How Does Chicago’s River Turn Green every St. Patty’s Day?March 14, 2019
Every March 17th since 1962, the Chicago River turns green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In other words, it gets to look like a Willy Wonka candy river that would get Augustus Gloop excited. Normally if your water is green it means you have a problem, but this day is an exception. On March 17th, even the river gets to be Irish for a day. But how does it happen you might ask The operation is carried out every year by Chicago’s plumber union. A crew of 6 pours dye into the river. The dye is a powder substance that is orange colored until it turns green when it touches the water. Although the exact recipe behind the dye is top-secret, the dye is (surprisingly) environmentally friendly and has been described as similar to food coloring. The crew works from 2 boats. One large boat holds 4 crew members while a smaller boat holds 2. The larger boat takes point and disperses the dye into the water while the other boat follows behind to spread the dye. The entire process takes 40 pounds of powder about 45 minutes to turn the water green. How long the color lasts can vary but the water can remain green up to a few days. If green rivers aren’t your thing and you wish to celebrate St Patty’s day in the motherland, visit the Irish village of Dripsey. The village holds the second shortest St. Patty’s Day parade in the world. The parade lasts for 100 yards, or the distance in between the village’s two pubs. You have to hand it to them, at least the Irish have their priorities straight. If you don’t like parades either, visit the Guinness brewery in Dublin. If you can’t make it this year, don’t worry. Ireland granted the brewery a lease of 9000 years (not a typo) for the land the brewery sits on. Once again, priorities all figured out. At PumpProducts.com, we usually celebrate with some Irish soda bread in the break room and greening up the office with some Myers and Zoeller pumps. Not only is St. Patrick’s Day a golden opportunity to justify listening to bagpipe music but it’s also the only socially acceptable day of the year to wear green pants and a hat with a buckle on it. From all of us here at PumpProducts.com, stay safe and have a great St. Patrick’s Day! Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, stocking availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800 to speak to an expert today.
5 Tips to Prevent Frozen PipesMarch 6, 2019
Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s classroom once again! This week’s lesson is an important one. The Inspector happened to look out his window the other day and noticed it’s still cold outside. The Inspector loves hot cocoa and skiing just as much as the next world renowned pump expert but one thing about winter that gives him the chills is the potential for frozen pipes. The Inspector is getting goose bumps just thinking about it. How can a pump properly function if the plumbing system around it isn’t functioning The Inspector cares about pumps almost more than world peace so he has decided to make a list of preventative measures you can take in order to keep your pipes from freezing. Turn up the Heat The Inspector’s first tip is perhaps the most obvious sounding on this list. If you decide to go away during the winter (hopefully you’re vacationing in a warm place, the Inspector recommends Cancun), it’s a good idea to keep the heat on while you’re away. Paying a little money for the heating bill can save the money it’s going to cost if a pipe freezes and bursts. A good rule of thumb to follow is setting the heat above 50 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re away. If you’re not going away this winter, it can also be beneficial to keep the temperature consistent in your home during both day and night. Let the Faucet Drip Allowing a slight drip from a faucet relieves pressure in a system. Even a trickle can help prevent pipes from freezing. When a pipe freezes, it is the pressure created between the blockage and faucet that causes the pipe to burst. An open faucet can prevent pressure from building up. If a faucet has both cold and hot taps, open both slightly. If a faucet has a single handle, set the faucet to warm. Seal off Cracks and Holes Exposed pipes are more vulnerable to cold air. Common places where cracks occur are window and door frames as well as in the back of cabinets. Make sure that if you notice an exposed pipe, you seal it up. Seals help to contain warm air and protect against cold drafts. A caulk or spray foam insulation make for effective seals. Open up Cabinet Doors Opening cabinet doors, especially in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms where there is more plumbing, is an easy measure to take in the war against frozen pipes. Doing this will allow warmer air to circulate and balance the temperature in a house. You don’t need to keep your cabinets open all winter (the Inspector doesn't have the will power to fight against snacks staring at him in the face that long) but this is a good idea to do periodically. Remember to protect your food and keep anything harmful in the cabinets away from pets or children as well. Add Insulation Some pipes may need more insulation than others depending on where they’re located. Extra insulation will help keep the pipe the same temperature as the water inside it. Materials such as foam rubber or fiberglass can be fitted onto pipes for extra insulation. Please keep in mind a pipe will still freeze if it is exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period of time. The Inspector hopes these tips help. If you experience any issues with frozen pipes there are always solutions such as allowing hot water to run which can melt the ice in the pipe. Of course if things get really serious, calling your local plumber is never a bad idea. As always, if you are in need of a pump, pump accessory, or just have a pump question and need a friendly voice to talk to, call our pump experts. They can give you advice on how best to maintain your pump during the winter months. Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, stocking availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800 to speak to an expert today.
