how long can a submersible pump run continuously

How Long Can A Submersible Pump Run Continuously: 9 Surprising Facts

Last Updated on July 16, 2023

The next time you go shopping for a submersible pump, or you already have one, you might be wondering about how long it can run continuously. A submersible pump is ideally suited for several applications, including irrigation, sewage pumping and mining.

With a reliable water source, a submersible pump can run continuously for as long as required. But, running it dry can cause severe damage to the pump and shorten its lifespan. It’s essential to monitor the water level and ensure that the pump is always submerged in water. 

Also, several factors can affect the pump’s performance and lifespan, including the type of motor, water temperature, and pump size.

Our article will discuss these factors along with submersible pump slow-down procedures, overheating issues, and more. So, let’s get started.

What Factors Contribute to a Continuous Submersible Pump?

What Factors Contribute to a Continuous Submersible Pump

To ensure your submersible pump runs continuously, several factors must be considered. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • No 01: Pump Quality
  • No 02: Proper Sizing
  • No 03: Adequate Cooling
  • No 04: Submersion and Avoiding Dry Running
  • No 05: Pump Motor Design
  • No 06: Environmental Factors
  • No 07: Regular Maintenance
  • No 08: Water Table Depth and Well Size
  • No 09: Demand for Water

No 01: Pump Quality

You’ll want to invest in a submersible pump built to last, like a sturdy ship that can weather any storm. Pump quality is one of the most critical factors that contribute to a continuous submersible pump. Here are three reasons why pump quality matters:

  • Durability

A submersible pump built to last is made of high-quality materials that can withstand the corrosive effects of water and other elements. The pump should be able to withstand the pressure of the water and continue running without any issues.

  • Efficiency

Ideally, a high-quality pump is designed to operate efficiently, running continuously without overheating or burning out. This ensures that the pump can operate at peak performance for extended periods, reducing the risk of downtime and costly repairs.

  • Reliability

Submersible pumps must be reliable. A high-quality pump from a reputable manufacturer is designed to be reliable, meaning it can run continuously without any issues. This ensures that you can rely on the pump to do its job when you need it most.

No 02: Proper Sizing

If you want your water needs to be met without any issues, you must ensure your submersible pump is correctly sized for the application and demands. Proper sizing is crucial to ensure the pump can operate efficiently and effectively.

An undersized submersible pump may need help to meet the required flow rate, leading to frequent cycling and potential damage. On the other hand, an oversized pump may consume excessive energy and operate inefficiently, leading to unnecessary costs.

No 03: Adequate Cooling

Ensure your submersible pump stays cool during operation by having proper cooling mechanisms or access to a flow of cool water. Submersible pumps generate heat during operation. You should understand the cooling features of your pump and to implement additional cooling measures if needed.

No 04: Submersion and Avoiding Dry Running

While fully submerged in water, it’s crucial to avoid running a submersible pump dry to prevent damage to its motor and components. Here are some key points to consider for submersion and avoiding dry running:

  • Ensure the pump is installed at a depth where it’ll remain submerged even during low water levels or fluctuations.
  • Use a float or pressure switch to automatically turn off the pump if the water level drops too low, preventing dry running.

No 05: Pump Motor Design

An intermittent-duty or continuous-duty motor determines a submersible pump’s ability to operate for extended periods.

Intermittent-duty motors can only run for short periods before they need a break to cool down. This type of motor is often used in applications where the pump is not expected to run continuously, such as in residential sump pumps.

But, in more demanding applications such as agriculture, industrial, or municipal water supply, a continuous-duty motor is essential. Continuous-duty motors are designed to handle prolonged operations without overheating or experiencing motor failure.

No 06: Environmental Factors

Here are four specific environmental factors that can significantly impact a submersible pump’s continuous running time:

  • Water Temperature

The temperature of the water can affect the efficiency of the pump’s motor and the viscosity of the fluid being pumped. If the water’s too hot or too cold, it can cause the motor to overheat or slow down, leading to reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear.

  • Debris and Sediment

Clogging, reduced flow, and increased stress on the pump’s impeller can occur as a result of debris and sediment in the water. This leads to decreased performance and lifespan.

  • Ambient temperature

The temperature of the surrounding environment can also affect the pump’s motor efficiency. If the ambient temperature is too high, it can lead to overheating of the motor, while low temperatures can cause the motor to slow down.

  • Water chemistry

A pump’s performance and lifespan can also be affected by the pH level, salinity, and other chemical factors in the water. Abrasive or corrosive water can damage the pump’s components, while highly acidic or alkaline water can cause corrosion.

No 07: Regular Maintenance

Pay attention to the upkeep of your equipment if you want to ensure its optimal performance and avoid any potential setbacks. Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity and continuous operation of a submersible pump.

One important aspect of regular maintenance is inspecting and replacing worn-out parts. Over time, the pump’s components can become worn or damaged, which can cause the pump to fail.

It’s also important to lubricate the pump’s components to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear. Proper electrical connections are another important maintenance aspect, as loose or damaged connections can cause the pump to fail.

