, especially because energyefficient equipment can minimize energy
consumption and plant downtime.
For new pumping system procurements, note
that new piping system design technology uses

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

numerical optimization techniques, which provide

a practical way to treat the pipe system as a
variable at the design stage. A well-designed
system will last longer than other types, and this
should be taken into account in an LCC analysis.
The LCC analysis is also a valuable tool to use
when comparing alternative retrofit designs for
existing pumping systems. Opportunities for
upgrading existing systems can be found in the
inefficiencies that develop over timesuch as
changing system requirements, routine wear and
tear, and poorly optimized controls. Furthermore,
the installed base of pumping systems exceeds the
number of new pumps built each year by a factor
of about 20.

Measuring the Dollar Impact of Pumping

System Efficiency
Pumping system efficiency and performance
improvement projects can move to the top of the
list of corporate priorities if proposals respond to
corporate needs. Corporate challenges are many
and varied, and this in turn opens up more
opportunities to sell pumping system efficiency
as a solution. Many pumping system opportunities
for improvement are discussed in this sourcebook.
Once selections are made, the task becomes one of
communicating the proposals in corporate
(dollars-and-cents) language.
The first step is to identify and evaluate the total
dollar impact of a pumping system efficiency
measure. One proven way to do this is through
an LCC analysis, as discussed earlier. The result
a net gain or loss on balancecan be compared
with other investment options or with the
anticipated outcome of doing nothing.

Presenting the Finances of Pumping

System Improvements
As with any corporate investment, there are many
ways to measure the financial impact of a
pumping system investment. Some methods are
more complex than others, and presenters might
want to use several of them side by side. That
choice will depend on the sophistication of the
presenter and the audience.
A Sourcebook for Industry

A simple (and widely used) measure of project

economics is the payback period. This is the
period of time required for a project to break
even in terms of coststhe time needed for the
net benefits of an investment to accrue to the point
where they equal the cost of the initial outlay. For
a project that returns benefits in consistent, annual
increments, the simple payback equals the initial
investment divided by the annual benefit.
The simple payback does not take into account the
time value of money; in other words, it makes no
distinction between a dollar earned today and a
dollar of future (and thus uncertain) earnings. Still,
the measure is easy to use and understand, and
many companies use simple payback in making a
quick go/no-go decision on a project. Here are
five important factors to remember when calcu
lating a simple payback:

It is an approximation, not an exact economic


All benefits are measured without considering

their timing

All economic consequences beyond the payback

are ignored

Payback calculations will not always identify

the best solution (because of the two factors
listed before this one) among several project

Paybacks do not take into consideration the

time value of money or tax consequences.

More sophisticated analyses take into account

factors such as discount rates, tax impacts, and the
cost of capital. One approach involves calculating
the net present value of a project, which is defined
in this equation:
Net present value = present worth of benefits

present worth of costs.
Another commonly used calculation for determining the economic feasibility of a project is internal
rate of return. This is defined as the discount rate
that equates future net benefits (cash) to an initial
investment outlay. This discount rate can be


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

compared to the interest rate at which a corporation borrows capital.

Many companies set a threshold (or hurdle)
rate for projects, which is the minimum required
internal rate of return needed for a project to be
considered viable. Future benefits are discounted
at the threshold rate, and the net present worth
of the project must be positive in order for the
project to be a go.

Relating Pumping System Efficiency

to Corporate Priorities
Saving money in itself should be a strong incentive for implementing a pumping system project.
Still, that may not be enough for some corporate
decision makers. The facility managers case can
be strengthened by relating a positive life-cycle
cost outcome to specific corporate needs. Some
suggestions for interpreting the benefits of energy
cost savings include the following (finance staff
can suggest which of these approaches are best,
given the current corporate climate):
A new source of permanent capital. Reduced
energy expendituresthe direct benefit of pumping system efficiencycan be thought of as a new
source of capital to the corporation. The investment that makes this efficiency possible will yield
annual savings each year over the economic life of
the improved pumping system. Regardless of how
the investment is financedborrowing, retained
earnings, or third-party financingthe annual
savings will be a continuing source of funds.
Added shareholder value. Publicly held corporations usually embrace opportunities to enhance
shareholder value. Pumping system efficiency can
be an effective way to capture new value. Shareholder value is the product of two variables:
annual earnings and the price-to-earnings (P/E)
ratio. The P/E ratio describes the corporations
stock value as the current stock price divided by
the most recent annual earnings per share. To take
advantage of this measure, a pumping system
efficiency proposal should first identify annual
savings (or rather, addition to earnings) that the

proposal will generate. Multiplying that earnings

increment by the P/E ratio yields the total new
shareholder value attributable to the pumping
system efficiency improvement.

Improved reliability and capacity utilization.

Another benefit of a pumping system improvement project is the more productive use of
pumping system assets. The efforts required to
achieve and maintain energy efficiency will
largely contribute to operating efficiency. By
improving pumping system performance, the
facility manager can improve the reliability of
plant operations. The flip side, from the corporate
perspective, is a greater rate of return on assets
employed in the plant.
Call to Action
A proposal for a pumping system improvement
project can be made attractive to corporate
decision makers if the facility manager does
the following:

Identifies opportunities for improving pumping

system efficiency
Determines the life-cycle cost of attaining
each option
Identifies the option(s) with the greatest net
Collaborates with financial staff to identify
current corporate priorities (for example, added
shareholder value and improved capacity
Generates a proposal that demonstrates how the
pumping system projects benefits will directly
respond to current corporate needs.

Developing successful energy projects begins with

laying the groundwork to support the project.
Ideally, it starts with a facility reward program that
has a system for pursuing cost savings projects and
compensates employees for their efforts. However,
most of the time the groundwork is done by a
motivated individual who takes pride in the job
and is inspired by what other facilities have done.
To overcome the obstacles often encountered and

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

enhance the chances for success, the following

pre-presentation tasks are recommended.

1. Get support from a key member of

management before pursuing energy projects.
The most successful facility energy evaluations
and projects begin with a commitment from
management to invest resources in pursuing
financial gains through energy efficiency improvements. Without managements commitment, great
energy-saving projects can sit on the shelf for
years. It might seem obvious that some projects
should be pursued immediately, but without
support or recognition from management, the
extra work and added responsibility may not be
worth it to some individuals.
Support from management should also include
defining an acceptable cost/benefit ratio and
identifying project funding sources. Ultimately,
financial parameters for evaluating larger projects
using LCC analyses should also be included.

2. Obtain input from key department personnel

before proposing a project to management.
Discussing projects with key maintenance or
operations staff provides insight into issues that
can be resolved early. Solutions usually involve
accommodating concerns or including features
that will help solve existing problems. Case
studies can be used to show staff how similar
projects were successfully implemented and to
help them reach the level of comfort needed to
accept new technology or even to enthusiastically
support the project.
3. Begin with simple projects to increase your
chances of success. Confidence in the success of
cost-saving projects can be built by implementing
small, low-tech projects that show measurable
savings. One of managements greatest fears is
approving an expensive energy-savings project
that does not deliver the projected savings. This
is especially important when considering new
technologies. Facility managers who start with
small, energy-saving projects with measurable
results often find that future cost-saving projects
are approved quickly.

A Sourcebook for Industry

4. Obtain outside support to validate your

recommendation. In many cases, facility
managers who have identified attractive cost
savings opportunities find that they need thirdparty input to validate a project for management
or to fill in missing details. Sources include
consultants, other end users, and technical
resources that are often available through electric
utility programs and equipment suppliers. The
section on resources and tools in this sourcebook
can be helpful in guiding the end user to these
sources of assistance.
Often, a local utility can help determine what
potential financial incentives might be available to
improve the cost-effectiveness of a project. DOE
BestPractices softwaresuch as MotorMaster+
and the PSATcan also support savings

5. Present your project. Projects can be presented

as stand-alone efforts or as part of a comprehensive energy project with multiple recommendations
developed from a facility energy study. Ultimately,
each project should be presented on a one- or twopage project profile that is sometimes called an
energy conservation measure, or ECM.
Projects can also be identified as operational
measures when minimal investment is required, or
energy supply measures when cogeneration or rate
schedule changes are pursued. The project profile
typically includes a brief description of the
project, implementation steps, and a project cost
and savings summary. It is also important to
include more in-depth calculations, equipment
cut sheets, and cost spreadsheets, or to make
them available.
These steps are a sample of what can be done to
successfully obtain approval for a project. To fully
develop a project, additional data collection,
financial analysis, development of a performance
contract request for proposals, and savings
monitoring and verification may also be needed.


Section 3. The Economics of Improving Pumping Systems

In summary, increasing the awareness of all

facility personnel about the benefits of improved
pumping system efficiency and performance is
an important step in increasing the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries.


Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

Section 4: Where To Find Help

This section lists resources that can help end users
improve the performance of pumping systems
cost-effectively. Various programs involved in the
pump marketplace are described, including these:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) and
its BestPractices activities; this national effort
is aimed at improving the performance of
industrial energy use, particularly in steam,
compressed air, pumping, and process heating
The Hydraulic Institute (HI), a trade association
for manufacturers of pumps and suppliers to the
pump industry; Pump Systems MatterTM, HIs
educational and market transformation initiative,
addresses energy optimization and the total cost
of pump ownership

Associations and other organizations involved

in the pumping system marketplace.

This section also provides information on books

and reports, other publications, government
and commercial statistics and market forecasts,
software, training courses, and other sources of
information. This information is intended to help
end users make informed equipment purchase and
system design decisions regarding pumping
The information in this section is current as of the
publication date of this sourcebook. Please check
the ITP BestPractices Web site (
gov/industry/bestpractices) for updates and for the
latest versions of DOE publications, software, and
other materials referenced here. (Note that DOE
cannot guarantee the currency of information
produced by other organizations.)

A Sourcebook for Industry

DOE Industrial Technologies

Program and BestPractices
Industrial manufacturing consumes 36% of all
the energy used in the United States. Therefore,
the DOE Industrial Technologies Program was
established to assist industry in achieving significant energy and process efficiency improvements.
ITP develops and delivers advanced energy
efficiency, renewable energy, and pollutionprevention technologies and practices for many
industrial applications. The program works with
the nations most energy- and resource-intensive
industries to develop a vision of their future and
roadmaps on how to achieve these visions over
a 20-year timeframe.
This collaborative process aligns industry goals
with federal resources to accelerate research and
development (R&D) of advanced technologies that
industry has identified as priorities. The advancement of efficient technologies is complemented
by ITP energy management best practices for
immediate savings results. ITP BestPractices helps
industries identify and realize their best energy
efficiency and pollution-prevention options from
a system and life-cycle cost perspective.
In particular, ITP BestPractices offers several
resources for pumping system energy management. These resources complement technology
development programs that address motor, fan,
compressed air, process heat, combined heat and
power, and steam systems, in addition to the
activities of the Industrial Assessment Centers and
financing assistance efforts. Collectively, these
efforts assist industry in adopting near- and longterm energy-efficient practices and technologies.
Through activities such as plant-wide energy
assessments, implementation of emerging
technologies, and energy management of industrial


Section 4. Where To Find Help

systems, ITP BestPractices delivers energy solutions

for industry that result in significant energy and
cost savings, waste reduction, pollution prevention,
and enhanced environmental performance.

Plant Assessments
Depending on the industry, energy costs can be
10% or more of a plants total operating costs.
Energy assessments identify opportunities for
implementing new technologies and system
improvements. Many recommendations from
energy assessments have payback periods of less
than 18 months and can result in significant energy
Plant-wide assessments help manufacturers develop
comprehensive plant strategies to increase efficiency,
reduce emissions, and boost productivity. Annual
competitive solicitations offer matching funds. In
addition, small- to medium-sized manufacturers can
qualify for free assessments from the university-based
Industrial Assessment Centers.

Emerging Technologies
Emerging technologies are those that result from
R&D and are ready for full-scale demonstration in
actual applications. ITP recognizes that companies
may be reluctant to invest capital in new technologies, even though they can provide significant
energy savings and process improvements.
However, through technology implementation
solicitations, ITP helps to mitigate the risk
associated with using new technologies that are
supported by industry partnerships. Shared
implementation and third-party validation and
verification of performance data allow energy,
economic, and environmental benefits to be
assessed so that new technologies can be accepted
more rapidly.
Energy Management
ITP encourages manufacturers to adopt a comprehensive approach to energy use that includes
assessing industrial systems and evaluating
potential improvement opportunities. Efficiency
gains in compressed air, motor, process heating,
pumping, and steam systems can be significant,
and they usually result in immediate energy and

cost savings. ITP offers software tools and training

in a variety of system areas to help industry
become more energy- and process-efficient while
reducing waste and improving environmental

Allied Partnerships
Allied Partners are manufacturers, associations,
industrial service and equipment providers,
utilities, and other organizations that work
voluntarily with ITP. Allied Partners seek to
increase energy efficiency and productivity for
industries that participate in endorsing and
promoting ITP programs, products, and services.
Allied Partnerships help ITP achieve the programs
industrial energy efficiency goals by extending
delivery channels through the partners existing
networks. In turn, the partners benefit by achieving
their own corporate, institutional, or plant goals
and objectives and by expanding services to
customers and suppliers. Allied Partners also gain
access to such technical resources as software,
technical publications, and training, and they can
gain recognition as leaders in implementing
energy-efficient technologies and practices. For
more on Allied Partnerships, contact the EERE
Information Center at 877-337-3463.

Technical Resources
ITP offers a variety of resources to help industry
increase energy and process efficiency, improve
productivity, and enhance competitiveness.
EERE Information Center. The EERE Information Center fields questions on EERE products
and services, including those focused on industrial
energy efficiency. Staff can also answer questions
about such industrial systems as compressed air,
motors, process heating, and steam. The EERE
Information Center can be the first stop in finding
out whats available from EERE and ITP. Contact
the EERE Information Center at 877-337-3463 or
ITP and ITP BestPractices Web Sites. The ITP
and ITP BestPractices Web pages offer a large
array of information, products, and resources
Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

to assist manufacturers who are interested in

increasing the efficiency of their industrial
operations. You can learn about upcoming events,
solicitations, and much more by visiting the
ITP site at The
BestPractices site provides case studies of
companies that have successfully implemented
energy-efficient technologies and practices,
software tools, tip sheets, training events, and
solicitations for plant assessments. You can view
these and other resources at

selection and management software tool; it

includes a catalog of more than 20,000 ac
motors. The software also features motor
inventory management tools, maintenance log
tracking, efficiency analysis, savings evaluation,
energy accounting, and environmental reporting

Industrial Energy Savers Web Site. Manufacturers will find a number of resources on this site
to implement industrial energy efficiency projects
and see immediate savings. See

Training sessions in industrial system improvements using DOE software tools are offered
periodically through Allied Partners. A particularly
useful training session involves the Pumping
System Assessment Tool (PSAT). See the
discussion on the PSAT tool in Appendix B. More
information on PSAT training and other training
offerings can be found on the BestPractices Web

Software Tools
ITP and its partners have developed several
software tools to help plant managers make good
decisions about implementing efficient practices in
their manufacturing facilities.

AirMaster+ is a software tool developed by

EERE BestPractices and jointly sponsored by
the Compressed Air ChallengeTM. AIRMaster+
helps end users assess the potential for
efficiency and productivity improvements in
compressed air systems without bias to any
particular technology, organization, or product.
The software allows users to run a number of
what-if scenarios to determine which energy
efficiency measures have the greatest savings
potential for their facility.
MotorMaster+ is an energy-efficient motor
A Sourcebook for Industry

MotorMaster+ International includes many of

the capabilities and features of MotorMaster+
but allows users to evaluate repair/replacement
options on a broader range of motors. The user
can conduct analyses in different currencies,
calculate efficiency benefits for various utility
rate schedules with demand charges, edit and
modify motor rewind efficiency loss defaults,
and determine best available motors. This
tool can be operated in English, Spanish, and
The Pumping System Assessment Tool
(PSAT) helps industrial users assess the
efficiency of pumping system operations. PSAT
uses achievable pump performance data from
Hydraulic Institute standards as well as motor
performance data from the MotorMaster+
database to calculate potential savings in
energy and associated costs.
The Steam System Scoping Tool is designed
to help steam system energy managers and
operations personnel for large industrial plants.
This spreadsheet program will profile and grade
steam system operations and management.
It will help you evaluate your steam system
operations against identified best practices.
The Steam System Assessment Tool (SSAT)
uses a graphical model of a generic steam
system for up to three steam pressure headers
(high, medium, and low). You can enter data
for your own plant conditions, including fuel
type and cost, electricity, water costs, initial
boiler efficiency, header pressures, and turbine
3E-Plus Insulation Appraisal Software.
Because insulation is used in many process
heating systems and almost all steam systems,
restoration, replacement, and/or installation of
missing insulation are common improvement


Section 4. Where To Find Help

opportunities. A lack of awareness regarding

energy losses and associated costs often means
assigning a low priority to restoring or properly
installing insulation on system surfaces. As a
result, a software program known as 3E-Plus
was developed by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) to
inform system operations and management
personnel of the benefits of insulation and to
assist them in assessing insulation needs.

