Utility Pumps Information

Utility pumps are devices that are capable of pumping large quantities of liquids in a short time, but are not meant for continuous use. Typically, these devices are made of plastic, thermoplastic, or stainless steel and feature durable but lightweight housing. Some utility pumps are designed to move abrasive materials, acids, chemicals, hazardous materials, highly viscous fluids, gasoline, or diesel fuel. Other devices are designed to pump ground water, salt water, sewage, or wastewater. Dewatering pumps, which are designed for clear water applications, are best suited for moving media with a maximum solid concentration of 10% and a maximum solid size of 25% of the diameter of the suction inlet. Trash pumps are better suited for applications that require more demanding solid-handling capabilities.

Types of Utility Pumps

Many types of utility pumps are available. Centrifugal pumps apply centrifugal force to generate velocity, use rotating impellers to increase velocity, and push fluids through an outlet valve. By contrast, magnetic drive pumps move liquids with a magnetic or electromagnetic drive. Hand pumps typically include a handle and lever and are manually operated. Siphon pumps are also manually operated, but use flow and gravity to draw fluid from one container to another. Drum pumps are designed to transport or dispense the contents of drums, pails, or tanks. Fountain pumps supply flow to fountains, pool pumps circulate and filtrate pool water, and micro pumps move fluids in miniaturized systems. Other types of utility pumps include bilge and ballast pumps, refueling pumps, refueling pumps, sampling pumps, sump pumps, water pumps, and well water pumps. 


Utility pumps are available with a variety of features. Adjustable speed pumps can operate at speeds selected by an operator while continuous duty pumps maintain performance specifications at 100% duty cycle. Run dry capable pumps can operate without pumped fluid or external lubrication for an extended period of time. Self-priming pumps are designed to create and maintain a vacuum level that is sufficient to draw fluid into the inlet without external assistance. Some utility pumps include a battery backup, grinding mechanism, level control device, thermal overload protection, or suction. Other utility pumps are explosion-proof, corrosion resistant, reversible, plug-in, or sanitary. Non-clog pumps can move sticky or stringy materials. With frame-mounted devices, the pump end is mounted on a bearing frame that is coupled to the motor.


Important specifications for utility pumps include maximum discharge flow, maximum discharge pressure, inlet size, discharge size, and media temperature. Power sources include alternating current (AC), direct current (DC), compressed air, gasoline, diesel fuel, hydraulic systems, natural gas, steam, water, and solar energy. Pumps that do not include a power source typically provide a drive shaft for connection to a motor. Manually powered pumps rely upon hand or foot power.


Utility pumps are used in a variety of commercial, industrial, municipal, and maritime applications. Examples include agriculture and horticulture, construction, food service and food processing, flood control, power generation, and oil and gas production. Utility pumps are also used in the machine tool, mining, medical, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, and paper industries.


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