Maintenance TaskFrequencyTools Needed
Inspect and replace worn-out partsEvery 6 monthsScrewdriver, pliers, replacement parts
Lubricate componentsEvery 3 monthsLubricant, cloth
Check and maintain electrical connectionsEvery 3 monthsMultimeter, screwdriver

No 08: Water Table Depth and Well Size

Submersible pumps can perform better and last longer if you maintain the correct depth for the water table and choose the right well size. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the water table depth and well size for your specific situation:

i) The deeper the water table, the more efficient the pump will be, as it won’t have to work as hard to draw water from the source. By doing this, you can also prolong the pump’s life since it won’t be subjected to as much wear and tear.

ii) If you have a larger household or business with high water demands, you’ll want to select a well size that can accommodate these needs. A larger well can help to ensure that there is enough water available to meet your requirements without putting undue strain on the pump.

iii) Conversely, if you have a smaller household or business with lower water demands, a smaller well may be more appropriate. In this way, you can prevent overworking the pump, which can lead to premature failure and costly repairs.

No 09: Demand for Water

Now, it is time to consider the demand for water and its impact on the continuous running time of your submersible pump. The pump’s capacity must match the required water flow to avoid excessive strain and premature wear.

To understand your water needs, you should consider the number of people or appliances that will draw water from the well system. For larger households or businesses, you may need a bigger well to meet the water demands and overwork the pump.

How do you slow down a submersible pump?

How do you slow down a submersible pump

To slow down your submersible pump, you can easily adjust the speed control or consider installing a variable frequency drive (VFD).

If you choose to adjust the speed control, you’ll be able to slow down the pump without needing any additional parts or equipment. This method is simple and effective, and it allows you to adjust the speed of your pump to fit your specific needs.

On the other hand, installing a variable frequency drive will give you even more control over the speed of your submersible pump. This type of device is equipped with electronic components, such as sensors and transistors, that can adjust the speed of an AC electric motor.

Can a submersible pump overheat?

If you’re not careful, you might be dealing with an overheating submersible pump due to factors such as hot liquids or buildup that reduces water flow. Overheating can lead to serious damage to the pump, so you should take steps to prevent it.

One way to do this is to ensure that the liquid being pumped is not too hot for the pump to handle. If you’re unsure about the temperature of the liquid, it’s always a good idea to check before starting the pump.

Another common cause of submersible pump overheating is a buildup in the pump itself. As ochre or scale builds up inside the pump, it reduces the flow of water, reducing the motor’s cooling capability. This can lead to overheating and, eventually, damage to the pump.

How long does it take a submersible well pump to cool down?

You may be worried about damaging your motor, but don’t worry, it only takes a minute to cool down before you can safely restart it. When the motor runs, it generates heat which needs to dissipate before it can be used again. Here are the three things that happen when the submersible well pump is cooling down:

  • The motor’s fan continues to spin even when the motor is turned off. This helps cool down the motor by creating an airflow that dissipates the heat.
  • Also, the water in the well cools down the motor. The heat generated by the motor is transferred to the water, which then carries it away from the motor.
  • When the motor gets too hot, the thermal overload protection system kicks in. The system shuts down the motor to prevent it from overheating and causing damage to the pump.

Why is my submersible pump cycling on and off frequently?

The most common reason for this problem is the loss of air charge in the water tank. When the air charge level in the tank drops below a certain level, the pump starts cycling on and off frequently. This strains the motor and other components of the pump because it has to work harder to maintain the water pressure.

Another reason for the frequent cycling of the submersible pump is a damaged bladder in newer bladder-type water tanks. If the bladder becomes damaged, it cannot hold the air charge properly, and the pump starts short cycling.

In both cases, the solution is to check the air pressure in the tank and adjust it to the recommended level. If the bladder is damaged, it needs to be replaced.

How do I know if my submersible pump is bad?

How do I know if my submersible pump is bad

Here are four indicators that suggest your submersible pump may require repair or replacement:

i) If the pump is constantly running, then there may be a problem with the pressure switch. This component regulates the water pressure and turns off the pump when it reaches a specific level. If the switch is faulty, the pump will keep running, leading to overheating and breakdown.

ii) Reduced water pressure could be due to a clogged filter or damaged impeller, which can restrict water flow and lower pump efficiency. An ineffective impeller can also harm the pump’s ability to push water through the pipeline.

iii) If there are unusual noises from the pump like grinding, screeching, or rattling sounds, it may indicate a motor-bearing or impeller issue. In such cases, it is best to turn off the pump and seek professional help.

iv) Any changes in the color or odor of your water supply could signal water contamination. A faulty pump can cause harmful bacteria, sediment, or contaminants to enter the water source, posing risks to your health.

If you suspect any contamination, stop using the water immediately and call a professional to inspect the pump and water supply.

Submersible Pumps: An Eco-Friendly Solution for Continuous Water Supply

Submersible pumps are a cost-effective and dependable choice for ensuring continuous water supply. Proper maintenance and monitoring are crucial to extending the pump’s lifespan, which can reach up to several years.

But, factors such as usage and environmental conditions can influence its longevity. Keeping up with performance checks and prompt repairs can mitigate such issues.

On top of that, submersible pumps offer low noise levels and high energy efficiency, making them an eco-friendly option that also reduces running costs. They are capable of pumping water from deeper depths while remaining corrosion-resistant and durable.

Considering these benefits, submersible pumps are a worthwhile investment for both domestic and industrial uses. By leveraging this technology and maintaining it properly, you can enjoy a steady and reliable supply of water for decades.

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