Qualified Specialists
Qualified Specialists have extensive backgrounds
in optimizing systems that are being assessed.
Individuals become qualified by taking DOEsponsored training on the software and passing a
rigorous exam. For more information on how to
contact a Qualified Specialist or become one, see

The Industrial Technologies Program E-Bulletin
is a monthly online newsletter that spotlights
technologies, significant project developments,
and program activities; new ITP products;
training and events; Web updates; and new
solicitations. The E-Bulletin provides readers
with links to source information on ITP and IAC
Web sites. To subscribe, go to

Energy Matters is a quarterly online publication

written by the Industrial Technologies Program.
It contains news, articles, technical tips, and
case studies of interest to industrial end users.
Energy Matters articles cover energy efficiency
opportunities, technical issues, new products and
services, and events related to process heating
systems and other industrial utilities, such as

Pump-Specific Resources
Software: The Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)
software helps industrial users assess the efficiency of
pumping system operations. PSAT uses achievable pump
performance data from Hydraulic Institute standards as well
as motor performance data from the MotorMaster+ database
to calculate potential energy and associated cost savings.
For more information on PSAT, see Appendix B.
Training: Pumping System Assessment. This one-day
training session provides an in-depth discussion of energy
efficiency factors for pumping systems, emphasizing the
system as a whole rather than just components. Indicators
and symptoms of potential energy reduction opportunities are
discussed. Application and use of the PSAT software is also
covered. This training was developed to introduce users to
the software (a CD with the PSAT software is provided) and to
provide guidance on field measurement considerations. For
more on the PSAT, see Appendix B.
Qualified Pump System Specialist Training. This twoday training session covers the energy efficiency factors
addressed in the one-day Pumping System Assessment
training session and provides case studies and additional
instruction on the use of the PSAT software. It concludes with
a written exam, and those successfully completing the exam
are recognized as Qualified Pump System Specialists.


Tip Sheets: To increase industrys awareness about

the wealth of opportunities that exist to improve many
different kinds of industrial systems, the Industrial
Technologies Program develops Pumping Tip Sheets
through its BestPractices activity.
Tip sheets currently available:
1. Conduct an In-Plant Pumping System Survey
2. Pump Selection Considerations
3. Select an Energy-Efficient Centrifugal Pump
4. Test for Pumping System Efficiency
5. Maintain Pumping Systems Effectively
6. Match Pumps to System Requirements
9. Reduce Pumping Costs Through Optimum Pipe Sizing
Tip sheets in development:
7. Trim or Replace Impellers on Oversized Pumps
8. Optimize Parallel Pumping Systems
10. Reduce Energy Losses Across Control Valves
11. Adjustable Speed Pumping Applications
12. Control Strategies for Centrifugal Pumps with
Variable Flow Rates
Tip sheets contain concise descriptions of common
opportunities for improving industrial energy and process
efficiency. To access the tip sheets, including the newest
ones, see

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

motor, steam, and compressed air systems.

To subscribe online, go to
industry/bestpractices/energy_matters.html, and
click on subscribe today.

Steaming Ahead is a bimonthly e-mail newsletter published by the Alliance to Save Energy,
which coordinates BestPractices Steam outreach and promotion. The newsletter describes
the activities and information products of the
BestPractices Steam effort, and it promotes bestin-class practices and technology applications
in steam system design and management.
Additional information on Steaming Ahead
can be found at

Hydraulic Institute
The Hydraulic Institute (HI) is the largest
association of pump producers and suppliers in
North America. The Institutes vision is to be a
global authority on pumps and pumping systems.
Its mission is to be a value-adding resource to
member companies and pump users worldwide by

Developing and delivering comprehensive

industry standards
Expanding knowledge by providing education
and tools for the effective application, testing,
installation, operation, and maintenance of
pumps and pumping systems
Serving as a forum for the exchange of industry

HI develops and publishes pump standards and is
certified by the American National Standards
Institute (ANSI). Currently, 25 different standards
are in print, covering centrifugal, vertical, rotary,
reciprocating, and air-operated pumps. Additional
ones in development include new standards for
viscosity correction, slurry pumps, and controlled
volume metering pumps. ANSI/HI pump test
standards are also referenced in other pump
standards, such as ANSI B-73, API 610, and ISO
13709. More than 80% of pump tests performed in
the United States are conducted in accordance with
HI pump test standards.

A Sourcebook for Industry

HI maintains the secretariat for the International

Standards Organization (ISO)/TC-115 U.S. Technical Advisory Group and votes on behalf of U.S.
pump manufacturers on ISO pump standards. HI is
also the secretariat to ISO/TC-115 Subcommittee
3(SC3) and thus plays an influential role in the
development of international pump standards.

HI programs include many educational opportu
nities for members. Suppliers to the pump industry,
eligible to join as associate members, make
technical presentations on pump systems and the
use of a variety of products, including seals,
couplings, drivers, housing, controls and
instrumentation, and pump-specific software.
Systems integrators are also eligible to join HI.
In cooperation with DOE, HI developed a videobased education program titled Energy Reduction
in Pumps and Pumping Systems. HIs e-learning
portal,, includes the
Institutes first online course: Centrifugal Pumps:
Fundamentals, Design and Applications. HI
welcomes ideas and outlines for future courses and
seeks relationships with other organizations
interested in offering or funding future course
development under a sponsorship arrangement.

HI conducts a comprehensive statistics program
exclusively for U.S. pump manufacturers who are
members. Up to nine different surveys are
published that track monthly bookings, quarterly
shipments by product and market, quarterly rebuild
and overhaul, semiannual market reports of export
bookings by geographic region and market, and
annual shipments by discharge size (exclusively
for HI members). HI has developed a load
factoring program for estimating, on a monthly
and quarterly basis, pump bookings and shipments
for the entire U.S. industry. Two human resources
surveys and one operating ratio survey are
conducted annually. Working closely with the
Bureau of the Census in the U.S. Department of
Commerce, HI has been instrumental in refining
the Pumps and Compressors Current Industrial
Report (MA333P) to better serve the needs of
the industry.

Section 4. Where To Find Help

Mutual Cooperation
HI and Europump, a federation of 15 national
European pump associations, have a mutual
cooperation agreement for exchanging delegates
at annual meetings, cooperating on technical
documents and standards, and working toward the
harmonization of pump industry data worldwide.
Several publications, including life-cycle costing
and variable speed pumping guidebooks, have
been produced under this agreement. HI membership is also represented on technical matters in
other U.S. trade associations, including the
National Electrical Manufacturers Association
(NEMA), the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the
American Water Works Association, the American
Society for Testing and Materials, the American
Boiler Manufacturers Association, the Fluid
Sealing Association, and the Submersible
Wastewater Pump Association.
HI became a DOE Allied Partner on May 1, 2000,
and had been a Charter Partner of the Motor
Challenge program with DOE for many years.
In 2002, HI endorsed the NEMA Premium motor
efficiency program. HI also works with DOE to
provide Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)

Pump Systems Matter

HI initiatives that benefit pump users include the
educational outreach described above and a new
national pump systems education initiative, Pump
Systems Matter (PSM), to advance the concepts
of life-cycle cost, energy savings, and optimized
pump system performance. HI works with DOE
and many other organizations to develop
educational tools and training, certification
programs, and outreach. PSM seeks to provide
North American pump users with a more
competitive business advantage through strategic,
broad-based energy management and pump system
performance optimization. Details on PSM can be
found at


Publications and Standards

The Institute offers for sale an extensive collection
of pump standards, guidebooks, the HI Engineering Data Book, and other publications of interest
to users, contractors, and pump manufacturers
worldwide; these represent nearly 2,000 pages of
pump knowledge. Standards are available in hard
copy, CD-ROM, downloadable PDF, or Web-based
subscription formats. To order, visit the HI Web
site,, which includes a free Master
Index to standards and a downloadable brochure.
Orders may also be faxed to the publications
department at 973-267-9055 or requested via
e-mail at
HI regularly updates published ANSI/HI pump
standards for centrifugal, vertical, rotary, and
reciprocating pumps. The HI Engineering Data
Book is essential for those dealing with pumps and
fluid-handling characteristics.
Educational products include Energy Reduction in
Pumps and Pumping Systems, an eight-hour-long
video education program produced with DOE that
includes three student workbooks, answer books,
and an instructors manual for use by individuals
or in a classroom setting. Launched in 2003,
Centrifugal Pumps: Fundamentals, Design and
Applications is available at www.pumplearning.
org. Other courses are planned as resources
become available.
HI and Europump developed two comprehensive
users guides, titled Pump Life Cycle Costs: A
Guide to LCC Analysis of Pumps and Pumping
Systems, and Variable Speed Pumping: A Guide to
Successful Applications. These guidebooks,
available at, are valuable aids in
the selection and procurement of pumps for
different applications. They are available through
HI; for downloadable executive summaries, visit or

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

Web Sites
The HI Web site,, is a valuable
resource for both pump users and manufacturers.
This Web site includes information on HI, its
activities, and its publications, as well as a variety
of resources on pumping system design and
selection, energy savings, and other topics. The HI
Supplier Finder feature allows users to quickly
locate pump manufacturers and leading suppliers
in several different ways. Pump definitions and
terminology, pump family trees, and numerous
other resources are available on this popular site.
HIs e-learning site,, is a
valuable resource for those who design, specify, or
apply centrifugal and vertical pumps. And its first
online course, Centrifugal Pumps: Fundamentals,
Design and Application, is available on the Web
and on a CD-ROM. HI is seeking sponsors for
other, similar online learning courses, as the Institute
continues to build a curriculum of e-learning
programs for members and other pump users.

Directory of Contacts
This section provides a list of associations and
other organizations involved in the pump system
marketplace. The following organizations can
provide more information on improving the
performance of pumps and pumping systems.
United States Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
DOE produces many reports and studies on energyrelated technologies, including those for industry.
DOE is involved in several activities that are
related to industrial pumping systems, including
the development and publishing of this sourcebook.

DOE Industrial Technologies Program

1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
ITP sponsors workshops on pump systems optimization. A software tool is currently available that
A Sourcebook for Industry

is designed to help pump users quickly determine

whether a pumping system is operating effectively.
(See the Pumping System Assessment Tool fact
sheet for more information.) Also, ITP works
in cooperation with the Hydraulic Institute on
pumping efficiency. For more information, see
the Hydraulic Institute summary in this section.

EERE Information Center

P.O. Box 43171
Olympia, WA 98504-3171
Phone: 877-337-3463
The DOE EERE (Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy) Information Center provides
technical information on several industrial utility
systems, including pumps, compressed air, motors,
combined heat and power, process heating, and
steam. The EERE Information Center is staffed by
engineers and technical experts who are trained
to provide information about DOE resources and
tools that are available to industry. To reach the
EERE Information Center, call 877-337-3463 or
Information is also available on the ITP
BestPractices Web site, at
industry/bestpractices. This site contains current
information on planned workshops and training
opportunities in areas such as pumping systems

Hydraulic Institute (HI)

9 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054-3802
Phone: 973-267-9700
Fax: 973-267-9055 and
HI is a nonprofit industry association for
manufacturers of pumps and pump systems that
promotes the effective, efficient, and economic
use of pump products worldwide. HI develops
standards that define and control the performance,
testing, life, and quality of pumps and pump
products for manufacturers, purchasers, and pump
users. These voluntary standards help purchasers
select the pump best suited to a particular need.


Section 4. Where To Find Help

All HI standards are developed in accordance with

ANSI guidelines. HI is also a source of other pumprelated publications and educational products.
A DOE BestPractices Allied Partner, HI has worked
with the DOE Industrial Technologies Program over
the past decade on a variety of cooperative efforts
related to pumping systems efficiency and training.
EERE contributed to the development of the HI/
Europump life-cycle costing and variable speed
pumping guidebooks, and HI has co-sponsored
sessions of the DOE-developed PSAT Specialist
Qualification workshops. HIs Web site includes an
energy savings section that features downloadable
DOE tools, resources, software, and case studies.
Other HI-DOE projects include a video-based
education program on Energy Reduction in Pumps
& Pumping Systems, co-authored trade journal
articles on energy-efficient pumping systems, and
training workshops offered to the municipal water
and wastewater industry.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

11 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-642-4900
Fax: 212-398-0023
ANSI is a private, nonprofit membership
organization whose goal is administration and
coordination of standards for a broad range of
goods and services for the United States. ANSI
maintains a number of codes developed by the
Hydraulic Institute and other organizations for
centrifugal pumps, positive displacement pumps,
and fire-protection pumps.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
345 E. 47th Street
New York, NY 100172392
Phone: 800-843-2473
Fax: 202-429-9417
ASME is a professional society with interests
in the design and operation of machines and
components. ASME reports on technology
developments that can impact material selection
and pump design.


Resources and Tools

This section provides information on books
and reports, other publications, government
and commercial statistics and market forecasts,
software, training courses, and other sources of
information that can help users make informed
purchasing and system design decisions. A
wide range of information is available on pump
applications. This section focuses on resources
and tools in the following formats:
Books, Manuals, and Reports
Magazines and Periodicals
Government and Commercial Statistics
and Market Forecasts
Training Courses
Online Technical Information
Note: The descriptions accompanying the
following sources have generally been taken
directly from the publisher/author/developer.
Inclusion of these sources does not imply
endorsement by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Books, Manuals, and Reports

Butterworth-Heinemann (Gulf Publishing)
200 Wheeler Road, 6th floor
Burlington MA 01803
Phone: 781-221-2212
Centrifugal Pumps: Design and Application,
2nd Edition
Authors: Val S. Lobanoff and Robert R. Ross
Description: This book includes the following
chapters: Specific Speed & Modeling Laws;
Impeller Design; General Pump Design;
Volute Design; Design of Multi-Stage Casing;
Double-Suction Pumps & Side-Suction Design;
NPSH; Vertical Pumps; Pipeline, Waterflood
& CO2 Pumps; High Speed Pumps; DoubleCase Pumps; Slurry Pumps; Hydraulic Power
Recovery Turbines; Chemical Pumps Metallic
& Nonmetallic; Shaft Design & Axial Thrust;
Mechanical Seals; Vibration & Noise in Pumps;

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

Alignment; Rolling Element Bearings &

Lubrication; and Mechanical Seal Reliability.
Published: May 1992
ISBN: 087201200X

design, piping layout, instrumentation, heating

and ventilating, and noise control.
Published: February 2001
ISBN: 0750694831

Hermetic Pumps: The Latest Innovations and

Industrial Applications of Sealless Pumps
Editor: Robert Neumaier
Description: This book reviews past achievements
and provides the impetus for further development
of sealless pumps. Analyses of the present state of
technology of hermetic centrifugal pumps and
rotary displacement pumps are provided, along
with detailed descriptions of the design, performance, and application of such machines.
Published: July 1997
ISBN: 0884158012

Concepts ETI
39 Olympia Avenue
Woburn, MA 01801-2073
Phone: 781-935-9050

Practical Machinery Management for

Process Plants, Vol. 1-4
Authors: H.P. Bloch and F.K. Geitner
Description: A four-volume series of books for
machinery management at process plants.
Volume 1: Improving Machinery Reliability
(3rd Edition)
Volume 2: Machinery Failure Analysis and
Troubleshooting (3rd Edition)
Volume 3: Machinery Component Maintenance
and Repair (2nd Edition)
Volume 4: Major Process Equipment Maintenance
and Repair (2nd Edition)
Each book provides a thorough analysis of its
respective title subject with field-proven
techniques and includes graphs and illustrations.
Pumps are covered in-depth in every volume.
Published: September 1998 (Vol. 1); September
1997 (Vol. 2), October 1990 (Vol. 3); April 1985
(Vol. 4)
ISBN: 0884156613 (Vol. 1), 0884156621 (Vol. 2),
0872017818 (Vol. 3), 0872014541 (Vol. 4)
Pumping Station Design, 2nd Edition
Author: Robert L. Sanks
Description: This book covers all phases of the
design of pumping facilities for water, wastewater,
and treatment plant sludges. Topics include
hydraulic fundamentals, electricity and theory of
pumps, selection of pumps and drivers, system
A Sourcebook for Industry

Centrifugal Pump Design and Performance

Author: David Japikse
Description: This book begins with a survey of
various pump designs and describes parameters to
order and categorize the diverse field. It describes
in detail the physics of various types of flows,
how to model them, and how to maintain stable
operation. The process of pump design is described, from blade layout and analysis to testing
and design optimization.
Published: September 2000
ISBN: 0471361003
Hydrodynamics of Pumps
Author: Christopher Brennen
Description: This work from Oxford Science
covers the theory of pumps and fluid flow. Among
the topics are cavitation damage, parameters and
inception; bubble dynamics, damage, and noise;
pump vibration; unsteady flow; and radial and
rotodynamic forces.
Published: July 1995
ISBN: 0933283075

CRC Press
2000 NW Corporate Boulevard
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: 561-994-0555
Centrifugal and Rotary Pumps: Fundamentals
with Applications
Author: Lev Nelik
Description: This book relates the fundamental
principles of the operation of kinetic and positive
displacement pumps to specific applications and


Section 4. Where To Find Help

user needs. The book includes information on

the historical background, recent trends and
developments, and actual field trouble-shooting
cases in which the causes for each problem are
traced back to pump fundamentals.
Published: March 1999
ISBN: 0849307015

Elsevier Science
P.O. Box 945
New York, NY 10159
Phone: 800-545-2522
Centrifugal Pumps and Allied Machinery, 4th Edition
Author: Harold Anderson
Description: This book is designed for engineers
and designers concerned with centrifugal pumps
and turbines and includes statistical information
derived from 20,000 pumps and 700 turbines with
capacities ranging from 5 gpm to 5,000,000 gpm.
The statistical analyses suggest practical methods
of increasing pump performance and provide
valuable data for new design aspects.
Published: December 1994
ISBN: 1856172317
Know and Understand Centrifugal Pumps
Authors: Larry Bachus and Angel Custodio
Description: This book is intended for operational
technicians and process engineers who must
extract the most from their process pumps and
keep them running with minimal problems and
downtime. It includes basic information which
will aid in understanding the rules and laws that
govern pumps. It will lead to a more intuitive
knowledge of pumps and their problems and will
assist anyone who must make decisions with
limited information. It is geared to maintenance
mechanics and engineers, pump operators, process
engineers, purchasing agents, equipment specifiers,
and storeroom and maintenance management
Published: August 2003
ISBN: 1856174093


