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Domestic Water Booster Pumping Systems

Domestic Water Booster Pumping Systems

Domestic water booster pumps are auxiliary pumps which are used to increase or maintain pressure in a potable water system. Booster pumps are most commonly used in systems where there is an inconsistent demand for water. When the demand is low, the booster pump is on standby. When the demand is high, the booster pump is activated and maintains the necessary water pressure to meet the newly increased demand.
Booster pressure systems typically incorporate one or more pumps, including the tanks and control devices. The systems are designed to maintain adequate water pressure in "mid-rise" structures, low-pressure areas, "high-rise" structures, and facilities that have a high variance in water demand. Booster pressure systems are triggered to operate when the rate of water usage increases or the water supply pressure drops below acceptable levels.Circulation Pumps are used within standard plumbing systems to circulate liquefied gases, special liquids, and potable water. Circulation pumps are usually centrifugal but can also include turbine pumps.

What Are Water Booster Pumps?

Booster pumps are a type of centrifugal pump generally used to increase the pressure of liquid that is already flowing from one place to another in a pipeline. They are used in many varied applications and may be used in conjunction with vertical turbine pumps or vertical submersible pumps to aid in boosting the pressure (head) of drinking or irrigation water being pumped from wells. Booster pumps are also often used in pipelines to add pressure (head) to move the liquid easily to the next pump or to its ultimate destination at the end of the pipeline.

Booster pumps are also used in many process applications, such as where the pressure (head) required for the domestic service is much more than one pump can deliver alone. They may also be used where a second pump is required to make sure that the pumps in the system do not cavitate. Booster pumps generally work within the following ranges:

  • Flow rate ranges between 5 and 10,000 gpm
  • Total head (pressure) will range between 200 and 7,500 ft
  • Horsepower ranges between 1 and 5,000 hp

Types of Water Booster Pumps

Single-stage booster pumps are generally used in private residences or other buildings that are located some distance from the municipal water supply. They will also be installed where water pressure at the building is inadequate. They are useful for irrigation systems when the well pump doesn’t have sufficient pressure for the distance the water needs to travel and the water flow need.

Multi-stage system configurations are often used to boost water supply in hilly areas, for both agricultural, commercial, and residential uses. They’re also essential in tall buildings.

Sizing Considerations for Booster Pump Systems in Buildings

Every building or structure will require different sizes of booster pump systems depending on the footprint of the building and the height of the building. As water moves away from the initial entry into the structure, the water pressure goes down and the further it goes the pressure is even less.

When you are in the design phase, this is the best time to ascertain the size of the booster pump system. Be sure to include engineers and any other experts in the conversation that you trust. Having their input in the design phase will mitigate problems with the structure’s water pressure later. The following factors will help you to decide what size you will need.

Flow Rate

Calculate the flow rate or gallons per minute (gpm) - this is based on the “Fixture Unit” method created by the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE).

The Fixture Unit approach assigns a value to each fixture or a specific group of fixtures normally encountered in a building. Once you determined the total value of the fixtures in the building, the ASPE table assigns the necessary gallons per minute based on the likelihood that multiple fixtures will be used at the same time

Varying Flow Rate

Varying flow rates generally occur throughout the day in buildings depending on building use. This occurs because there are high use times and low use times throughout the day. Most notably in an apartment building or hotel, the flow rate will be less during nighttime hours because people will be sleeping.

Conversely, the morning hours and evening hours would most likely have peak demand. The morning in a residential apartment or multi-family building would result in a peak flow usage as many people get ready for work at the same time. Even when the flow rates vary, there will still need to be constant pressure at each fixture.

Total Dynamic Head

This is calculated by combining the static head (vertical distance or lift) and the friction head (resistance to flow within various components)

As discussed above every floor in a high-rise building translates into the loss of pressure loss the water supply (static head). Friction losses and vertical losses are also considered for water to reach higher floors. Every booster pump system selected is sized to overcome static head and friction losses at a specified gallon per minute or flow rate.

Number of Pumps

Decide on the number of pumps your system will utilize. The numbers of pumps your system needs will depend on the gallons per minute or gpm. Selecting more than one pump for your system allows the pumps to alternate usage. This extends the life of the pumps and maintains the integrity of the system. Your mechanical engineer will be able to help you with this determination.

Final Things to Consider

Enlist the help of professionals and industry experts when designing your building to ensure the proper specifications and building codes are met. Domestic water boosting pumping systems are an integral part of many water delivery systems and should be explored fully before any final decisions are made.

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