Circulator Pumps

John Wayne Plumbing offers circulator pump services in Tuscaloosa AL. Specific type of pump used to circulate water through your plumbing system. Because they only circulate liquid within a closed circuit, they only need to overcome the friction of a piping system (as opposed to lifting a fluid from a point of lower potential energy to a point of higher potential energy).

Circulator pumps are usually electrically powered centrifugal pumps. As used in homes, they are often small, sealed, and rated at a fraction of a horsepower, but in commercial applications they range in size up to many horsepower and the electric motor is usually separated from the pump body by some form of mechanical coupling. The sealed units used in home applications often have the motor rotor, pump impeller, and support bearings combined and sealed within the water circuit. This avoids one of the principal challenges faced by the larger, two-part pumps: maintaining a water-tight seal at the point where the pump drive shaft enters the pump body.

Instant Hot Water with Circulator Pumps

Heaton Plumbing can install a circulating pump to circulate hot water so that a faucet will provide hot water instantly upon demand. This conserves time, energy and water. Water conservation has become important with rapidly expanding and urbanizing population, circulator pumps are becoming the popular solution.

In a typical one-way plumbing system without a circulation pump, water is simply piped from the water heater through the pipes to the tap. Once the tap is shut off, the water remaining in the pipes cools producing the familiar wait for hot water the next time the tap is opened. By add a circulator pump and constantly circulating a small amount of hot water through the pipes from the heater to the farthest fixture and back to the heater, the water in the pipes is always hot, and no water is wasted during the wait.

Thermostatically Controlled Circulation Pump

While the majority of these pumps mount nearest to the water heater and have no adjustable temperature capabilities, a significant reduction in energy can be achieved by utilizing a temperature adjustable thermostatically controlled circulation pump mounted at the last fixture on the loop. Thermostatically controlled circulation pumps allow owners to choose the desired temperature of hot water to be maintained within the hot water pipes since most homes do not require 120 °F (49 °C) degree water instantly out of their taps. Thermostatically controlled circulation pumps cycle on and off to maintain a user’s chosen temperature and consume less energy than a continuously operating pump. By installing a thermostatically controlled pump just after the farthest fixture on the loop, cyclic pumping maintains ready hot water up to the last fixture on the loop instead of wasting energy heating the piping from the last fixture to the water heater.

The traditional hot water recirculation system uses a dedicated return line from the point of use located farthest from the hot water tank back to the hot water tank. In homes where this return line was not installed the cold water line is used as a return line. The first of two system types has a pump mounted at the hot water heater while a “normally open” thermostatic control valve gets installed at the farthest fixture from the water heater and closes once hot water contacts the valve to control crossover flow between the hot and cold lines. A second type of system utilizes a thermostatically controlled pump which gets installed at the farthest fixture from the water heater. These thermostatically controlled pumps often have a built-in “normally closed” check-valve which prevents water in the cold water line from entering into the hot water line.

Compared to a dedicated return line, using the cold water line as a return has the disadvantage of heating the cold water pipe (and the contained water). Accurate temperature monitoring and active flow control can minimize loss of cold water within the cold water line. Technological advancements within the industry allow for incorporating timers to limit the operations during specific hours of the day to reduce energy waste by only operating when occupants are likely to use hot water. Additional advancements in technology include pumps which cycle on and off to maintain hot water temperature versus a continuously operating pump which consumes more electrical energy. Reduced energy waste and discomfort is possible by preventing occurrences of hot water line siphoning in open-loop hot water circulation systems which utilize the cold water line to return water back to the water heater.

Hot Water Line Siphoning occurs when water from within the hot water line siphons or is forced into the cold water line due to differences in water pressure between the hot and cold water lines. Utilizing “normally closed” solenoid valve significantly reduces energy consumption by preventing siphoning of non-hot water out of hot water lines during cold water use. Using cold water instantly lowers the water pressure in the cold water lines, the higher water pressure in the hot water lines force water through “normally open” thermostatic crossover valves and backflow check valves (which only prevent cold water from flowing into hot water line), increasing the energy demand on the water heater.