The Practical Pumping Handbook

Author: Ross Mackay
Description: This practical handbook covers the
basics of all types of pumping systems. Mechanics,
hydraulics, and cavitation are discussed, as well as
pump selection, installation and troubleshooting.
Materials, friction losses, and fluid properties are
also covered.
Published: June 2004
ISBN: 1856174107
Pump Users Handbook, 4th Edition
Author: R. Rayner
Description: This book assists users in ordering
pump equipment and recognizing fundamental
operating problems. The principles of pumping,
hydraulics, and fluids are discussed, as are the
various criteria necessary for pump and ancillary
equipment selection.
Published: December 1995
ISBN: 1856172163
Pumping Manual, 9 th Edition
Author: Christopher Dickenson
Description: This resource provides information
and data on the selection, installation, operation,
and maintenance of industrial pumps for most
applications. The contents follow a sequence of
pump evolution, performance and characteristics,
pump types, practice and operation, and much
Published: January 1995
ISBN: 1856172155
Submersible Pumps and Their Applications
Author: Harold Anderson
Description: In this comprehensive manual, the
characteristics and applications of submersible
pumps are described in detail. The reader is
provided with necessary information for the
selection, operation, and maintenance of all
submersible pumps.
Published: December 1986
ISBN: 0854610987

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

Sulzer Centrifugal Pump Handbook, 2 nd Edition

Author: Sulzer Pumps, Sulzer Pump Division
Description: This handbook discusses the recent
progress made in pump construction, looking at
experiences gained by CCM-Sulzer and other
pump construction industry members. Areas such
as cavitation, erosion, selection of materials, rotor
vibration behavior, forces acting on pumps,
operating performance in various types of
circuitry, drives, and acceptance testing are
covered in detail. The handbook is directed to
planners and operating companies alike.
Published: January 1992; Republished 1998
ISBN: 1856173461
Troubleshooting Centrifugal Pumps
and Their Systems
Author: Ron Palgrave, Group Engineering
Director, David Brown Guinard Pumps, Textron,
Sheffield, UK
Description: Pumps are fine until they malfunction
or break down. When that happens, the first
priority is to get the pump functioning again and to
keep downtime to a minimum. Many problems can
be diagnosed and rectified using a combination of
knowledge and experience, the latter coming over
time. This book, written by a very experienced
engineer, guides the reader through diagnostic
pathways leading to logical explanations for the
malfunctions and their correction.
Published: November 2002
ISBN: 1856173917

Energy Center of Wisconsin

595 Science Drive
Madison ,WI 53705
Phone: 608-2384601
Fax: 608-2388733
Published: 1998
Performance Optimization Training Manual
Fans, Pumps and Blowers
Description: This 300-page comprehensive
manual offered by the Energy Center of
Wisconsin covers optimization techniques that
are applicable to fan, pump and blower systems.
The book reviews turbomachinery fundamentals,
A Sourcebook for Industry

system fundamentals, performance optimization

opportunities, feasibility study methodology,
electrical metering, field performance testing,
adjustable speed drives in performance
optimization, and more.

Flowserve Corporation
222 W. Las Colinas Boulevard
Suite 1500
Irving, TX 75039
Phone: 972-443-6500
Cameron Hydraulic Data, 19 th Edition
Editor: C.C. Heald
Description: This comprehensive text includes
hydraulic principles and the properties of liquids,
selected formulas and equivalents, friction data,
steam and electrical data tables, and a full-color
selection guide of products. This edition also
provides detailed information on reciprocating
pumps, pulsation analysis, and system piping.
Published: December 2002

Hydraulic Institute
9 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: 973-267-9700
Engineering Data Book
Author: Hydraulic Institute
Description: This reference book for fluid flow in
pipelines is designed to help with problems in
transferring and pumping fluids. It includes
methods for measuring viscosity and calculating
various friction losses and includes the characteristics of different piping materials and vapor
pressure charts for many compounds.
Published: 1990
ISBN: 1880952017
Pump Life Cycle Costs: A Guide to LCC Analysis
for Pumping Systems
Authors: Europump and the Hydraulic Institute
Description: This guidebook presents engineering,
design, specification, and analytical methodologies
for optimizing pump system designs and maxi-


Section 4. Where To Find Help

mizing pumping system lifetime cost savings.

The design, operation, maintenance, energy,
piping, controls, flows, and fluid dynamics of
pump systems can be optimized to minimize total
life-cycle costs.
Published: 2001
ISBN: 1880952580
Pump Standards
Author: Hydraulic Institute
Description: This set of standards is designed to
facilitate communication and understanding
between manufacturers, purchasers, and users.
These standards also assist the purchaser in
selecting the proper product for a particular
application. Available in hard copy, CD-ROM,
or online at
Published: 2002
Variable Speed Pumping: A Guide
to Successful Applications
Authors: Europump and the Hydraulic Institute
Description: This educationally oriented guide
helps users focus on cost savings and performance
optimization of pumping systems with variable
speed drive technology. Compiled and written by
motor and drive experts in industry and academia,
the guide is applicable to both new and retrofit
installations. System and performance curves,
control principles, selection process, financial
justification, tables, illustrations, color photographs,
case studies, and flow charts are included to help
clarify the appropriate specification methodology.
Published: 2004
ISBN: 1856174492

Industrial Press
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-889-6330
Metering Pump Handbook
Authors: Robert E. McCabe, Philip G. Lanckton,
and William V. Dwyer, Pulafeed Division/
CLEVEPAK Corporation


Description: This handbook is designed for metering pump designers and engineers working in all
industries. It presents the basic principles of the
positive displacement pump; develops in-depth
analysis of the design of reciprocating metering
pumps and their piping systems; and demonstrates
the practical implementation of these concepts
through examples of actual pump applications.
Easily accessible information includes fundamentals
of metering pump operation, principles of pump
and piping system design, guidelines for selection
of pump construction materials, procedures for the
installation, operation, and maintenance of metering pumps, and general formulas, tables, charts, and
pumping system layouts.
Published: June 1984
ISBN: 0831111577

Kluwer Academic Publishers

233 Spring St Fl 7
New York, NY 10013-1522
Phone: 212-620-8000
Centrifugal Pump Users Guidebook:
Problems and Solutions
Author: Shmariahu Yedidiah
Description: Written for designers, manufacturers,
and researchers, this reference text provides
complete up-to-date information on how to attain
and maintain optimum performance from centrifugal pumps. It offers a hands-on approach to
diagnosing and solving problems that will help all
pump users, from the novice to the experienced. It
includes the cause and effect of recirculation as
well as its function, specific aspects of cavitation,
problems encountered during tests, and more.
Published: 1996
ISBN: 041299111X
Centrifugal Pumps, Second Edition
Authors: Igor J. Karassik and J. Terry McGuire
Description: This reference book includes practical
information on all aspects of centrifugal pumps.
With classifications of various forms of centrifugal
pumps and the essential features of pump construction, application, installation, operation, and
maintenance, the second edition provides owners,
Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

designers, operators, and maintenance personnel

with basic information on how to determine pump
ratings that best meet application requirements;
operate pumps efficiently; maintain pumps to
reduce the number of needed overhauls; and ensure
that pumps remain in peak condition. This book is
out of print, so availability is limited.

Krieger Publishing
P.O. Box 9542
Melbourne, FL 32902
Phone: 407-724-9542
Centrifugal and Axial Flow Pumps: Theory,
Design, and Application, 2nd Edition
Author: Alexey J. Stepanoff
Description: This pump industry standard includes
the ranges of head per stage, total pressure, temperature, speed, and size. Theoretical aspects, design
procedures, and applications are covered for both
pump types.
Published: May 1992
ISBN: 0894647237
Pump Operation & Maintenance
Author: Tyler G. Hicks
Description: This practical guide is designed for
plant operating and management personnel. It
demonstrates how to operate and maintain pumps
used in industrial, municipal, central station, marine,
and institutional settings. Specific step-by-step
instructions for installing, starting up, operating,
maintaining, and overhauling are provided for
every major class and type of pump.
Published: June 1982
ISBN: 0898744091
The Reciprocating Pump: Theory, Design,
and Use, 2 nd Edition
Author: John E. Miller
Description: This book provides detailed information on reciprocating pumps from the perspective of
both the designer and the user. Included are details
of special pump applications, theory, design, and
much more.
Published: January 1995
ISBN: 089464599
A Sourcebook for Industry

Marcel Dekker
270 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-696-9000
Centrifugal Pump Clinic, 2nd Edition
Author: Igor Karassik
Description: This volume (#68) of the Mechanical
Engineering Series serves as a working guide for
plant and design engineers involved with
centrifugal pumps. Sections include application,
pump construction, installation, operation,
maintenance, and field troubles.
Published: 1989
ISBN: 0824710169
Pump Characteristics and Applications
Author: Michael W. Volk
Description: This reference text provides a
practical introduction to pumps and the tools
necessary to select, size, operate, and maintain
them properly. The book highlights the interrelatedness of pump engineering from system and
piping design to installation and start-up. Included
is an IBM-compatible disk that illustrates how
software can facilitate the sizing and analysis of
piping systems.
Published: January 1996
ISBN: 0824795806

P.O. Box 182604
Columbus, OH 43272
Phone: 877-833-5524
Centrifugal Pump Sourcebook
Authors: John W. Dufour and William E. Nelson
Description: This guide to centrifugal pump
operation and maintenance also offers advice
on installation and troubleshooting. It features
guidance on pump technology, curves, hydraulic
loads and bearings, mechanical seals, vertical
pumps, alignment, and suction performance.
Published: September 1992
ISBN: 0070180334


Section 4. Where To Find Help

Pump Handbook, Third Edition

Authors: Igor J. Karassik, Joseph P. Messina,
Paul Cooper, and Charles C. Heald
Description: This fully revised, expanded edition
provides fast, accurate answers to all kinds of
pump-related questions. It includes information on
current data on pump design procedures, selection
and purchase of pumps, applications, pump
drivers, testing procedures, troubleshooting and
maintenance, and numerous topics not treated in
any other work on pumps. Each section is written
by an expert in the field.
Published: September 2000
ISBN: 0070340323
Water Pumps and Pumping Systems
Author: James Rishel, P.E.
Description: This book provides guidance for
achieving the highest pump performance with the
lowest energy and maintenance costs for any type
of water pumping system.
Published: July 2002
ISBN: 0071374914

Prentice Hall
Route 9W
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Phone: 800-922-0579
Pump Application Desk Book, 3rd Edition
Author: Paul N. Garay, P.E.
Description: This guide helps end users solve
problems associated with all types of pump
applications. It examines in detail pumping viscous
fluids, specifying variable speed pumping controls,
using pump curves, slurries and their associated
problems, pump seals, and pump categories and
uses. Illustrated with numerous tables and figures
to guide users in selecting the optimum pump
and avoiding common problems.
Published: August 1996
ISBN: 0136077714


Taylor & Francis Group plc

11 New Fetter Lane
London, EC4P 4EE, UK
Cavitation and the Centrifugal Pump:
A Guide for Pump Users
Author: Edward Grist
Description: This book explains the problem of
cavitation in centrifugal pumps and how it can be
measured, treated, and most important, avoided.
The information provided is based on Grists
extensive experience in the design, manufacture,
and operation of centrifugal pumps.
Published: June 1998
ISBN: 1560325917

Magazines and Periodicals

Elsevier Science
P.O. Box 945
New York, NY 10159
Phone: 800-545-2522
Pump Industry Analyst
This monthly newsletter is written for suppliers
of pumps and associated equipment, distributors,
ancillary equipment manufacturers, trade associations, government bodies, financial institutions,
consultants, independent market researchers, and
major end users of plant equipment. It is designed
to help the reader plan sound business strategies
for the future based on accurate, impartial data.
It provides summaries of market and industry
statistics, analyses of market information on pump
end user industries, and points out key indicators
of emerging trends and their impacts on the
World Pumps
This international technical magazine is devoted to
the selection, installation, and maintenance of
pumps and pumping machinery, components, and
ancillary equipment. It provides purchasers and
users of pumps, seals, valves, and motors with an

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

authoritative source of practical and technical

information. Included are feature articles from
pump users and manufacturers, news of product
developments and applications, case studies,
business news, financial reports, exhibition
coverage, annual directories, and a monthly
product finder service. The World Pumps Web
site,, provides many
articles and links to the latest relevant literature
and software.

Pumps and Systems

P.O. Box 530067
Birmingham, AL 35253
Phone: 205-212-9402
Pumps and Systems
This monthly magazine discusses issues for the
industrial pump user. New products and
technologies, problem-solving methods, and
design practices are described within the context
of industrial pump applications. This magazine
also compiles an annual Users Guide that lists
pump manufacturers by pump type, and a Pumps
Handbook CD-ROM that can be ordered from
Pumps and Systems PumpZone Web site, www.

Witter Publishing Corporation

84 Park Avenue
Flemington, NJ 08822
Phone: 908-788-0343
Fax: 908-788-3782
Flow Control
This monthly magazine addresses fluid handling
and control issues. New products, design issues,
and technology developments are discussed,
and solutions are provided for system design
and operational and maintenance challenges in
all process and OEM application.

A Sourcebook for Industry

Government and Commercial

Statistics and Market Forecasts
Business Trend Analysts, Inc.
2171 Jericho Turnpike
Commack, NY 11725-2900
Phone: 516-462-5454
The U.S. Pump and Compressor Industry
This market research report assesses the market
for pumps and compressors by gathering data and
conducting analyses. The report presents data on
U.S. manufacturers sales and analysis of end-use
demand by industry for pumps and compressors.
This report also includes pump and compressor
industry statistics, U.S. foreign trade figures,
corporate profiles, and a directory of pump and
compressor manufacturers.

United States Bureau of the Census

Washington, DC 20233
Phone: 202-512-1800
Pumps and Compressors Current Industrial Reports
This annual report provides data on the quantity
and value of manufacturers shipments, number
of producers by product type, exports, and imports.
These statistics reflect market trends in the pump
and compressor industry.

United States Department of Energy

Industrial Technologies Program
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
National Market Transformation Strategies
for Industrial Electric Motor Systems,
Volume I: Main Report
This report develops strategic actions for a
coordinated and national effort to (1) increase
the market penetration of energy-efficient motors


Section 4. Where To Find Help

and motor-driven systems and (2) encourage

movement from a component-focused to a
systems-oriented market. Sections of the report
include the following discussions of Process
Pump Systems: Equipment and Market
Overview, Energy Savings Potential
Equipment, Efficiency Data, Standards, and
Potential Leverage Points, Specifying Practices
and Behavior, System-Level Energy Savings
Potential, and Strategy Options.

formula with Bernoullis theorem for liquids and

the differential form of Bernoullis theorem with
numerical integration techniques for gases.

United States Industrial Motor Systems Market

Opportunities Assessment
This study, published in December 1998, is based
on surveys of motor systems in a probabilitybased sampling of 265 industrial facilities in the
United States. It profiles the stock of motor-driven
equipment in U.S. industrial facilities and
characterizes the opportunities to improve the
energy efficiency of industrial motor systems.
Designed for manufacturers, distributors,
engineers, and others in the supply channels for
motor systems, it also provides a profile of current
motor system purchase and maintenance practices.
It provides a detailed, highly differentiated
portrait of end-use markets. The study presents
information factory managers can use to identify
motor system energy savings opportunities in
their facilities and to benchmark their current
motor system purchase and management
procedures against best practices concepts.

All About Pumps

This interactive Flash program, intended to teach
all of the essentials about pumps, includes sections
titled Where Pumps are Used, How Pumps
Work, Types of Pumps, Measuring Pump
Performance, The Right Pump for the Job,
Historical Background & Some Famous Pumps,
and The Most Amazing Pump of All. Also
included is a glossary of individual pumps.

Applied Flow Technology

400 W. Highway 24, Suite 201
Woodland Park, CO 80863
Phone: 800-589-4943

ABZ, Incorporated
4451 Brookfield Corporate Drive, Suite 101
Chantilly, VA 20151
Phone: 800-747-7401

AFT Arrow
AFT Arrow provides comprehensive, compressible
pipe flow analysis and system modeling
capabilities. Addressing open- and closed-loop
systems, Arrow includes a built-in library of fluids
and fittings, variable model configurations, fan/
compressor and control valve modeling, and more.
With the optional Chempak add-in, a thermophysical database of approximately 600 gases is
available, allowing thermal analysis capabilities
including piping heat transfer, heat exchanger
modeling, and varying fluid properties.