5 Tips to Prevent Basement FloodsJanuary 30, 2019
Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s classroom! This is the space where the Inspector serves up knowledge like Gordon Ramsey serves out vaguely offensive British insults in the kitchen. This week we'll be talking about how to keep your basement flood free. The Inspector would venture to guess that most people can agree one swimming pool is enough. You buried that orange shag carpet in the basement for a reason, you never wanted to see it again. Now there it is...floating on top of a basement shaped puddle along with a participation award in athletics and the rest of your valuables. Fear not though, the Inspector didn't go to 12 years of pump school and travel the globe in search of world's biggest pumping problems just to leave you whatever the opposite of high and dry is. Without further ado: Sump Pump & Backup The Inspector can’t stress this one enough. A reliable sump pump is the best defense against basement floods. Sump pumps act like a drain. They pump water safely away from your basement and surrounding foundations. The Inspector would recommend getting an automatic sump pump that turns on whenever the water reaches a certain height. The pump does the work for you, this way you can continue painting pictures of happy meadows from old Bob Ross reruns without interruption. Just as important as owning a sump pump, is maintaining a sump pump. Sump pump failure is among the most frequent causes of basement floods. If you’re aware of heavy rain in the near future, make sure your pump is clean and clear of debris. Debris can lead to potential clogging. Owning a backup can be crucial as well in case your first sump fails. A battery operated backup for instance, will turn on in case the first one turns off due to a power outage. Paying for a reliable pump now can save later. If you’re in need of a new pump or backup you can browse our extensive collection of sump pumps. Gutters & Downspouts Having your gutters cleaned seasonally will be sure to prevent any debris from building up. Debris such as leaves and branches can get caught in your gutters and cause blockages. Blockages restrict flow and cause rainwater to pool. Once rainfall has pooled, it will start to dump directly onto your foundation. This can lead to not only flooding, but cracks in your foundation as well. Be sure to keep your downspouts positioned away from your foundation. A good rule of thumb to abide by is having water direct at least three feet away from your house. Install Window Wells Depending on the condition of your basement windows, you may need window wells. The frames of basement windows can be susceptible to cracks, warping, or mold. Window wells get installed directly onto a house’s foundation and can protect against water, dirt, and pesky insects. The Inspector would suggest getting acrylic wells as these can brighten up a dingy basement. Foundation Cracks There’s no better place for water to get invited into your home than from a crack in your foundation. Homeowners should regularly inspect their home’s exterior foundation as well as basement walls and floors. Foundation cracks can be filled in with epoxy while masonry sealer should be used on the home’s interior. For more serious cracks a professional may need to be called. Landscaping And last but not least- strategically placed shrubs and greenery can do more than just block out your neighbor’s Christmas decorations that they leave up until April. Consider your landscape when it comes to flooding especially if you live on the down slope of a hill where water is more likely to collect and flow. If you live on flat ground and water has nowhere to go, there are a few solutions for your lawn that can make a flooded basement less likely. You can install a lawn drainage system or use heavier mulch in your garden. An abundance of shrubs and plants helps to absorb excess water. Some homeowners even create small slopes in their landscaping in order to direct water away from their foundations. Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, stocking availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800 to speak to an expert today.
