old water pump infographic

What is a water pump?

A water pump is a device for transporting water. The purpose can be irrigation or drainage or the water can be used to operate a device (e.g. fountain) or for cooling (engine cooling in motor vehicles).



Types of water pumps

Water pumps are available in many different designs, which are optimized for the transport of the medium water. Typical designs are:

  • blankCentrifugal pump
  • Piston pump
  • Plunger pump
  • Archimedes’ screw
  • Hydraulic rams
  • Bucket-wheel


Types of motor for a water pump

A water pump must exert forces on the water so that it can be transported from its starting point to its destination. On one side these forces act as suction, on the other side as pressure. In order to apply these forces, the pump needs energy. The following energy sources are possible:

  • Manual
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Wind


Household and garden tools mostly use electrical energy or manual. Petrol pumps are preferred for use anywhere. Historically, water as an energy source has also played a major role in transporting water (water wheel).




What water pump do I need?

Water pumps are available as different types, which are optimized for certain fields of application.

Dive pumps

As the name suggests, submersible pumps are immersed in the water they are supposed to transport. They do not build up high pressure but can pump a lot of water in a short time. Depending on the design, dirty water can also be pumped with a submersible pump. Clearwater submersible pumps are used, for example, in a drainage system. Special submersible pumps, which can be operated with 12 V, are used in mobile homes or on boats.

They are generally not suitable for high-pressure applications. However, special submersible pressure pumps are available for this purpose.


Fire pumps

Pumps are water pumps that transport clear water from a well. Deep well pumps have a special slim design so that they can be used in pipe wells. They generate a high pressure so that they are also suitable for applications that require this pressure.


Garden pumps

Different types of pumps are used in the garden.

There are self-priming garden pumps which are installed outside the water and suck the water through a hose which should be closed with a foot valve.

Pond pumps are used on the one hand to move the pond water and on the other hand to operate water games or streams. A solar pond pump is particularly environmentally friendly.

Rain barrel pumps to pump water from a rain barrel to irrigate the garden. Cistern pumps have a similar task.


Domestic waterworks

A domestic waterworks supplies a garden with water or helps to minimize the use of drinking water in a private household. For such water supply, a high pressure must be maintained in the pipe system. For this purpose, a domestic waterworks consists of three parts: the actual pump, a pressure compensation tank and a pressure control system.

A domestic water automat is a water pump, which is equipped with a control unit for an on and off automatic. It is connected between the water source and the extraction point. An opening in the extraction point detects a pressure drop and switches the pump on. After closing the tapping point, the control unit switches the pump off again when the cut-off pressure is reached.


Petrol motor pumps

A petrol motor pump is used when there is no power supply available for an electric pump. This can be the case for irrigation in remote gardens or agricultural fields, for water supply on a construction site or for emergency drainage in the event of flooding.


Bilge pumps

Bilge pumps are used to pump out the bilge, the deepest part of the ship’s hull. Here water can penetrate through a leak or overflowing waves as well as through rain and should be pumped off. There are electric and manual bilge pumps. There are also special bilge pumps for kayaks.




Characteristics of a water pump


Amount of promotion

The highest head of a pump at any flow rate. Hmax is used as the symbol, the unit is meter (m).


Power consumption

The power consumed by the pump. The character P is used, the unit is Watt (W) or Kilowatt (kW).


Max grain size

Describes the maximum size of dirt particles in water and is usually given in millimeters (mm).


Max flow rate

The largest flow rate to be expected under working conditions. The symbol used is Qmax and the unit is liters per hour (l/h), liters per second (l/s) or cubic meters per hour (m³/h).

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