Design Flow Solutions

Complete hydraulic analysis of complex piping
systems, including up to 9,000 branches and
1,000 tees. Network branches can consist of any
combination of pipes, fittings, and valves, with
virtually no limit on the number or type of components. The program uses the Darcy-Weisbach

AFT Fathom
AFT Fathom provides comprehensive, incompressible pipe flow analysis and system modeling
capabilities. Addressing open- and closed-loop
systems, Fathom includes a built-in library of
fluids and fittings, variable model configurations,
pump and control valve modeling and more. With



Animated Software Company

625 East Bunker Court
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
Phone: 800-323-4340

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

the optional Chempak add-in, a thermo-physical

database of over 600 fluids is available, allowing
thermal analysis capabilities such as piping heat
transfer, heat exchanger modeling, and varying
fluid properties.
AFT Impulse
Waterhammer analysis tools of the past have been
difficult to use and have required extensive
specialized knowledge. As a result, this critical
aspect of piping system design and operation has
often been overlooked. AFT Impulse offers the
ease of use of a drag-and-drop interface and builtin waterhammer modeling expertise. AFT Impulse
helps you design and operate systems with greater
reliability and safety by avoiding the effects of
waterhammer and other undesirable system
AFT Mercury
AFT Mercury, powered by IntelliFlow, is the first
software product to offer the piping systems
engineer intelligent, automated sizing of system
piping, ducting, and components to achieve this
goal. With comprehensive system modeling
capabilities, a flexible graphical interface and an
advanced optimization engine, AFT Mercury with
IntelliFlow is a new technology that can produce
significant cost savings on piping systems.

Concepts ETI
217 Billings Farm Road
White River Junction, VT 05001-9486
Phone: 802-296-2321
CCAD allows users to design their pump systems
down to the smallest detail. The program creates
geometries for various inlets, impellers, inducers,
diffusers, crossovers, nozzles, and volutes.
Included is a quasi-3D flow analysis for testing the
designs. CCAD is compatible with other Concepts
ETI programs, such as PUMPAL, allowing designs
to be transferred with seamless integration.

A Sourcebook for Industry

PUMPAL uses a design wizard to create a pump
system model. The program analyzes the input and
creates integrated performance maps for a quick
review of performance and comparison of multiple
designs, or analysis vs. test data. The report generator easily formats tables and plots into a report,
with a flexible template approach. The program can
be integrated with geometries created in CCAD.

Crane Valves
2129 3rd Avenue SE
Cullman, AL 35055
Phone: 800-323-3679
Cranes Flow of Fluids 7.0 Premium Software
Piping system design software optimized for highspeed computers, this program offers enhanced
flexibility and customization with piping designs
and system modeling. It includes pump and valve
sizing wizards, and a new Fluid Zone feature,
which allows the user to quickly modify fluid
properties across multiple pipelines. The results
of software runs are displayed professionally with
tabular reports and can be easily imported into
spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel.

Electric Power Research Institute

Power Electronics Applications Center
942 Corridor Park Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37932
Phone: 865-218-8000
This software package consists of six modules
designed to educate and assist users in the
proper application of adjustable speed drives.
ASDMaster contains instruction tools that discuss
the technology, process effects, and power quality
issues associated with ASDs. It analyzes energy
consumption and performance differences between
ASDs and constant-speed alternatives. ASDMaster
also contains a database module that refers the user
to manufacturers of ASDs that can meet the needs
of the application.


Section 4. Where To Find Help

Engineered Software Inc.

4531 Intelco Loop SE
Lacey, WA 98584-5941
Phone: 360-412-0702
FLO-SERIES software consists of these four
programs: (1) PIPE-FLO: piping system design
and hydraulic system analysis containing a graphic
flowsheet user interface; (2) PUMP-FLO: centrifugal pump selection and evaluation capable of
containing over 50 manufacturers catalog curves;
(3) ORI-FLO: flow meters and orifice sizing; and
(4) CON-FLO: control valves. These programs are
available individually or as a package. They share
and exchange data for complete system analysis
but are not interdependent.

SYSTEK Technologies, Inc.

Phone: 928-453-9587
Fax: 630-214-6951
PUMPCALC Centrifugal Pump Analysis
Using affinity laws, PUMPCALC analyzes the
performance of a centrifugal pump at different
impeller sizes, speeds, and stages from the pump
manufacturers data. The speed or diameter
required to meet a specific design condition can
be calculated. Performance of pumps in series and
in parallel can be predicted. For high-viscosity
liquids, the water performance curve is corrected
for viscosity using the Hydraulic Institute Method.
PUMPCALC, a Web-based program, performs the
viscosity correction calculations quickly and
accurately using built-in charts. The resulting
performance curves can be plotted on the screen as
well as on the connected printer.

Tahoe Design Software

P.O. Box 187
Nevada City, CA 95959
Phone: 530-470-8413


This software is a hydraulic system design tool
that substantially reduces the time involved in
designing systems that convey a fluid from point
to point. Up to nine parallels (10 pumps) can be
modeled with a drag-and-drop system. In a matter
of minutes an engineer can lay out, analyze,
and present a number of design alternatives for
gravity, pump station, and forced-flow systems.
HYDROFLO can launch PumpBase and transfer
operating point, project information, and liquid
property data with a single click. Detailed reports,
diagrams and graphs of system data are available
for output to screen, printer, or file.
This program is an advanced pump specification
software package for Windows. Fluid-handling
specialists and hydraulic system designers can
specify up to 40 different selection criteria and
view graphs of the most efficient pump curves that
meet their needs. The software includes a database
of thousands of curves from dozens of manufacturers as well as an extensive database of liquid
properties. It creates a detailed report that can be
submitted to pump manufacturers or sales
representatives for further application verification
and price quotes. Custom selection software for
specific product lines is available.

Unicade, Inc.
P.O. Box 70405
Bellevue, WA 98015, USA
Phone/Fax: 425-702-0700
C-MAX Pump Software
The software performs energy and performance
calculations for various pump/compressor systems.
Economic analyses are also performed and energy
savings for different scenarios can be calculated.
The program allows the user to set up a pump/
compressor system, including choices for different
pipe fittings, valves, and geometries. Energy and
performance calculations are then performed. The
software readily converts the results to any system
of units.

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

United States Department of Energy

Industrial Technologies Program
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
This software package assists users in calculating
motor operating costs and tracking the installation
and service characteristics of a plants motor
inventory. MotorMaster+ also contains a database
of motors from which the user can select an
appropriate model. The software allows special
service requirements to be considered, such as
high starting torque, severe duty, two-speed drives,
inverter duty, and medium voltage (2300 and 4000
V) power supplies. MotorMaster+ allows users to
track motor loads, maintenance histories, and
energy consumption. It is available for downloading from the DOE ITP BestPractices Web site,
MotorMaster+ International
This software includes many of the capabilities
and features of MotorMaster+, but it also allows
users to evaluate repair/replacement options on a
broader range of motors. The user can conduct
analyses in different currencies, calculate
efficiency benefits for utility rate schedules with
demand charges, edit and modify motor rewind
efficiency loss defaults, and determine the best
available motors. MotorMaster+ International can
be modified to operate in English, Spanish, and
Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)
The Pumping System Assessment Tool is designed
to help pump users quickly distinguish systems
that are operating effectively from those that can
be improved in efficiency. This software is based
on motor performance characteristics, obtained
chiefly from DOEs MotorMaster+ database, and
on achievable pump efficiencies from the
Hydraulic Institute standard ANSI/HI 1.3,
Centrifugal Pump Design and Application. Users
provide the nameplate data (e.g., motor size and
rated speed), motor current or power, and

A Sourcebook for Industry

measured/required flow rate and head. The software reports potential energy and cost savings that
could be achieved by applying an optimized pump
and motor combination. (For more information,
see Appendix C.) It is available for downloading
from the DOE ITP Web site at

Training Courses
Concepts ETI
217 Billings Farm Road
White River Junction, VT 05001-9486
Phone: 802-296-2321
Centrifugal Pump Design and Performance
This five-day course, offered by Concepts ETI,
Inc., will inform students about centrifugal pump
design principles and practice, including
performance limits such as cavitation. It will help
students understand and assess design tools and
understand the process of pump design
optimization. Engineers will come to understand
the best state-of-the-art design practices and learn
about performance, cavitation, dynamic forces,
and noise. For more information, visit

Engineered Software Inc.

4531 Intelco Loop SE
Lacey, WA 98584-5941
Phone: 360-412-0702
FLO-SERIES Training Courses
Engineered Software Inc. offers training courses
on its FLO-SERIES software (see above).

Hydraulic Institute
9 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: 973-267-9700


Section 4. Where To Find Help

Centrifugal Pumps: Fundamentals,

Design and Applications
The Hydraulic Institute offers this two-part, sixmodule, online training course, available at www. as well as on a CD-ROM. The
course provides a wealth of information designed
by industry experts and developed exclusively for
pump users, manufacturers, engineers, contractors,
specifiers, and others who work with pumps and
pumping systems. HI also offers Energy Reduction in Pumps and Pumping Systems, an hourlong video education program produced with DOE
that includes three student workbooks, answer
books, and an instructors manual.

ITC Learning Corporation

13515 Dulles Technology Drive
Herndon, VA 22071-3416
Phone: 703-638-3757
Fax: 703-713-0065
Hydraulic System Video Courses
ITC offers many videos on hydraulic pump
systems, including courses on controls and actu
ators. Introductory and troubleshooting courses are
also available from ITC or TWI Press, Inc.
Pump and Compressor Maintenance Video Courses
ITC offers video courses on pump/compressor
maintenance, namely for centrifugal pumps and air
compressors. They are available from ITC or TWI
Press, Inc.

Job Training Systems, Inc.

P.O. Box 868
Unionville, PA 19375
Phone: 610-444-0868
Centrifugal Pumps
The topics covered in this course include operating
characteristics and identification of parts of centrifugal pumps, flow-through pumps, mechanical and
packing seals, seal flush, parts of an impeller,


identification of impellers, discharge pressure

versus flow, power requirements versus flow,
effect of specific gravity on power requirements,
multistage operation, methods of priming
centrifugal pumps, operating characteristics of
self-priming centrifugal pumps, types of oil
lubrication, grease-lubrication bearings, bearing
housing temperatures, and cavitation and gassing
of centrifugal pumps.

Mechanical Solutions, Inc.

1719 Route 10 East, Suite 205
Parsippany, NJ 07054-4507
Phone: 973-326-9920
Modal Testing
MSI offers an on-site training course on modal
testing of pumps, compressors, turbines, motors,
and impellers. Real world test data are coupled
with a finite element analysis to provide calibrated
analytical models. Trainees learn how to use this
software to perform what-if analyses and
determine the best corrective actions.
Rotodynamic Analysis
MSI will provide on-site, detailed rotodynamic
analysis and training for turbomachinery power
trains, including centrifugal pumps, reciprocating
pumps, compressors, and motor turbine pumps.
Rotor critical speed, undamped and forced
responses, and stability are all checked, and users
of the equipment are trained in how to check it
themselves. Methods of troubleshooting are also
Vibration and Noise Testing
MSI offers an on-site training course on vibration
and noise testing of pumps, compressors, turbines,
and motors. MSI will provide the latest hardware
and software for diagnosing vibration problems,
explaining how they work and how to treat the

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

National Technology Transfer, Inc.

P.O. Box 4558
Englewood, CO 80155
Phone: 800-922-2820
Fax: 800-838-8441
National Technology Transfer, Inc., Courses
National Technology Transfer offers a wide variety
of courses related to pumps and pump applications.
From a two-day seminar on centrifugal pumps
covering theory, selection, design, maintenance,
and troubleshooting to a three-day Pneumatic
Training course, National Technology Transfer
offers courses nationwide for engineers, consultants, plant and maintenance personnel, and others.

Ross Mackay Associates Ltd.

240 Portage Rd., Ste. 670
Lewiston, NY 14092
Phone: 800-465-6260
Mackay Pump School
The Mackay Pump School is a two-day course
covering the integrated areas of system hydraulics,
pump mechanics, and seal operation. The course is
designed to help operations and maintenance
personnel reduce production losses and downtime.
Course topics include pump and system curves,
NPSH, cavitation, air entrainment, seal problems,
shaft deflection, bearing considerations, and piping
configurations. A video series from the Mackay
Pump School is also available.

Volk & Associates

3062 Arizona Street
Oakland, CA 94602
Phone: 800-733-8655
Pump Training From an Industry Expert
This course offered by Michael Volk covers
hydraulic principles, pump selection and sizing,

A Sourcebook for Industry

system design and analysis, energy savings,

troubleshooting, computer software, and

United States Department of Energy

Industrial Technologies Program
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
Pumping System Assessment
This one-day training session provides an in-depth
discussion of energy efficiency factors for pumping systems, emphasizing the system as a whole
rather than the components. Indicators and
symptoms of potential energy reduction opportunities are discussed. Application and use of
the Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)
software is also covered (see Appendix B for
a description). The training was developed to
introduce users to the software (a CD with the
PSAT software is provided) and to provide
guidance on field measurement considerations.
There are three general elements:
1. An overview of pump, motor, adjustable
speed drive, and fluid system performance
2. Practical issues involved in field
measurements of fluid and electrical data
3. Use of the PSAT software, including
application to real-world situations (case
Qualified Pump System Specialist Training
This session covers in two and one-half days
the energy efficiency factors addressed in the
one-day Pumping System Assessment training
described above, as well as case studies and
additional instruction on the use of PSAT
software. It concludes with a rigorous written
exam. Those successfully completing the exam
are recognized as Qualified Pump System


Section 4. Where To Find Help

Online Information
Elsevier Science
P.O. Box 945
New York, NY 10159
Phone: 800-545-2522
World Pumps:
The Web site for World Pumps magazine contains
a great deal of useful information. The business
and product news is kept up-to-date, and new
books, reports, and software for pumps are in the
Literature Showcase. An online bookstore and
buyers guide is included. World Pumps magazine
articles and other features are also included.

Pump World:

Through the use of educational tutorials for
centrifugal and positive displacement pumps,
Pump World is dedicated to the advancement
of the pump industry on the Web. The tutorials
include information on pump terminology and
operation, performance curves, pump selection,
troubleshooting, and preventive maintenance.
Also included are pump application and system
head/pressure forms that end users, pump
distributors, and manufacturers can use.

Hydraulic Institute
9 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: 973-267-9700

Pumps & Systems

P.O. Box 530067
Birmingham, AL 35253
Phone: 205-212-9402

The Hydraulic Institute:

The Hydraulic Institutes Web site provides a vast
array of pump resources, including a supplier
finder database. The site also includes press
releases, news updates, and a discussion forum for
pump users, as well as an e-store where various
pump products can be purchased.

This Web site is maintained by Pump & Systems
magazine. The site includes Product Spotlights,
pump application data, feature articles, a software
store, links to pump company Web sites, and all
the current pump news.

Process Industrial Training Technologies, Inc.

Phone: 513-574-1666
Fax: 513-574-1358

Thomas Publishing Company

Five Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 800-222-1900

Process Pumps & Filtration On-Line:
This Internet magazine contains articles, product
listings and descriptions, and news about the pump


Pump World
P.O. Box 746
Forrest Hill, MD 21050

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers:
This searchable online directory lists manufacturers in a variety of industries. Participating
companies can include product catalogs, online
ordering information, and links to Web sites.
It is also available in print.

Improving Pumping System Performance

Section 4. Where To Find Help

United States Department of Energy

Industrial Technologies Program
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
Phone: 202-586-7547
Many ITP BestPractices resources that are specific
to motor systemse.g., publications, software
tools, and training informationare available
on the Web at
bestpractices. For more information, you can
also contact the EERE Information Center
for information by calling 877-337-3463 or
by sending an e-mail to

Pumping System Equipment

Manufacturers are often a useful source of
technical information, not only for product
data but also for maintenance practices, troubleshooting, and training. In addition, many
manufacturers provide software that can assist
purchasers in selecting the proper model for a
given set of service requirements. To locate
specific pumping system manufacturers, refer to
the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
(, the member listings
of trade association magazines, and the Supplier
Finder on the Hydraulic Institutes Web site

A Sourcebook for Industry


Section 4. Where To Find Help


Improving Pumping System Performance


The following appendices are included in the
Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping

System Terms
This appendix contains a glossary of terms
used in pumping systems.
Appendix B: Pumping System Assessment Tool

This appendix contains a description of the
PSAT and how it can be obtained online.
Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheets

This appendix contains a series of pumping

system tip sheets. Developed by DOE, these
tip sheets discuss common opportunities
in industrial facilities to improve pump
performance and reduce energy use.
Appendix D: Guidelines for Comments

This appendix contains a form readers can use

to comment on ways to correct and improve
this sourcebook.

A Sourcebook for Industry




Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping System Terms

Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping System Terms

absolute pressure Total force per unit area in a
system (includes vapor pressure and atmospheric
adjustable speed drives (ASDs) Devices that
allow control of a pumps rotational speed.
ASDs include mechanical devices such as
hydraulic clutches and electronic devices such
as eddy current clutches and variable frequency
affinity laws A set of relationships that tie
together pump performance characteristics such
as pressure, flow, and pump speed.
allowable operating region The precise limits
for minimum and maximum flow in a pump.
axial pump Sometimes called a propeller pump,
this type of pump has a single-inlet impeller; the
flow enters axially and discharges nearly axially.
backpressure The pressure on the discharge
side of the pump.
bearing A device that supports a rotating shaft,
allowing it to spin while keeping it from
translating in the radial direction. A thrust
bearing keeps a shaft from translating in the
axial direction.
best efficiency point (BEP) Commonly used to
describe the point at which a centrifugal pump
is operating at its highest efficiency, transferring
energy from the prime mover to the system
fluid with the least amount of losses.

centrifugal pump A pump that relies on a

rotating, vaned disk attached to a driven shaft.
The disk increases fluid velocity, which
translates to increased pressure.
check valve A valve that allows fluid to flow
in one direction only; it is generally used to
maintain header pressure and protect equipment
from reverse flow.
deadhead A condition in which all the discharge
from a pump is closed off.
dynamic head The component of the total head
that is attributable to fluid motion (also known
as velocity head).
gauge pressure A measure of the force per unit
area using atmospheric pressure as the zero
head A measure of pressure (expressed in feet)
indicating the height of a column of system
fluid that has an equivalent amount of potential
header A run of pipe that either supplies fluid
to (supply header) or returns fluid from (return
header) a number of system branches.
heat exchanger A device that transfers heat
from one fluid to another.
horsepower (hp) A measure of the work or
energy flux per unit time; the rate at which
energy is consumed or generated.

brake horsepower (bhp) The amount of power

(measured in units of horsepower) delivered to
the shaft of a motor-driven piece of equipment.

impeller A centrifugal pump component that

rotates on the pump shaft and increases the
pressure on a fluid by adding kinetic energy.

cavitation A phenomenon commonly found in

centrifugal pumps in which the system pressure
is less than the vapor pressure of the fluid,
causing the formation and violent collapse of
tiny vapor bubbles.

kinetic energy The component of energy that

is due to fluid motion.