Circulator Pump Optimizing

In the past circulating pumps operated continuously 24 hours a day or utilized a timer to schedule operating times around anticipated hot water demand periods. In a residential environment where occupant’s lifestyles are anything but routine, using a 24-hour timer to schedule circulator pump operations would not be practical. Growing environmental concerns call for greener eco-friendly products capable of satisfying consumers with different lifestyles. John Wayne Plumbing can adapt an intelligent circulating pump control to an existing system. This instantly adds greener control capabilities like; cycle on and off based on a temperature set point (fixed/adjustable) or time-of-day or day-of-week or push-button on-demand or occupancy sensor or sound sensor and more. Minimizing circulator pump operations saves valuable resources and the environment.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps stand constant guard against water sneaking into your basement or lower level and ruining everything. It’s important not only to have a sump pump but to check it occasionally to make sure it’s still working properly. John Wayne Plumbing of Tuscaloosa AL offers the following;

  • Installation
  • Repair
  • Maintenance
  • Sump Pit Installation
  • Battery Backup System


It is important that your sump pump is properly sized and installed correctly so that it can handle any kind of moisture that comes its way. They make sure that they install a sump pump that can withstand the demands of pumping water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Sump Pump Battery Backup Installation

If you have a sump pump that has always worked, you probably don’t appreciate it as much as you should. heavy thunderstorms are not only common but expected. During thunderstorms, high winds and lightning have a tendency to knock out power. Unfortunately, sump pumps don’t work without electricity. Ironically, the time you need your sump pump the most, may be the very time it doesn’t work. That’s why you need a Sump Pump Battery Backup system. A backup sump pump is designed to start working when your main sump pump stops. Or it can work in tandem with your main pump when the volume is extremely heavy. The battery backup even has an alarm that goes off if there are any problems with the battery, connections, or a clogged pump. After all, a backup sump pump system with a dead battery, loose cables, or a clogged pump is like having no backup at all. The backup sump pump protects against loss of power, primary pump failure, excessive water inflow and float switch failures.

All backup sump pumps offer:

  • Automatic operation and charging
  • Monitoring of battery and pump conditions
  • Monitoring of the battery fluid level
  • Dual float switches
  • Easy installation
  • Reliability backed by a 3-year warranty

Backup sump pumps sound an alarm when:

  • Power is out, or the circuit breaker has blown
  • Battery fluid is low and water needs to be added
  • Battery is dead, defective, or battery terminals need to be cleaned
  • Pump was activated

Sump Pump Cycle Check

Makes sure your sump pump is working with this easy test:

  • Lift the lid off the sump pit and slowly pour in water.
  • The float should rise triggering the motor.
  • The pump should run long enough to lower the water level and click off.
  • If you add water and nothing happens, your pump may need service.


A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basement of homes. The water may enter via the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, funneling into the basin or because of rain or natural ground water, if the basement is below the water table level. Sump pumps are used where basement flooding happens regularly and to remedy dampness where the water table is above the foundation of a home. Sump pumps send water away from a house to any place where it is no longer problematic, such as a municipal storm drain or a dry well.

Pumps may discharge to the sanitary sewer in older installations. Once considered acceptable, this practice may now violate the plumbing code or municipal bylaws, because it can overwhelm the municipal sewage treatment system. Municipalities urge homeowners to disconnect and reroute sump pump discharge away from sanitary sewers. Fines may be imposed for noncompliance. Many homeowners have inherited their sump pump configurations and do not realize that the pump discharges to the sewer. If the discharge is fed to a laundry sink in the basement, it’s likely going to the sewer.

Usually hardwired into a home’s electrical system, sump pumps may have a battery backup. The home’s pressurized water supply powers some pumps, eliminating the need for electricity at the expense of using potable water, potentially making them more expensive to operate than electrical pumps and creating an additional water disposal problem. Since a sump basin may overflow if not constantly pumped, a backup system is important for cases when the main power is out for prolonged periods of time, as during a severe storm.

There are generally two types of sump pumps — pedestal and submersible. The pedestal pump’s motor is mounted above the sump, where it is more easily serviced, but is also more conspicuous. The pump impeller is driven by a long, vertical extension shaft and the impeller is in a scroll housing in the base of the pump. The submersible pump is entirely mounted inside the sump, and is specially sealed to prevent electrical short circuits.

Sump pump systems are also utilized in industrial and commercial applications to control water table-related problems in surface soil. An artesian aquifer or periodic high water table situation can cause the ground to become unstable due to water saturation. As long as the pump functions, the surface soil will remain stable. These sumps are typically ten feet in depth or more; lined with corrugated metal pipe that contains perforations or drain holes throughout. They may include electronic control systems with visual and audible alarms and are usually covered to prevent debris and animals from falling in.