How does a Pressure Switch Work?January 9, 2019
Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s classroom. This is the place where the Inspector likes to teach everything he knows about all the parts and components that makeup pumps! This is also the place where he likes to talk about himself in the third person. In this week’s edition the Inspector will be discussing what a pressure switch is and how they operate. The Inspector would also like to point out that if you ever inspect your pressure switch, always make sure the power to it is OFF for safety’s sake. Pressure switches are commonly associated with well pumps. Well pumps deliver the clean water to your house that you use for drinking, watering the garden, and loading the unnecessarily-large-but-you-can-never-have-too-much-firepower Super Soaker that you terrorize your neighbors with. What, just me But the Inspector digresses... To put it in a nutshell, pressure switches basically tell the pump when to turn on and when to turn off. A more technical definition of a pressure switch sounds like this: a device that monitors pressure and provides an output when a set pressure is reached. The specific pressure that opens and closes the switch is called the set point. Many residential pressure switches are designed for a minimum of 30 PSI and a maximum of 50 PSI (or pounds per square inch). So in this example when the pressure in the system drops to 30 PSI, the switch activates and lets more water flow into the system. At 50 PSI, the switch turns off. Pressure switches are comprised of several components including an adjustment screw, diaphragm, lever, and contacts. The adjustment screw sets the spring pressure. This can be adjusted to change the on-and-off pressure range that the switch operates at. The standard range of a pressure switch is usually located on the unit itself or on the box it comes in. You can always check online as well if you know the model number. Pressure switches rely on water pressure to do all the work. The change in pressure that activates the switch is provided via the water from the well. The pressure moves up through the diaphragm which presses against a piston and spring, which in turn opens or closes the contacts. Open contacts located within the switch, closes when pressure drops. This completes an electrical circuit, which in turn activates the pump. When the set pressure is reached, this allows the contacts to open again which turns off the pump. Pressure switches are usually wired to a control box. Wires from the box are connected to separate terminals within the switch while other terminals are connected to a power supply. If you have any questions about pressure switches or if you’re in need of a replacement, you can give our pressure switch page a look or give a call to one of our PumpProducts.com application engineers. They’re waiting for your call and would be happy to help you figure out which pressure switch is right for your application. They have been personally trained by the Inspector so they know what they’re talking about! Check in next time to the Inspector’s classroom where he will be getting into pressure switch troubleshooting, adjusting, and maintenance tips! Pump Products applications engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.
Selecting a Pump for Groundwater ApplicationsJanuary 2, 2019
As long as gravity exists, people will need pumps. If your application requires the pumping of groundwater, making sure you have the right pump for the job is essential. Using a pump that is incorrectly sized for an application can lead to damages in equipment and your wallet. The first thing to keep in mind is the type of fluid you intend on pumping. Is it clear water or water, such as grey water, that is mixed with solids such as dirt and silt The material you’re pumping can drastically change the model of pump you need. If you do expect solids, make sure your pump is suited for solids handling. Next you’ll need to figure out how far exactly and where the water is going to be pumped. Knowing this will help you determine the required total dynamic head (TDH) and flow rate of your application, which are key factors when picking a pump. Total dynamic head refers to the total resistance in a pumping application. To calculate the required total dynamic head, you will need to figure out two factors: vertical rise and friction loss. Vertical rise is how high your water will need to travel before gravity takes over. Friction loss is the loss of flow in a system due to friction created by factors like pipe type or fittings. You can follow this guide for more information on calculating TDH. Once you know the TDH, you will need to figure out the total distance the water needs to be pumped, or how far from the source of the liquid to its ultimate destination. This will help determine your flow rate, or the velocity of the liquid traveling within a certain amount of time (usually measured in gallons per minute). Once you know your specifications, you can refer to a pump curve chart to see if that model of pump will work for your application. Pump curve charts are a helpful tool in figuring out what a pump is capable of and in mapping out their efficiencies over various specifications. You can find these charts on PumpProducts.com, which are usually located in a pump’s brochure under the manuals tab on our product pages. If you need additional help in sizing out a pump for your groundwater application, give our application engineers a call. They’re standing by to answer your questions and make sure you get the right pump for your application. They’ll basically do the work for you! Pump Products applications engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.