A Sourcebook for Industry

load factor A ratio of the average capacity to

the rated full capacity (in terms of power),
determined by the following relationship:


Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping System Terms

Load factor = (Actual load x number of operating hours at this load)

(Rated full load x number of operating hours in the period)

mechanical seal A mechanical device for sealing

the pump/shaft interface (as opposed to packing).
minimum flow requirement A manufacturerspecified limit that represents the lowest flow
rate at which the pump can operate without
risking damage from suction or discharge
motor An electric machine that uses either
alternating current (ac) or direct current (dc)
electricity to spin a shaft. Typically, this shaft is
coupled to a pump. Occasionally, however,
mechanisms such as a slider/crank convert this
rotation to axial movement to power piston
motor controller An electric switchbox that
energizes and de-energizes an electric motor.
packing A form of a pump seal that prevents or
minimizes leakage from the pump stuffing box.
Packing is usually a flexible, self-lubricated
material that fits around the pump shaft, allowing
it to spin while minimizing the escape of system
fluid between the shaft and the pump housing.
preferred operating region The region on a
pump curve where flow remains well controlled
within a range of capacities. Within this region
hydraulic loads, vibration, or flow separation
will not significantly affect the service life of the
performance curve A curve that plots the
relationship between flow and head for a
centrifugal pump. The vertical axis contains the
values of head while the horizontal axis contains
flow rates. Since flow rate varies with head in a
centrifugal pump, performance curves are used
to select pumps that meet the needs of a system.
pony pump A pump that is usually associated
with a larger pump in a multiple-pump configuration. The pony pump typically handles
normal system requirements, while the larger
pump is used during high demand periods.


positive displacement pump A pump that pressurizes a fluid using a collapsing volume action.
Examples include piston pumps, rotary screw
pumps, and diaphragm pumps.
pressure Force per unit area; commonly used as
an indicator of fluid energy in a pumping system
(expressed in pounds per square inch).
prime mover A machine, usually an electric
motor, that provides the motive force driving a
radial pump In this type of pump, the liquid
enters the impeller at the hub and flows radially
to the periphery.
recirculation A flow condition which occurs
during periods of low flow, usually below the
minimum flow requirement of a pump. This
condition causes cavitation-like damage, usually
to the pressure side of an impeller vane.
relief valve A valve that prevents excessive pressure buildup. Often used on the discharge side
of a positive displacement pump and in applications where thermal expansion of a system fluid
can damage system equipment.
specific gravity The ratio of the density of a
fluid to the density of water at standard
specific speed An index used to measure the
performance of an impeller; it represents the
speed required for an impeller to pump one
gallon per minute against one foot of head and
is defined by the equation:

Ns = n Q
H 3/4
static head The head component attributable to
the static pressure of the fluid.
stiction Static friction (frictional resistance to
initial motion).
stuffing box The part of a pump where the shaft
penetrates the pump casing.

Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping System Terms

suction specific speed An index used to describe

the inlet conditions of a pump; it is defined by
the equation:

S = n Q 3/4
total head A measure of the total energy
imparted to the fluid by a centrifugal pump.
This value includes static pressure increase
and velocity head.
valve A device used to control fluid flow in a
piping system. There are many types of valves
with different flow control characteristics,
sealing effectiveness, and reliability.
valve seat The component of a valve that
provides the sealing surface. Some valves have
just one seat; others have a primary seat, which
prevents leakage across the valve, and a back
seat, which prevents leakage from the valve to
the environment.
vapor pressure The force per unit area that the
fluid exerts in an effort to change the phase from
a liquid to a vapor. This pressure is a function of
a fluids chemical and physical properties, and
its temperature.
variable frequency drive (VFD) A type of
adjustable speed drive that controls the speed
of ac motors by regulating the frequency of the
electric power. VFDs are the most common type
of adjustable speed drives and can significantly
reduce energy use by matching the speed of
driven equipment to required output.
velocity head The component of the total head
that is attributable to fluid motion (also known
as dynamic head).
viscosity The resistance of a fluid to flow when
subjected to shear stress.

A Sourcebook for Industry


Appendix A: Glossary of Basic Pumping System Terms


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix B: Pumping System Assessment Tool

Appendix B: Pumping System Assessment Tool

The Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT) is a
software program developed by the Department of
Energys (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program
(ITP) to assist engineers and facility operators in
performing assessments of pumping system energy
usage. PSAT is also well suited for performing
plant energy usage surveys by consultants or plant
engineers. End users in the field will find PSAT
easy to use because it was carefully designed to
require only the minimum essential operation data
(or requirements) to perform an analysis.
For many industrial facilities, the energy
consumed in pumping fluids comprises a large
fraction of the total energy consumption of the
facility. However, operators are often not aware
of how effectively energy is being consumed in
pumping systems. The PSAT tool provides a
relatively simple and fast means of determining
system efficiency and potential alternatives. In
addition, the PSAT prescreening filter can identify
areas that are likely to offer the greatest savings.
PSAT identifies energy savings opportunities
in pumping systems and quantifies those opportunities in both dollars and electrical energy
savings. Although PSAT does not tell how to
improve systems, it does prioritize attractive
opportunities and supports broader or narrower
searches for improving efficiency.
PSAT requires three fundamental field measured
parameters: flow rate, head, and motor power (or
current). Using this data, along with some general
design and nameplate information, such as pump
style (selected from a list), motor size (hp), rated
speed, and fluid density, generally achievable
pump and motor efficiencies and optimal power
requirements are estimated.
PSAT assesses current pump system operating
efficiency by comparing field measurements of the
power delivered to the motor with the fluid work
A Sourcebook for Industry

(flow and head) required by the application. It

estimates a systems achievable efficiency based
on pump efficiencies (from Hydraulic Institute
standards) and performance characteristics of
pumps and motors (based on the MotorMaster+
PSAT can be used to perform the following
key functions:

Establish system efficiency

Quantify potential energy savings

Examine the economic and energy impacts

of different operating scenarios
Provide data for trending system performance
Clarify impacts of operational changes on
demand charges
Identify degraded or poorly performing pumps.

Additional information on PSAT is provided in

Section 3.

Qualification Program
The U.S. Department of Energy offers a qualification training program for pumping system
specialists in the use of its PSAT software.
Attendees who successfully complete a PSAT
qualification workshop will be recognized as
Qualified Pump System Specialists and will
receive a certificate from DOE with this
How to Obtain PSAT
The PSAT and its User Manual can be downloaded from the ITP BestPractices Web site,
The user can also obtain a version by contacting
the EERE Information Center at 877-337-3463.


Appendix B: Pumping System Assessment Tool


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheets

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheets

A series of tip sheets has been developed to highlight the performance benefits and energy savings
that are available in pumping systems. Tip sheet topics include the following:
Conduct an In-Plant Pumping System Survey
Pump Selection Considerations
Select an Energy-Efficient Centrifugal Pump
Test for Pumping System Efficiency
Maintain Pumping Systems Effectively
Match Pumps to System Requirements
Trim or Replace Impellers on Oversized Pumps
Optimize Parallel Pumping Systems
Reduce Pumping Costs Through Optimum Pipe Sizing
Reduce Energy Losses Across Control Valves
Adjustable Speed Pumping Applications
Control Strategies for Centrifugal Pumps with Variable Flow Rates
Several of these tip sheets are included here. The rest are in development and will be available
soon from the EERE Information Center and on the ITP BestPracticies Web site,

A Sourcebook for Industry


Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheets


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 1

Conduct an In-Plant Pumping System Survey


Even one pump can consume substantial energy. A continuously operated centrifugal
pump driven by a fully loaded 100-horsepower motor requires 726,000 kWh per year.
This costs more than $36,000, assuming average electricity costs of 5 per kWh. Even
a 10% reduction in operating costs saves $3,600 per year. Table 1 summarizes the
electrical costs of operating this pump.

Table 1. Pumping Energy Costs for Pump Driven by 100-hp Motor (assuming a 90% motor efficiency)

In the United States, more than

2.4 million pumps, which consume more than 142 billion kWh
annually, are used in industrial
manufacturing processes. At an
electricity cost of 5 per kWh,
energy used for fluids transport
costs more than $7.1 billion per

Energy Costs for Various Electricity Costs

2 per kWh

1 hour

4 per kWh

6 per kWh

8 per kWh

10 per kWh






24 hours






1 month






1 year






Surveying Your Pumping Systems

Pumps larger than a minimum size and with significant operating hours should be
surveyed to determine a baseline for your current pumping energy consumption and
costs, identify inefficient pumps, determine efficiency measures, and estimate the
potential for energy savings. The U.S. Department of Energys (DOE) Pump System
Energy Opportunity Screening worksheet will help you identify systems that merit a
The survey team should gather pump and drive motor nameplate information and
document operating schedules to develop load profiles, then obtain head/capacity
curves (if available) from the pump manufacturers to document the pumping system
design and operating points. The team should also note the system flow rate and
pressure requirements, pump style, operating speed, number of stages, and specific
gravity of the fluid being pumped. If possible, the team should also measure and note
the flow rate and the suction and discharge pressures and note conditions that are
associated with inefficient pump operation, including indicators such as:

Pumps with high maintenance requirements

Oversized pumps that operate in a throttled condition

Cavitating or badly worn pumps

Misapplied pumps

Pumping systems with large flow rate or pressure variations

Pumping systems with bypass flow

Throttled control valves to provide fixed or variable flow rates

Noisy pumps or valves

Clogged pipelines or pumps

Wear on pump impellers and casings that increase clearances between fixed and
moving parts

DOE/GO-102005-2155 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #1

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Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 1

Excessive wear on wear rings and bearings

Improper packing adjustment that causes binding on the pump shaft

Multiple pump systems where excess capacity is bypassed or excess pressure is provided

Changes from initial design conditions. Distribution system cross-connections, parallel main lines,
or changes in pipe diameter or material may change the original system curve.

Low-flow-rate, high-pressure end use applications. An entire pumping system may be operated at high pressure to meet
the requirements of a single end use. A booster or dedicated pump may allow system operating pressure to be reduced.

Pumping System Efficiency Measures

Measures to improve pumping plant efficiency include:

Shut down unnecessary pumps. Re-optimize pumping systems when a plants water use requirements change.
Use pressure switches to control the number of pumps in service when flow rate requirements vary.

Restore internal clearances.

Replace standard efficiency pump drive motors with NEMA Premium motors.

Replace or modify oversized pumps:

Install new properly sized pumps.

Trim or change the pump impellers to match the output with system requirements when the pumping
head exceeds system requirements. Consult with the vendor to determine the minimum impeller
diameter for a pump casing.

Meet variable flow rate requirements with an adjustable speed drive or multiple pump arrangement
instead of throttling or bypassing excess flow.

Suggested Actions
Prescreen the pumps in your facility.
Survey the systems identified as priorities.

DOE/GO-102005-2155 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #1


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 2

Pump Selection Considerations

Understanding Your Pumping System Requirements
Pumps transfer liquids from one point to another by converting mechanical energy
from a rotating impeller into pressure energy (head). The pressure applied to the liquid
forces the fluid to flow at the required rate and to overcome friction (or head) losses in
piping, valves, fittings, and process equipment. The pumping system designer must
consider fluid properties, determine end use requirements, and understand environmental conditions.

Pumping applications include
constant or variable flow rate
requirements, serving single or
networked loads, and consisting
of open loops (nonreturn or liquid
delivery) or closed loops (return

Fluid Properties
The properties of the fluids being pumped can significantly affect the choice of pump.
Key considerations include:

Acidity/alkalinity (pH) and chemical composition. Corrosive and acidic fluids

can degrade pumps, and should be considered when selecting pump materials.

Operating temperature. Pump materials and expansion, mechanical seal

components, and packing materials need to be considered with pumped fluids that are
hotter than 200F.

Solids concentrations/particle sizes. When pumping abrasive liquids such as

industrial slurries, selecting a pump that will not clog or fail prematurely depends
on particle size, hardness, and the volumetric percentage of solids.

Centrifugal/Vertical NPSH Margin
(ANSI/HI 9.6.1-1998), www.pumps.
org, Hydraulic Institute, 1998.

Specific gravity. The fluid specific gravity is the ratio of the fluid density to that
of water under specified conditions. Specific gravity affects the energy required to
lift and move the fluid, and must be considered when determining pump power

Vapor pressure. A fluids vapor pressure is the force per unit area that a fluid exerts
in an effort to change phase from a liquid to a vapor, and depends on the fluids
chemical and physical properties. Proper consideration of the fluids vapor pressure
will help to minimize the risk of cavitation.

Viscosity. The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance to motion. Since

kinematic viscosity normally varies directly with temperature, the pumping system
designer must know the viscosity of the fluid at the lowest anticipated pumping
temperature. High viscosity fluids result in reduced centrifugal pump performance
and increased power requirements. It is particularly important to consider pump
suction-side line losses when pumping viscous fluids.

End Use RequirementsSystem Flow Rate and Head

The design pump capacity, or desired pump discharge in gallons per minute (gpm) is
needed to accurately size the piping system, determine friction head losses, construct
a system curve, and select a pump and drive motor. Process requirements may be met
by providing a constant flow rate (with on/off control and storage used to satisfy
variable flow rate requirements), or by using a throttling valve or variable speed drive
to supply continuously variable flow rates.

DOE/GO-102005-2156 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #2

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Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 2

The total system head has three components: static head, elevation (potential energy), and velocity (or dynamic) head.
Static head is the pressure of the fluid in the system, and is the quantity measured by conventional pressure gauges.
The height of the fluid level can have a substantial impact on system head. The dynamic head is the pressure required by
the system to overcome head losses caused by flow rate resistance in pipes, valves, fittings, and mechanical equipment.
Dynamic head losses are approximately proportional to the square of the fluid flow velocity, or flow rate. If the flow rate
doubles, dynamic losses increase fourfold.
For many pumping systems, total system head requirements vary. For example, in wet well or reservoir applications,
suction and static lift requirements may vary as the water surface elevations fluctuate. For return systems such as HVAC
circulating water pumps, the values for the static and elevation heads equal zero. You also need to be aware of a pumps
net positive suction head requirements. Centrifugal pumps require a certain amount of fluid pressure at the inlet to avoid
cavitation. A rule of thumb is to ensure that the suction head available exceeds that required by the pump by at least
25% over the range of expected flow rates.

Environmental Considerations
Important environmental considerations include ambient temperature and humidity, elevation above sea level, and whether
the pump is to be installed indoors or outdoors.
Software Tools
Most pump manufacturers have developed software or Web-based tools to assist in the pump selection process. Pump
purchasers enter their fluid properties and system requirements to obtain a listing of suitable pumps. Software tools that
allow you to evaluate and compare operating costs are available from private vendors.
Suggested Actions
Accurately identify process flow rate and pressure requirements.
Measure actual head and flow rate.
Develop a system curve.
Select a pump with high efficiency over the expected range of operating conditions.
Specify electric motors that meet the NEMA Premium full-load efficiency standards.
Use life cycle costing techniques to justify acquiring high efficiency pumps and designing efficient systems.

DOE/GO-102005-2156 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #2


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 3

Select an Energy-Efficient Centrifugal Pump

Centrifugal pumps handle high flow rates, provide smooth, nonpulsating delivery, and
regulate the flow rate over a wide range without damaging the pump. Centrifugal
pumps have few moving parts, and the wear caused by normal operation is minimal.
They are also compact and easily disassembled for maintenance.

Centrifugal Pump Performance

Centrifugal pumps are generally divided into three classes: radial flow, mixed flow,
and axial flow. Since they are designed around their impellers, differences in impeller
design allow manufacturers to produce pumps that can perform efficiently under
conditions that vary from low flow rate with high head to high flow rate with low
head. The amount of fluid a centrifugal pump moves depends on the differential
pressure or head it supplies. The flow rate increases as the head decreases.
Manufacturers generally provide a chart that indicates the zone or range of heads
and flow rates that a particular pump model can provide.
Before you select a pump model, examine its performance curve, which is indicated by
its head-flow rate or operating curve. The curve shows the pumps capacity (in gallons
per minute [gpm]) plotted against total developed head (in feet). It also shows efficiency
(percentage), required power input (in brake-horsepower [bhp]), and suction head
requirements (net positive suction head requirement in feet) over a range of flow rates.

The design of an efficient
pumping system depends on
relationships between fluid flow
rate, piping layout, control
methodology, and pump
selection. Before selecting a
centrifugal pump, we must
understand its application.

Centrifugal Applications (ANSI/HI
1.3-2000), Hydraulic Institute, 2000.