Sump Pump Components

Modern sump pump components consist of:

A plastic, metal or concrete container forming a sump basin, approximately 2 feet (0.6 m) across and 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 m) deep, 15 to 25 U.S. gallons (60 to 100 litre) capacity. A sump pump, either 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower (200 or 400 W), either battery or mains powered (or both).

Your Pump selection

The selection of a sump pump will rest heavily on the application in which it is going be used. To select the appropriate sump pump, consider the following:

Automatic sump pump vs. a manual operation sump pump — Selection of a manual sump pump means that someone will turn the pump on and off when it is appropriate. Selecting an automatic sump pump means that a switch is wired to the sump pump to turn it on or off at appropriate water levels. Automatic switches include pressure switches, low level pressure switches and float switches.

Power Needed — The Sump pump power will vary from 1/4 horsepower to multiple horsepower.
The head pressure on the sump pump — The head pressure of a sump pump describes the maximum height that the pump will move water. For instance, a sump pump with a 15 ft maximum head, also called a shutoff head, will raise water up 15 ft before it completely loses flow. Technically, head pressure is defined as an expression of a pressure in terms of the height of fluid; P = yρg, where y is the fluid column height, ρ is fluid density and g is the acceleration of gravity. Other considerations may be added to overall head pressure, including loss from elbows/bends and friction loss from long horizontal runs.

Power cord length — It is important to consider the length of the cord of any special switches that may be connected to the pump. Running a more powerful electrical motor a long distance from the main service panel will require heavier gauge wires to assure sufficient voltage at the motor for proper pump performance.
Phase and voltage — Sump pumps powered from the AC mains are available with single-phase three-phase motors. rated for 110-120, 220-240, or 460 volts. Three-phase power is typically not available in residential locations.

Water level sensing switch type — Pressure switches are fully enclosed, usually inside the pump body, making them immune to obstructions or floating debris in the sump basin. Float switches, particularly the types attached to the end of a short length of flexible electrical cable, can get tangled or obstructed, especially if the pump is prone to movement in the basin due to torque effects when starting and stopping. Pressure switches are typically factory set and not adjustable, while float switches can be adjusted in place to set the high and low water levels in the sump basin.

Backup system and alarm — If redundancy and an alert system are vital for operation of your sump pump, consider a backup system and/or alarm.

Sump Pump Backup components

A secondary, battery-powered sump pump can operate if the primary sump pump goes out. A battery powered sump pump requires the following components in parallel with the others above:

A 12 volt battery sump pump with its own water level sensor, piping, and check valve (the pipes usually join after the check valves to prevent reverse flow through the primary when the secondary unit is pumping). It must be a marine deep cycle battery, or long-life standby battery. Standard automobile batteries are not suitable for this application. Auto batteries are designed to deliver a high current for a short period. Sump pumps need a smaller, smoother current for a much long time. A trickle-charge battery charger can alternately have a specialized controller to manage, monitor and test that the battery is holding a charge.

Alternative sump pump systems can be driven by municipal water pressure. Water-powered sump pumps are similar to backup battery-driven systems with a separate pump, float and check valves. One can also use an ejector pump that uses an ordinary garden hose to supply high pressure water and another garden hose to carry the water away. Although such ejector pumps waste water and are relatively inefficient, they have the advantage of having no moving parts and offer the utmost in reliability.

If the backup sump system is rarely used, a component failure may not be noticed, and the system may fail when needed. Some battery control units test the system periodically and alert on failed electrical components. A simple, battery-powered water alarm can be hung a short distance below the top of the sump to sound an alarm should the water level rise too high.

Sump Pump Maintenance

Typical recommendations suggest examining equipment every year. Pumps running frequently due to higher water table, water drainage, or weather conditions should be examined more frequently. Sump pumps, being mechanical devices, will fail eventually, which could lead to a flooded basement and costly repairs. Redundancy in the system (multiple/secondary pumps) can help to avoid problems when maintenance and repairs are needed on the primary system.

When examining a sump pump and cleaning it, dirt, gravel, sand, and other debris should be removed to increase efficiency and extend the life of the pump. These obstructions can also decrease the pump’s ability to drain the sump, and can allow the sump to overflow. The check valve can also jam from the debris. Examine the discharge line opening, when applicable, to ensure there are no obstructions in the line. Even a partially obstructed discharge line can force a sump pump to work harder and increase its chance of overheating and failure.

Float switches are used to automatically turn the sump pump on when filled to a preset level. Float switches must be clear of any obstructions within the tank. A float guard can be used to prevent the float switch from accidentally resting on the housing, and remaining on.