Pump curves also indicate pump size and type, operating speed (in revolutions per
minute), and impeller size (in inches). It also shows the pumps best efficiency point
(BEP). The pump operates most cost effectively when the operating point is close
to the BEP.
Pumps can generally
Figure 1. End Suction Centrifugal Pump Performance Curve
be ordered with a
variety of impeller
sizes. Each impeller
has a separate
performance curve
(see Figure 1). To
minimize pumping
system energy
consumption, select a
pump so the system
curve intersects the
pump curve within
20% of its BEP, and
select a midrange
impeller that can be
trimmed or replaced
to meet higher or
lower flow rate requirements. Select a pump with high efficiency contours over your
range of expected operating points. A few points of efficiency improvement can save
significant energy over the life of the pump.

DOE/GO-102005-2157 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #3

A Sourcebook for Industry


Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 3

A process requires 15,000 gpm at a total operating head of 150 feet. Assume the centrifugal pump will be powered by a
700-hp motor, operate for 8,000 hours annually, and transport fluid with a specific gravity of 1.0. One candidate pump
has an efficiency (1) of 81% at the operating point; a second is expected to operate at 78% efficiency (2). What are the
energy savings given selection of the first pump?
Reduced Power Requirements (bhp) = {(Head x Flow x SG) / 3,960} x (100/1 100/2)

Head = head at operating point in feet

Flow = pump discharge at operating point

SG = fluid specific gravity

bhp Reduction = {(150 feet x 15,000 gpm x 1.0) / 3,960} x (1/0.81 1/0.78) = 27 bhp

Assuming an efficiency of 96% for the pump drive motor, the annual energy savings are:

Energy Savings = 27 bhp x 0.746 kW/bhp x 8,000 hours/year / 0.96 = 167,850 kWh/year

These savings are valued at $8,393 per year at an energy price of 5 per kWh. Assuming a 15-year pump life, total
energy savings are $125,888. With an assumed cost differential between the two pumps of $5,000, the simple payback
for purchasing the first pump will be approximately 7 months.

Suggested Actions
Develop an accurate system curve (see tip sheet Pump Selection Considerations).
Select a correctly sized pump and drive motor.
Select the pump with the highest efficiency over the range of expected system operating points.
Develop an index. A useful index for comparing pumps in the same application involves calculating the gallons of fluid pumped
per kilowatt-hour of electrical energy used (gal/kWh). This index illustrates the fluid transported per unit of energy expended.
Calculating the inversekWh/galis equally useful, and provides the basis for an energy cost comparison.

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Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 4

Test for Pumping System Efficiency

Pump efficiencies of 50% to 60% or lower are quite common. Because pump
inefficiencies are not readily apparent, however, opportunities to save energy by
repairing or replacing components and optimizing systems are often overlooked.

Define Pumping System Efficiency

System efficiency incorporates the efficiencies of the pump, motor, and other system
components, as shown in the area of the illustration outlined by the dashed line.

A pumps efficiency can degrade
as much as 10% to 25% before it
is replaced, according to a study
of industrial facilities commissioned by the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE).

Pumping system efficiency (sys) is defined as follows:

Qreq x Hreq x SG
sys =
5308 x Pe
Qreq =

Hreq =
SG =
Pe =

required fluid flow rate, in

gallons per minute
required pump head, in feet
specific gravity
electrical power input.

Only the required head and flow rates are considered in calculating system efficiency.
Unnecessary head losses are deducted from the pump head, and unnecessary bypass or
recirculation flow is deducted from the pump flow rate.

Conduct Efficiency Tests

Efficiency tests help facilities staff identify inefficient systems, determine energy
efficiency improvement measures, and estimate potential energy savings. These tests
are usually conducted on larger pumps and on those that operate for long periods of
time. For details, see Hydraulic Institute standards ANSI/HI 1.6-2000, Centrifugal
Pump Tests, and ANSI/HI 2.6-2000, Vertical Pump Tests.

Centrifugal Tests (ANSI/HI 1.6-2000),
Hydraulic Institute, 2000.
Conduct an In-Plant Pumping System
Survey, DOE Pumping Systems Tip
Sheet, 2005.
Match Pumps to System Requirements,
DOE Pumping Systems Tip Sheet,
Trim or Replace Impellers on
Oversized Pumps, DOE Pumping
Systems Tip Sheet, 2005.

Flow rates can be obtained with reliable instruments installed in the system or preferably with stand-alone tools such as a sonic (Doppler-type) or transit time flow meter
or a Pitot tube and manometer. Turbulence can be avoided by measuring the flow rate on
a pipe section without fittings at a point where there is still a straight run of pipe ahead.

Improve System Efficiency

Internal leaks caused by excessive impeller clearances or by worn or misadjusted parts
can reduce the efficiency of pumps. Corrective actions include restoring internal
clearances and replacing or refurbishing worn or damaged throat bushings, wear rings,
impellers, or pump bowls. Changes in process requirements and control strategies,
deteriorating piping, and valve losses all affect pumping system efficiency.

DOE/GO-102005-2158 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #4

A Sourcebook for Industry


Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 4

Potential energy savings can be determined by using the difference between actual system operating efficiency (a) and the
design (or optimal) operating efficiency (o), or by consulting published pump curves, as available, for design efficiency
Software tools like DOEs Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT) also provide estimates of optimal efficiency. When
the required head and flow rate, as well as actual electrical data, are input into the software, PSAT will account for artificial head and flow losses. The equation for calculating potential energy savings is as follows:

Savings = kWin x t x ( 1 a/o )



= energy savings, in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year

= input electrical energy, in kilowatts (kW)
= annual operating hours
= actual system efficiency, calculated from field measurements
= optimal system efficiency.

Efficiency testing and analysis indicate that a 300-horsepower centrifugal pump has an operating efficiency of 55%.
However, the manufacturers pump curve indicates that it should operate at 78% efficiency. The pump draws 235 kW and
operates 6,000 hours per year. Assuming that the pump can be restored to its original or design performance conditions,
estimated energy savings are as follows:
Savings = 235 kW x 6,000 hours/year x [ 1 (0.55/0.78) ] = 415,769 kWh/year.
At an energy cost of 5 per kWh, the estimated savings would be $20,786 per year.

Suggested Actions
Survey the priority pumps in your plant and conduct efficiency tests on them.
Identify misapplied, oversized, or throttled pumps, or those that have bypass lines.
Identify pumps with operating points below the manufacturers pump curve (if available); estimate energy savings of restoring
the system to its original efficiency.
Identify pumps with flow rates of 30% or more from the BEP flow rates, or with system imbalances greater than 20%.
Determine the cost effectiveness of each improvement.

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Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 5

Maintain Pumping Systems Effectively

Effective pump maintenance allows industrial plants to keep pumps operating well, to
detect problems in time to schedule repairs, and to avoid early pump failures. Regular
maintenance also reveals deteriorations in efficiency and capacity, which can occur
long before a pump fails.

Wear ring and rotor erosions are
some of the costly problems that
can reduce the wire-to-water
efficiency of pumps by 10% or

The amount of attention given to maintenance depends on how important a system is

to a plants operations. Downtime can be expensive when it affects critical processes.
Most maintenance activities can be classified as either preventive or predictive.
Preventive maintenance addresses routine system needs such as lubrication, periodic
adjustments, and removal of contaminants. Predictive maintenance focuses on tests
and inspections that detect deteriorating conditions.

Preventive Actions
Preventive maintenance activities include coupling alignment, lubrication, and seal
maintenance and replacement. Mechanical seals must be inspected periodically to
ensure that either there is no leakage or that leakage is within specifications. Mechanical seals that leak excessively usually must be replaced. A certain amount of leakage
is required, however, to lubricate and cool the packing seals. But the packing gland
needs to be adjusted if the leakage exceeds the manufacturers specifications. The
packing gland must be replaced if it has to be tightened excessively to control leakage.
Overtightening causes unnecessary wear on the shaft or its wear sleeve and increases
electric power use. Routine maintenance of pump motors, such as proper lubrication
and cleaning, is also vital.

Extend Your Motors Operating Life,
DOE Motor Systems Tip Sheet, 2005.
Test for Pumping System Efficiency,
DOE Pumping Systems Tip Sheet,

Predictive Actions
Predictive maintenance helps minimize unplanned equipment outages. Sometimes called
condition assessment or condition monitoring, it has become easier with modern
testing methods and equipment. The following methods apply to pumping systems:
Vibration analysis. Trending vibration amplitude and frequency can detect an
impending bearing failure. It can also reveal voltage and mechanical imbalances that
could be caused by impeller erosion or coupling problems. Changes in vibration over
time are more meaningful than a single snapshot of the vibration spectrum.
Motor current signature analysis. Sometimes called dynamic analysis, this reveals
deteriorating insulation, rotor bar damage, electrical system unbalance, and harmonics.
It can also pick up system problems such as malfunctioning control valves that cause
flow rate disturbances. Tracking the signature over time is more valuable than a single
Lubrication oil analysis. This applies only to large, oil-lubricated pumps, and is an
expensive procedure. Oil analysis can detect bearing problems caused by metal
particles or chemical changes that result from overheating, and seal problems caused
by pumped fluid in the oil. It also provides guidance on proper oil-change intervals.

DOE/GO-102005-2159 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #5

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Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 5

Periodic efficiency testing. Testing the wire-to-water efficiency and keeping records to spot trends is useful. Finally, see
the checklist of maintenance items below, which can be tailored for many kinds of systems, applications, and facilities.

Basic Maintenance Checklist

Packing. Check for leakage and adjust according to the instructions of the pump and packing manufacturers. Allowable
leakage is usually 2 to 60 drops per minute. Add packing rings or, if necessary, replace all the packing.

Mechanical Seals. Check for leakage. If leakage exceeds the manufacturers specifications, replace the seal.

Bearings. Determine the condition of the bearing by listening for noises that indicate excessive wear, measuring the
bearings operating temperature, and using a predictive maintenance technique such as vibration analysis or oil analysis.
Lubricate bearings according to the pump manufacturers instructions; replace them if necessary.

Motor/Pump Alignment. Determine if motor/pump alignment is within the service limits of the pump.

Motor Condition. Check the integrity of motor winding insulation. These tests usually measure insulation resistance
at a certain voltage or the rate at which an applied voltage decays across the insulation. A vibration analysis can also
indicate certain conditions within motor windings and lead to early detection of developing problems.

Suggested Actions
Establish a pumping system maintenance program that includes the following:
Preventive actions
Predictive actions
Periodic efficiency testing.

DOE/GO-102005-2159 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #5


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 6

Match Pumps to System Requirements

An industrial facility can reduce the energy costs associated with its pumping systems,
and save both energy and money, in many ways. They include reducing the pumping
system flow rate, lowering the operating pressure, operating the system for a shorter
period of time each day, and, perhaps most important, improving the systems overall

When pumps run inefficiently, it
is often because actual system
requirements are not the same as
those specified in the original
system design. This can make the
whole system more costly to

Often, a pumping system runs inefficiently because its requirements differ from the
original design conditions. The original design might have been too conservative, or
oversized pumps might have been installed to accommodate future increases in plant
capacity. The result is an imbalance that causes the system to be inefficient and thus
more expensive to operate.

Correct Imbalanced Pumping Systems

If the imbalance between the systems requirements and the actual (measured)
discharge head and flow rate exceeds 20%, conduct a detailed review of your plants
pumping system. Calculate the imbalance as follows:

Imbalance (%) = [(Qmeas x Hmeas)/(Qreq x Hreq) 1] x 100%



= measured flow rate, in gallons per minute (gpm)

= measured discharge head, in feet
= required flow rate, in gpm
= required discharge head, in feet.

A pump may be incorrectly sized for current needs if it operates under throttled
conditions, has a high bypass flow rate, or has a flow rate that varies more than
30% from its best efficiency point (BEP) flow rate. Such pumps can be prioritized
for further analysis, according to the degree of imbalance or mismatch between actual
and required conditions.
Energy-efficient solutions include using multiple pumps, adding smaller auxiliary
(pony) pumps, trimming impellers, or adding a variable-speed drive. In some cases,
it may be practical to replace an electric motor with a slower, synchronous-speed
motore.g., using a motor that runs at 1,200 revolutions per minute (rpm) rather than
one that runs at 1,800 rpm.

Variable Speed Pumping: A Guide to
Successful Applications, Hydraulic
Institute and Europump (www.pumps.
org), 2004.
Conduct an In-Plant Pumping System
Survey, DOE Pumping Systems Tip
Sheet, 2005.
Trim or Replace Impellers on
Oversized Pumps, DOE Pumping
Systems Tip Sheet, 2005.
Optimize Parallel Pumping Systems,
DOE Pumping Systems Tip Sheet,
Adjustable Speed Pumping
Applications, DOE Pumping Systems
Tip Sheet, 2005.

Conduct quick reviews like this periodically. Especially for multipump systems, this can
be a convenient way to identify opportunities to optimize a system at little or no cost.

This example shows the energy savings that can be obtained by not using an oversized
pump. Assume that a process requires 1,500 tons of refrigeration during the three
summer months, but only 425 tons for the remaining nine months. The process uses
two chilled water pumps operating at 3,500 gpm and requiring 200 brake horsepower
(bhp) each. Both are used in summer, but two-thirds of the flow rate is bypassed
during the remaining months.

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Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 6

One 3,500-gpm pump is therefore replaced with a new 1,250-gpm pump designed to have the same discharge head
as the original unit. Although the new pump requires only 50 bhp, it meets the plants chilled water requirements
most of the year (in all but the summer months). The older pump now operates only in the summer. Assuming
continuous operation with an efficiency (m) of 93% for both motors, we can calculate the energy savings from
operating the smaller pump as follows:

Savings = (200 hp 50 hp)/m x 0.746 kW/hp x (9 months/12 months) x 8,760 hours/year

= 790,520 kWh/year.

At an average energy cost of 5 per kWh, annual savings would be about $39,525.

Suggested Actions
Survey your facilitys pumps.
Identify flow rates that vary 30% or more from the BEP and systems imbalances greater than 20%.
Identify misapplied, oversized, or throttled pumps and those with bypass lines.
Assess opportunities to improve system efficiency.
Consult with suppliers on the cost of trimming or replacing impellers and replacing pumps.
Determine the cost-effectiveness of each improvement.

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Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 9

Reduce Pumping Costs through Optimum

Pipe Sizing
The power consumed to overcome the static head in a pumping system varies linearly
with flow, and very little can be done to reduce the static component of the system
requirement. However, there are several energy- and money-saving opportunities to
reduce the power required to overcome the friction component.

Every industrial facility has a
piping network that carries water
or other fluids. According to the
U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE), 16% of a typical facilitys
electricity costs are for its pumping systems.

The frictional power required depends on flow rate, pipe size (diameter), overall pipe
length, pipe characteristics (surface roughness, material, etc.), and properties of the
fluid being pumped. Figure 1 shows the annual water pumping cost (frictional power
only) for 1,000 feet of pipe length for different pipe sizes and flow rates.

Figure 1. Annual water pumping cost for 1,000 feet of pipe of different sizes

Xenergy Inc., United States Industrial
Motor Systems Market Opportunities
Assessment, prepared for DOE,
December 1998.
Piping Handbook, Mohinder K.
Nayyar, McGraw-Hill Publications,
New York, 1998.
Engineering Data Book, Hydraulic
Institute, Second Edition, New Jersey,
Based on 1,000 ft for clean iron and steel pipes (schedule 40) for pumping 70F water. Electricity rate5 per kWh and
8,760 operating hours annually. Combined pump and motor efficiency70%.

A pumping facility has 10,000 feet of piping to carry 600 gallons per minute (gpm) of
water continuously to storage tanks. Determine the annual pumping costs associated
with different pipe sizes.

From Figure 1, for 600 gpm:

6-inch pipe: ($1,690/1,000 feet) x 10,000 feet = $16,900

8-inch pipe: ($425/1,000 feet) x 10,000 feet = $ 4,250
10-inch pipe: ($140/1,000 feet) x 10,000 feet = $ 1,400

After the energy costs are calculated, the installation and maintenance costs should be
calculated for each pipe size. Although the up-front cost of a larger pipe may be
higher, it may still provide the most cost-effective solution because it will greatly
reduce the initial pump and operating costs.

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Appendix C: Pumping Systems Tip Sheet Number 9

General Equation for Estimating Frictional Portion of Pumping Costs

Cost ($) =

(Friction factor)

(Flow in gpm)3 (Pipe length in feet)

(Pipe inner diameter in inches)5

(# of hours) ($/kWh)
(Combined pump and motor efficiency as a percent)

where the friction factor, based on the pipe roughness, pipe diameter, and the Reynolds number, can be obtained
from engineering handbooks. For most applications, the value of this friction factor will be 0.015 to 0.0225.

Suggested Actions
Compute annual and life-cycle cost for systems before making an engineering design decision.
In systems dominated by friction head, evaluate pumping costs for at least two pipe sizes and try to accommodate pipe size with
the lowest life-cycle cost.
Look for ways to reduce friction factor. If your application permits, epoxy-coated steel or plastic pipes can reduce friction factor
by more than 40%, proportionately reducing your pumping costs.

DOE/GO-102005-2071 October 2005 Pumping Systems Tip Sheet #9


Improving Pumping System Performance

Appendix D: Guidelines for Comments

Appendix D: Guidelines for Comments

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A Sourcebook for Industry


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Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street, P.O. Box 7026, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026, USA
Telephone: (317) 925-9661 Fax: (317) 924-738



C. W. Lindemann, Designer
Several years ago I was asked to explain how and why
some pumping problems could be minimized, or even
eliminated, by giving certain basic considerations to the
design and selection of non-clogging pumps. Since that time
new problems have become apparent and now I have been
requested to describe how some troubles could result when
pumping conditions are varied within an existing piping
The last few years have placed an additional burden
upon some engineers and plant operators because of
increased populations and a demand to get temporary
additional capacity out of an existing pump installation. A first
reaction to this problem would be to apply the affinity laws
and check whether or not it would be possible to sufficiently
increase the impeller diameter or, if this is not practical, to
increase the pump speed.
Let us review the applicable affinity laws. They simply
capacity of a centrifugal pump will vary directly as the speed;
the head will vary as the square of the speed; the
horsepower will vary as the cube of the speed. The same
relationship exists when we substitute impeller diameter for
speed. Also, note that the conditions of capacity, head and
horsepower are all affected at the same time and not
separately. Later we will show how erroneous conclusions
drawn from the misapplication of the affinity laws could
cause pumping troubles.

1 Capacity .110% of 1400 = 1540-gpm

2 Head ...121% of
40 = 48.4 feet
3 HP ..133% of
20 = 26.4-bhp
Similarly, various other points on the basic pump characteristic curve A, Fig. 1, can be selected and equivalent points
established for constructing a curve for the increased speed.
The head-capacity and separate bhp curves for both
conditions of speed are shown on Fig. 1 and are respectively
labeled A for the slower speed and B for the increased
Let us emphasize that the conditions as shown by curves A
and B represent only the potentialities of the pump for the
given speeds and, except for one point on each curve, they
do not graphically show the actual pumping conditions within
the system. We can determine the actual pumping
conditions by constructing a system curve. When the
system curve is superimposed upon the pump characteristic
curves, the points of intersection represent the actual
pumping conditions.

Use of the affinity laws will be illustrated by a hypotheoretical problem wherein we will arbitrarily increase the
speed of an existing pump by 10%. If the existing pump
handles 1400-gpm when pumping against a total dynamic
head of 40 feet and requires 20-bhp at a speed of 1160-rpm;
then, by using the affinity formulas, we will get the following
equivalent conditions for this one point, as follows:

A Basic Pump Characteristic Curve

B Calculated Affinity Curve
C Basic System Curve
D Auxiliary System Curve

A system curve is a graphical illustration of the various

flow conditions in a given piping system. Simply stated, the
curve is constructed through points established by adding
the total head loss for each possible separate flow condition
to the static head against which the pump must operate.

For illustrative purposes, let us assume that the pump

must operate against a static head of 25 feet. The points for
constructing the system curve ay be determined, as follows:


For a flow of 800-gpm; let us assume that the total

head loss; including piping, valves, fittings, etc.; is 5
feet. The required system head condition then
becomes 5 + 25 = 30 feet.

2. In the same way; let us assume that the total head

conditions for 1000-gpm is 32 feet; for 1200-gpm it is
35 feet; for 1400-gpm it is 40 feet; for 1600-gpm it
is 45 feet and for 1800-gpm it is 51 feet.
om t
a clear picture of the actual pumping conditions for this
system at either selected speed.
he i
on ofcur
show that our original conditions of 1400-gpm and 40 foot
head is verified. Directly below this point of intersection and
on t
heHP cur
he20-bhp requirement.

we establish that the new pumping conditions will be

approximately 1650-gpm at 46 feet and, directly below on
ne that 27-bhp is required.

It is evident that accurate appraisal of system pumping

conditions cannot be made without considering the system
curve. Attempts to evaluate pumping conditions from either
or both the basic pump characteristic curve or curve
established by use of the affinity laws may be very

Sales Information Bulletin No. 4 Rev 01-23-06

Pumping troubles can usually be traced to the

consideration of one condition on the affinity curve and the
ignoring of the others. That is:

1. The revised capacity condition is accepted but either

or both the head and horsepower conditions are

2. sometimes the equivalent capacity point on the affinity

curve is accepted as the actual system pumping

3. Sometimes the capacity on the affinity curve is

accepted for the head condition against which the
original pump operated.

4. When the pump operates from a suction well in which

there is a considerable difference in the high and low
s. Ref
er t
o cur
g. 1 whi
represents c
which represents conditions at high water level. Note
em c

head conditions. Invariably the pump will cavitate
when operating at and near the high water level and
will continue to do so until the head increases
om t
cure for this condition would be to decrease the
pumping differential by lowering the high water level.

The curves shown on Fig. 1 have been constructed only

to illustrate our various hypothetical problems and without
any regard for accuracy. Nevertheless, this discussion will
emphasize that both the pump characteristic curve and
system curve are required if accurate appraisal of the actual
pumping conditions within a system is to be illustrated.

Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026



Reprinted From

Chief Engineer

Figure 1

Figure 2.

What Is NPSH?
This term is widely used by engineers but the physical significance is understood by only a
few of them. Here is a description of NPSH
Dan R. Rankin
Peerless Pump Company

AT ANY GIVEN temperature all liquids have a definite

pressure at which they boil. Every day we witness the fact
that a liquid boils at atmospheric pressure when it reaches a
sufficiently high temperature. It is important also to
remember that a liquid will boil at any temperature if the
pressure is reduced sufficiently. It is the problem of the
process and pump application engineers to make certain
that there is a sufficient pressure on the fluid being fed to the
pump so that the liquid does not boil in the suction system of
the pump.

We are all familiar with the realistic comment made in

many cases of crisis that, Things must get worse before
they will get better. This is equally true of the suction
conditions of a centrifugal pump. After fluid has finally been
forced through the suction system to the suction flange of a
pump a pressure drop occurs within the pump before the
impeller can increase the pressure.
Why a Pump Requires a Positive Suction Head
A pressure drop occurs between the pump suction flange
and the minimum pressure point within the pump impeller,
Figure 5, because of:

The term suction lift is very misleading. No reciprocating

gear, turbine vane or centrifugal pump can lift any liquid. It is
imperative that the liquid be forced into the pump for it to
operate properly. The weight of air in the earths atmosphere
is very frequently used to force liquid into the pump suction
and creates the illusion that a pump can lift a liquid. In a
closed process system where atmospheric or other pressure
in excess of the liquid vapor pressure is not available the
liquid level must always be maintained above the pump
The total energy of a liquid is the sum of potential energy
(pressure and elevation) and dynamic energy (velocity
head). To maintain a constant total energy any increase in
the velocity of a liquid reduces the pressure a corresponding
amount. In order for a pump to operate, the pressure
pushing the liquid into the pump must overcome the static
elevation, the friction and turbulence losses in the suction
line, accelerate the fluid, and maintain sufficient pressure to
keep the fluid in the suction line from boiling.

1) An increase in the velocity between the suction flange

and entrance of the impeller vanes.
2) Friction and turbulence losses between the suction flange
and entrance to the impeller vanes.

It is impossible to design a centrifugal pump in which

there is no pressure drop between the suction flange
and entrance to the impeller vanes. All pump systems
must have a positive suction pressure sufficiently high
to overcome this pressure drop within the pump and to
keep the fluid from boiling at the pumping temperature.

Figure 4.

Figure 3

This leaves essentially 33 feet of energy at the surface of any

normal water source at sea level to force the liquid into the

Heres the Explanation of Cavitation Pictures

On process pumps which are designed with top suction manifolds it is
possible to install plastic plates at the suction of the pump and by
means of strobotactic lights which flash on and off at the same rate as
the rotation of the pump, visualize the flow of fluid around the entrance
of the impeller vanes. Figure 1 shows a picture of such a pump with
the plastic and plate removed so that the impeller can be seen through
the suction portion of the pump case.

A pump is shown a the right of the figure with its center line
above the liquid level. The total useful energy between the
center line of the pump and the height to which the
atmospheric pressure holds the water is indicated by the
energy indicating tube attached to the suction of the pump.
Note the useful pressure which is not available to push the
liquid into the pump because of the position of the pump above
the liquid level. The pressure at the suction flange of the pump
is further reduced by friction and turbulence losses in the
suction line and by the energy which must go into accelerating
the fluid.

Initial stages of cavitation are indicated on Figure 2. It is noted that

vapor is beginning to form on the entrance edges of the vanes. Little
noise or reduction in pump performance is noted in this stage of
cavitation. Impeller vanes may show some pitting after extended
operation under these conditions especially if there is any tendency
toward corrosion present.
Figure 3 shown the increased formation of vapor which extends over a
larger portion of the entrance of the impeller vanes as a result of
increasing the suction lift on the pump which decreases the pressure
at this area. Normally, some noise would be evident in the pump and a
reduction in efficiency and head developed by the pump would
become apparent at this stage.

If an absolute pressure gauge were attached to the suction

of the pump exactly as indicated in Figure 6 the liquid would
stand at the height indicated, designating the useful pressure
at this point. As long as the useful pressure above the center
line of the pump is sufficient to overcome the pressure drop
within the pump, caused by the increase in velocity and the
friction between the suction flange and the entrance to the
impeller vanes, the pump will continue to operate properly.

Figure 4 indicates severe cavitation at the impeller vanes as the

pressure in the pump is further decreased by further increasing the
suction lift. Although the pump will still operate under these conditions,
it will be noisy, have a reduced head and efficiency. Vibration would
undoubtedly be noticeable and severe pitting would occur on the
impellers if operated for an extended period of time under these

Pumping Liquids with High Vapor Pressure

From Open Tanks
Figure 7 represents a pumping system for a fluid with high
vapor pressure such as acetone with the tank opened to the
atmosphere at sea level. The total energy at the surface of the
liquid is the same as indicated for water in Figure 6. The liquid
would rise to the level indicated in an absolute pressure gauge
standing in the liquid source. Thus although the total energy at
the surface of the acetone would be identical to that of water,
the useful pressure to force the fluid into the pump would be
appreciably reduced.

Pumping Water at Sea Level

Figure 6 is a schematic chart showing a general condition of
pump operation where the energy at the surface of the liquid
source is appreciable greater than the vapor pressure of the
liquid being handled. A specific example of this condition is
pumping water at room temperature where the liquid source is
under atmospheric pressure at sea level. The energy indicator
to the left shows the total energy at the surface of a water
source at seal level due to atmospheric pressure is
approximately 34 feet. Of this 34 feet, approximately one foot
must be maintained at all times to keep the water from boiling.

Looking at a pup installation identical to that in Figure 6, it is

noted that the same friction and velocity pressure losses would
occur in the case of acetone assuming it has essentially the
same viscosity as water. However, the useful pressure
available to force the fluid into the pump is much

Figure 5. Relation between available NPSH in a system and that

required by a pump.

smaller in this example because of the large amount of

pressure which is required to keep the fluid in the liquid
state. This is the reason why a pump handling a fluid with a
higher vapor pressure than that of water at room
temperature cannot be located as high above the surface of
the liquid to be pumped.
Figure 6. Pumping water at sea level.

What Effect Has Altitude on Pump Suction Conditions?

at or very near its boiling point. In other words, the vapor

pressure above the fluid is the same as that on the surface
of the liquid source. In such a case the total energy at the
liquid surface simply represents the vapor pressure of the
fluid which keeps it in liquid state. There is no additional
pressure available to push this liquid into the pump.
Therefore, the pump location must be below the surface of
this liquid as indicated in Figure 9. In this case the only
useful energy available to force the fluid into the pump is that
resulting from the difference in location between the center
line of the pump shaft and the surface of the boiling liquid.
This distance must be sufficient to overcome the friction in
the line, accelerate the fluid, and overcome the pressure
drop which occurs between the suction flange of the pump
and the entrance to the impeller vanes.

In these days of flying we are all conscious of the fact that

at high altitudes. At 20,000-foot elevation the atmospheric
pressure is approximately 15 feet of water. Assuming that
a pump was installed at this altitude, the pressure on a water
source at room temperature would be 15 feet. Since the
total energy to force the water into the pump must be
available at the liquid source and with the same vapor
pressure as with our sea level example in Figure 6, the
remaining useful pressure is only 14.6 feet. If we locate the
pump at the same distance above the water and try to pump
the same amount of water, there will be the same loss of
useful pressure due to pump location, friction in the suction
line, and acceleration of the fluid. The remaining useful
pressure to force the fluid into the pump would be entirely
inadequate and the pump would not operate under these
conditions until it was lowered closer to the liquid source.
See Figure 8.

Now, What Is NPSH?

In the above discussion we have used only absolute
pressure and energy values. We now want to identify these

What About Liquids at the Boiling Point?

head in feet of liquid absolute determined at the suction
nozzle and referred to datum, less the vapor pressure of the

Under certain conditions it is not possible for the pump

location to be above the liquid source. As the vapor pressure
increases in relation to the pressure on the surface of the
liquid source it is necessary to bring the center line of the
pump nearer and nearer the source of the liquid until finally
the pump must be installed below that liquid source.

The NPSH required by a pump is equivalent to the drop in

pressure between the suction flange of the pump and the
entrance to the impeller vanes plus the velocity head at the
pump suction. This is indicated graphically in Figure 5 and
represents the net positive suction head required by the
pump for proper operation. Any system must be so designed

The most common installation in process pump application

is where the tank is not open to atmospheric pressure
but is completely enclosed in a vessel and is maintained

Figure 8. Example of improper pump location when pumping

water at 20,000 feet.

Figure 7. Pumping liquid with high vapor pressure at seal level.

must be so designed that the available

NPSH of the system is equal to or
exceeds the NPSH required by the
The available NPSH of various systems
is indicated in Figure 6, 7, 8 and 9 and is
identical to the total useful energy at the
pump suction.
Since the NPSH required by a pump is a
fraction of losses within the pump and
the velocity of fluid in the pump, it is
dependent upon the speed of operation,
the amount of liquid being handled by
the pump, and the design of the whole
entrance section of the pump including
the vane angles and thickness.

e:An understanding of the
physical significance of NPSH is
formulae to pumping problems.

Figure 9. Typical pumping installation when pumping process fluid in a closed system.






Dan R. Rankin Peerless Pump Company,

In the May, 1953 issue of PETROLEUM REFINER, this exper

,Dan Ranki
shed an ar
e WhatI

We immediately asked him to write one more article and

explain in simple terms and with many illustrations a
method to calculate the NPSH for various conditions. Here
ee i
s an excel
important subject.

A MAJOR PROBLEM encountered in many pumping

applications, particularly those involving fluids at or near their
boiling points, is a lack of net positive suction head (NPSH).
Net positive suction head is the absolute pressure, above the
vapor pressure of the fluid pumped, available at the pump
suction flange, to move and accelerate the fluid entering the

Hz =static elevation of the liquid above the centerline of the

pump (on vertical pumps the correction should be
made to the entrance eye of the impeller) expressed
in feet. If the liquid level is blow the pump centerline,
Hz is minus.

If the NPSH available in an installation is insufficient, the pump

will cavitate and serious operational difficulties may develop.
These troubles can include serious reduction in capacity and
efficiency, excessive vibration, reduced life of pump parts due
to cavitation erosion, and damage to the pump from possible
vapor lock and running dry. A series of pictures illustrating
cavitation appeared in the May (page 162) issue, 1953, of

Hf =friction and entrance head losses in the suction piping

expressed in feet.

Hvp =absolute

vapor pressure of fluid at

pumping temperature expressed in feet of fluid.


The system NPSH available in an existing installation can

be measured as follows:

A centrifugal pump has a minimum required NPSH to prevent

cavitation, which varies with capacity. This characteristic is
inherent in the design of a pump and just as much a
performance characteristic as its head-capacity relation. In
order for a pump to operate cavitation-free, the system NPSH
available in an installation must exceed the required NPSH of
the pump for operating conditions.


Hsv = Pa + Ps + 2g Hvp


Pa = atmospheric pressure for the elevation of the
installation expressed in feet of fluid.

The NPSH required of a pump can be supplied by the pump

manufacturer. It is expressed in feet of fluid pumped as is total
head developed.

Ps = gage pressure at the suction flange of the pump

corrected to the pump centerline and expressed in
feet of fluid. Ps is minus if it is below atmospheric

The system NPSH available in a proposed installation can

be calculated by the formula:


2g = velocity head at the point of measurement of Ps

Hsv = Hp + Hz Hr Hvp

Hvp = absolute vapor pressure expressed in feet of fluid.

Hsv = NPSH expressed in feet of fluid

NPSH as explained defines suction defines suction conditions

of a pump and suction characteristic of a pump. Naturally,
NPSH and suction lift are related for suction lift also indicates
suction conditions.


Suction lift from known NPSH:

Hp =

absolute pressure on the surface of the liquid where the

pump takes suction expressed in feet of fluid.

Hs = Hp Hsv Hvp


Example 1. Open tank with liquid level below pump centerline.

Hs = total suction lift

The total suction lift is:

Hs = Hf Hz

Hs = Pa Hsv Hvp

Example 1.
Open Tank with Liquid Level Below
Pump Centerline

from (3)

Numerical Example:
Require 1000 gpm at 150 feet TDH pumping 85
F water at
1000 feet elevation above sea level. What is the maximum
total suction lift which can be handled using Pump A at 1750

For this application:

Hp = Pa
Hz is negative

Hs = Pa Hsv Hvp

Ps is negative

Pa = 32.8 feet (Atmospheric pressure at 1000 feet

elevation per Table 1).

Calculated available system NPSH:

Hsv = Pa + Hz Hf Hvp

Hsv = 7.3 feet Maximum NPSH required by Pump A

pumping 1000 gpm at 1750 rpm (Figure 1).
It should be noted the available NPSH must equal or
exceed the minimum required by the pump.

from (1)

Measured available system NPSH:


Hsv = Pa + Ps + 2g Hv

Hvp = 1.38 feet of water absolute vapor pressure at


from (2)

Example 2. Closed tank with liquid level above pump centerline.

Example 3. Open or vented tank with liquid level above pump centerline.

Hs Max. = 32.8 7.3 1.38 = 24.12 feet.

Above Pump Centerline

For this application:

Example 2.
Closed Tank with Liquid Level Above
Pump Centerline
For this application

Hp = Pa
Hz is Positive
Calculated available system NPSH:

Hp = Vapor pressure of fluid = Hvp

Hsv = Pa + Hz Hf Hvp

Hsv = Hvp + Hz Hf - Hvp

from (1)

Measured available system NPSH:

Hsv = Hz Hf
Calculated available system NPSH:
Hsv = Hz Hf

from (1) where Hp = Hvp

It should be noted that an installation with a so cal

om whi
takes suction exists at its saturation pres-sure for the prevailing
temperature. Thus, vapor pressure of the liquid equals the
pressure on the surface of the liquid and the two terms of the
basic NPSH equation nullify each other.

Measured available system NPSH:


Hsv = Ps + 2g P1 from (2) where Hvp = P1 + Pa

Numerical Example:
Require 700 gpm at 150 feet TDH when pumping water (steam
condensate) at sea level and at a temperature of 100 F. with 28inch Hg vacuum existing in the tank using Pump B at 1750 rpm
(Figure 1). What is the minimum liquid level above the pump
centerline required to prevent cavitation if the loss in the suction
piping equals 1 foot?

Hz Min. = Hsv + Hf
Hsv = 9.1 feet (Minimum required NPSH for Pump B
pumping 700 gpm at 1750 rpm per Figure 2).
Hf = 1 foot
Hz Min. = 9.1 + 1 = 10.1 feet
Example 3.
Open or Vented Tank with Liquid Level

Example 4. Vertical submerged pump in open pit.

is 7.3 feet. With the available system NPSH greater than that
required by the pump, the pump will perform satisfactorily.
Example 4.
Vertical Submerged Pump in Open Pit
For this application:
Hp = Pa
Hf = 0 since there is no suction piping.
Available system NPSH:
Hsv = Pa + Hz Hvp


The submergence, a term more frequently used in vertical

applications, for installation shown is:

Submergence = Hz + A
Numerical Example:
A pump required for 700 gpm at 66 feet TDH pumping water
at a temperature of 150 F. at an elevation of 5000 feet above
sea level. Using Pump C vertical turbine pump (Figure 2) two
stages is the minimum submergence required to prevent

Hz = Hsv Pa + Hvp
Pa = 28.3 feet (Atmospheric pressure at 5000 feet
elevation per Table 1).
Converted to feet of water at 150 F.:

Pa = .98 = 28.9 (Specific gravity = .98 at 150 F.)
Hsv = 22.5 feet (Minimum NPSH required by Pump C at
1760 rpm, 700 gpm per Figure 2)
Example 5. Enclosed vertical pump with closed tank above pump.

Hvp = 8.8 feet of water (Vapor pressure for 150 F. water)

Hsv = Pa + Ps + 2g Hvp
Numerical Example:

from (2)

Hz = 22.5 28.9 + 8.8 = 2.4 feet

Submergence Hz + A

Require 1000 gpm at 150 feet TDH handling at sea level

gasoline of .73 sp. gr. and 11.5 psia vapor pressure at the
pumping temperature. With a minimum liquid level of 2 feet
above the pump centerline and suction piping level losses equal
to 3 feet, is the NPSH available satisfactory for using Pump A at
1750 rpm?

A = 12 inches. For suction manifold for Pump C from

manufacturers data.
Submergence: 2.4 + 10 = 3.4 feet.

Example 5.
Enclosed Vertical Pump with Closed Tank
Above Pump
Calculated available system NPSH:

Hsv = Pa + Hz Hf Hvp
Pa = 34 feet of water (Atmospheric pressure at sea level
per Table 1).

Converted to feet of gasoline:

Hsv =Hz Hf

Pa = .73 = 46.5 feet

Measured available system NPSH:


Hz = 2

Hsv = Ps + 2g - P1 from (2) where Hvp = P1 + Pa

Hf = 3
Hvp = 11.5 psi

NOTE: Pump manuf


s NPSH cur
es must be
ed t
o pump suct
on f
ange by subt
D f
required NPSH because of impeller location.

Converted to feet of gasoline

Hvp =

from (1) where Hp = Hvp

11.5 x 2.31
= 36.4 feet

Numerical Example:
Require propane transfer pump 100 gpm at 25 feet TDH.
Minimum liquid height, Hz = 3 feet and friction in line to pump

Choose pump E at 1760 rpm, Figure 2, requiring 6.1 NPSH

at impeller eye.
Calculated available NPSH at pump suction flange:

Hsv = 46.5 + 2 3 36.4 = 9.1 feet

The required NPSH of Pump A at 1750 rpm (Figure 1)
Altitude vs. Atmospheric Pressure
Atm. Pressure
Atm. Pressure
Above Sea
in Feet of Water
Above Sea
in Feet of Water
at 75 F.
at 75 F.
5000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hsv = Hz Hf
Hsv = 3 2 = +1 = Available NPSH
Minimum required pump NPSH at suction flange = 6.1
Equate available NPSH to required pump NPSH and
determine minimum

1 = 6.1 D
D = 5.1 Minimum. Make 7 feet to provide safety factor.

Peerless Pump Company

2005 Dr. Martin Luther King St.
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7026

TIB #104 revised 02-06


Peerless Pump Company

Indianpolis, Indiana 46206-7026


The Selection of Vertical Turbine Pumps for


Plant Water Supply Systems

By R.H. BIRD Peerless Pump
Before a well for the plant water supply system is drilled, the probable characteristics should be obtained from available data
on nearby wells. Careful attention should be given to such factors as depth, diameter, screen size, sand production, and the
general pervious ness or stability of the strata which might contribute to the collapsing of the well if production were
Consideration should be given to the chemical quality of the water such as the pH value and presence of carbon dioxide
gas. These factors are somewhat a measure of corrosion tendencies and dictate special materials for the pump. Further, the
presence of iron or surface contamination of the water affects the potability and usefulness unless there is some chemical
treatment prior to its use around the plant.
The usual graphic method of plotting the log of a well in north-south and east-west planes gives at best (continued on page 2)

F I G . 1 - T H R E E - DI ME N S I O N A L CO N D I T I O N of a
well is best revealed by this slotted frame with
adjustable cards instead of a graphical plot

Copyright 2002 Sterling Fluid Systems (USA), Inc.

FIG. 2 FALSE DATA on water level occurs when

there are perforations above the pump bowls

Page 1

FIG .3-PU M PIN G SY ST E M PE R FO R M A N C E isaided by a w ellproduction graph,and FIG .4-R ecom m ended form and dim ensions forpum p sum p

a distorted view of the

misalignment. The use of a
slotted frame, F ig. 1, having
ad justable cards will show the
three dimensional condition of a
well. The usual log data is used
and the card representing the
elevations can be kept on file. A
piece of wooden dowel of
proper scale to represent the
maximum pump and column
can be inserted through the
series of card openings and
points of interference directly
determined. On this basis the
proper location of column
aligning spiders can be fixed to
assure the straight line-shaft.
When the well perforations are
above the pump bowls, there
will be
objectionable air
entrainment and false water level
datum will be registered
including the velocity head and
friction losses around the pump
bowls. (Fig.2.)

The production characteristics

of the well arc as important as
those of the pump and sufficient
test data should be taken to
define the various pumping
levels from the static through
the normal range and into the
"breakdown" region. Such a
graph, Fig. 3, will greatly aid
in the efficient performance of
the pumping system. A good
well is costly and demands
proper use to avoid over
pumping which may result in
sanding or collapsing.
For supply sources such as
rivers and lakes, there is small
change in the pumping levels
but the sump becomes an
important component which
should be designed on the basis
of scale model tests. The use of a
screen or trash rack is
allowance must be made for
inspection. Fig. 4 shows a
preference is for one pump per

The choice of the pumping unit is important in several

aspects and use should be made of the engineering
resources and experience of a reliable and well-established
Pump performance characteristics must be carefully fitted
into the total plant's requirements which vary widely in
applications for industry. The steep head -capacity curve
may graph, and be quite suitable for use with flu ctuating
well levels, but the system-head of a processing plant may
require the flat type of curve for which the pressure
would not be excessive when valves are closed. Usually,
the bowl diameter has

FIG 5 -Effectsofvariableson pum p perform ance,a help in

determ ining the range lim its


Page 2

been determined by the manufacturer for

the nominal well size with proper respect
to sufficient clearance to al low free entry,
but in extreme cases it may be advisable
to choose the next lower nominal size,
which is indicated by deformities in the
well or because some of the inflow is
above the bowls. There may be a
further limitation due to the restrictive
production of the well suggesting a low er
capacity pump. The initial cost and efficiency
of two pump sizes should be compared
over the amortization period in terms of
power cost.
The graph, Fig. 5, shows the usual pump
performance in terms of capacity. The
choice of the normal pump quantity (100%)
should be made with respect to the normal
well quantity which is about 15% below
the beginning of the "Breakdown" region.
It is desirable to have the maximum
horsepower of the pump near the normal
quantity. In the case of high capacity
pumps where the shutoff horsepower is
higher than at normal quantity, the engine
or motor must be sufficiently oversize or
protected by devices to stop the pump
or bypass the flow.
Since the head or pressure of the pump is
usually more directly indi cated by gauges, it
is sometimes more useful to the plant
operator to have the efficiency of the
pump and total system plotted against
head instead of the usual coordinate of
capacity. In this way the effects of wear
and corrosion, as well as the loss of
efficiency is more visual.
As an example of operating costs in
terms of changing plant efficiency, assume
an amortizing period of five years (21,600
hours at 12 hrs/day) a power cost of
1 1/2c/KWHR and a nominal pump load of
100 BHP. With a 91% motor the plant
requires 1,773,000 KWHR at a cost of $26,600.00. If the plant efficiency lowers from
75% to 74%, the operating power cost
would be increased $350.00 for this one point
drop. Such an index could be used in the
proper multiples to decide the best point to
make repairs or the replacement of
obsolete equipment. If Federal power
allocation and conservation should be
applied, such a check of changing
performance would be quite valuable.
For engine operation it is advisable to
choose a pump which has nearly constant
efficiency at normal capac ity for the
expected speed range. Selection of engine
serv ice
continuous duty is of extreme importance.
To enable the plant operator to limit the
range over which any one pump of a
group should be allowed to run, it is
suggested that the power quantity of
KWHRS per 1000 gallons or the equivalent
fuel consumption be plotted for various
capacity rates and heads, Fig.5.
Some applications require the pump to be
capable of reverse rotation without

excessive speed. From stud ies on the

transient behavior of pumps, the run-away
speed can be determined and for the
common pump types generally is not
sufficiently high to damage either pump
or motor. In passing it is noteworthy that
modern pumps are nearly as ef ficient when
operated as turbines.
Consideration must be given to the
cavitation characteristics of the pump if safe
operation is expected for restricted suction
conditions. If the operating range of the
plant could be narrowly controlled, it would
be possible to choose the pump which would
run near the threshold of cavitation with
maximum effici ency. As previously
ment ioned, Fig. 2, wells which have
some or all of the perforations above the
bowls are a distinct handicap to a pump
since the apparent water level is decreased
by the velocity head and friction losses, all
of which tend to aggrav ate suction

FIG 6 -Steam turbine horsepow errises w ith


conditions and induce cavitation. For unusual

requirements due to volatile liquids, hot
water, or high lifts, the pump
manufacturer should furnish the NPSH
curve for the pumps, NPSH is the net
positive suction head (absolute) above the
vapor pressure of the liquid pumped or is
equal to the atmospheric head less the
vapor pressure plus or minus the suction
head. The sign of addition or subtraction
depends upon whether there is suction
head like submergence or suction lift
The choice of mechanical features i n the
pump unit should be made from the basic
functional advantages or disadvantages The
fully enclosed type of impeller is wellknown for its general stability during
extended wear, hydraulic bal ance which is
more favorable to thrust bearing, and for
being insensi tive to axial adjustment over the
normal pumping range.
The semi-open impeller allows careful
finishing of the passages but is quite dependent
upon close running clearance at the mating
surface to minimize circulation losses. The
clearance is subject to fluctuation as the
head changes over the range and

necessitates adjustment for the max imum

head with subsequent penalty of circulation
loss for the minimum head. The bypassing of part of the normal capacity of
the pump to lower the quantity of power
does so at the expense of KWHRS/1000
gals. since the efficiency is correspondingly
lowered as the circulation losses increase.
The further feature of raising the semiopen impellers to develop a well during the
sanding phase and reseat ing after this or
after normal sand wear is offset by the
spiral type of erosion in the mating
surface which is not fully resurfaced by
readjust ment except at the expense of impeller port width. This loss of capacity
registers in the increase in KWHRS/1000
In the choice of the pump column two
general types of construction should be
considered. The enclosed line shaft with
proper seals at the bowl connection can

FIG 7 Speed effects on three variables in a gas


be lubricated with oil and supported in

close fitted bronze or phenol-plastic
bearings. This separation from sand and
water, together with the protective oil film,
adds to the life of the shaft and bearings. The
open line shaft is usually supported in rubber
bearings at which point the shaft may
have a journal sleeve of special alloys which
is intended for water lubrication and can
handle suspended sand due to the fluted
bearing construction and materials.
It should be noted that running clearances
are much greater than with bronze bearings
so that the magnitude of vibration is
somewhat higher. There is some question
that the natural damping quality of rubber
effectively suppresses the vibra tion due to
general misalignment or to critical speed.
Exposure to corrosion of the shaft, which
is usually low carbon steel, results in
horsepower loss reflected in possible
(KWHRS/1000 gals.). (Fig.5.)
The correct size of the column pile should
be determined by comparisons on the basis
of initial cost and power

FIG 8 Effects of horsepower and % full load speed on electric motor variables

cost (KWHRS/1000 gals.) due to the

change in friction losses. (Fig.5.)
The motive power is another important element of the system and
deserves careful thought. The horizontal or vertical steam turbine can be
used where the range of head capacity
dictates extremes of speed. The
turbine and pump have similar torque
characteristics and are effectively
coupled. A typical graph of the
horsepower versus RPM of a steam
turbine is shown in Fig.6.
For less speed range the gas or diesel
engine has useful flexibility and both
vertical and horizontal types are
available. This type of drive requires a
suitable clutch which can be supplemented to advantage by hydraulic
couplings or gears. See Fig.7 for
general performance characteristics.
Probably the more common drive
which is more readily adaptable to full
automatic control is the electric
motor-either the induction or synchronous type. As with the other
drives the pump torque characteristics
are easily adapted. Note from Fig.8
that the motor efficiency in terms of
output horsepower is broad and
combines to advantage with the
turbine pump for extreme changes of
head capacity even though the choice
of speeds may be more restricted. Erficiency and power factor can be improved by the use of the synchronous
motor, but there is a low limit of
horsepower below which it is not
The delivery piping with the various
fittings and flow devices completes the
load system and warrants thorough
Dimensional data such as elevations,
lengths, and tentative diameters should
TIB# 3 Revised 10-8-02

be represented in suitable
graphic form which can be consiaered
with such other factors as shock and
friction losses and the effects of age or
deposits on the total investment and
operating expense. Thus, an oversize pipe
system may be a saving when properly
For most demands, a net quantity
(gallons or cubic feet) of water is the
useful form and any added power to
develop pressure or velocity is intangible.
For example, a plant which delivers large
quantities at low levels and maintains
simultaneously a. small quantity at an
extreme high elevation or pressure
reflects serious waste of power due to the
large quantity and high pressure. An
auxiliary plant for this small quantity
would be preferred.
The well and pump should be protected
and guided by floats or other level
detectors. Lubrication controls should be
provided for the shaft bearings and in the
case of open line shaft type of column,
the device should pre-lubricate and postlubricate during the starting, stopping,
and reversing phases. The anti-reverse
ratchet can be used to some advantage if
no reversal can be permitted.
Speed controls are necessary for drives
other than electric motors of the
induction or synchronous type and
should be coupled with suitable pressure
devices for stabilizing the system.
Overload protection is pro vided for the
electric drive for such typical conditions
as sand locking or interference due to
sticks, stones, or other obstructions at the
impeller. Whether any of thes e devices
should be fully automatic or manual
depends upon the size, location or use of
the plant.
Page 4

Valuable supplements to the pumping plant are

recording devices for the flow, quantity and
rate, discharge pressure and other levels and
power measurements. These will aid the
supervisor in decisions affecting the total plant.
The total plant becomes a serviceable unit
when the components are combined to operate
within the prescribed limits. The factors of
quantity, pressure, power, time and materials
are summarized for the economical range and
safe operation as shown in Fig.5.The use of
the system beyond these limits clearly shows
the waste of the power dollar (KWHRS/1000
GPM) and the possible abuse of the well,
pump or drive.
Constructive supervision of such an
investment requires judgment and experience.
It is greatly augmented by carefully kept
records of the pumping quantities, time, cost
and the man-hours required for repair or
replacement. This information should be
supplemented by a sort of current library
having books, notes, papers, sketches and
drawings pertaining to the components. From
this back ground a thoughtful decision can be
made, for example, to add more units instead
of overloading the existing ones or when to
repair the old equipment or to replace with
modern improvements.
Successful operation of the pumping plant
implies an obligation to Management, to the
investor and to the consumer. This means a
proper choice of equipment based on sustained high performance and due regard for
the basic features of design.
The object of this limited article has been to
offer some general factors for supplementing
the plant operator's practical experience with
the water supply and kindred pumping units,
and to promote further study and continued
analysis of a given system so he may most
efficiently utilize present facilities, and take advantage of new techniques and more efficient
equipment available today.