75 HPM 0413

HPM April 2013

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com PIPES,PUMPS,VALVES&FITTINGS Water pressure finally gets a boost Dave Amery, technical director of GAH*, offers some simple guidelines on how to boost water pressure... In domestic life, one of the most disappointing things has to be when there’s no hot water left for your bath; or perhaps a new shower, which only delivers a trickle of water; or taking an age to fill the kettle for your morning cup of tea. These scenarios are not only frustrating but are far more commonplace than you might expect and are down to low and fluctuating levels of water pressure. There are a number of factors to consider when looking to boost water pressure but it can be improved on by following some simple guidelines. However, if your customers are still not satisfied – likely to be due to a fundamental problem, such as incoming supply pressure or the property location – then there are booster pumps available, which work independently and provide a cost-effective solution to poor water pressure. It’s also worth noting the difference between water pressure and flow. Water flow relates to the quantity of water delivered at the outlet where as water pressure is the force at which water is delivered to the outlet. It is possible to have good water pressure that has a poor flow rate – simply because the volume isn’t there and vice versa and once again, there are solutions available. The causes of poor water pressure could be down to incorrect size of pipework or corroded pipes in need of repair; these are all relatively easy to overcome but can be time consuming and costly to the customer. The location, height and type of property also HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY 74 APRIL 2013 have a bearing, whether it’s an inner-city high rise block or a low lying village in a remote valley, water pressure can be adversely affected by poor pumping facilities, or narrow supply pipes from the water company. The demands of modern life, such as multi-bathroom properties, loft extensions, flat conversions and larger families only exacerbate this problem. Properties that are higher up, whether that’s higher up in a block of flats or a detached house on a hill often experience low pressure. Incoming water is at 2 bar of pressure, but it loses around 0.1 bar for every meter that it travels in an upward direction, so if the property also has taller ceilings, the pressure could have lost around 1 bar of pressure by the time it’s reached the third floor. In these circumstances, an unvented cylinder is not usually an option because they also require a certain level of water pressure to work. It’s also a common occurrence for plumbers to be asked to install new bathroom fittings, which often only work with high pressure, in areas of low water pressure leading to frustration and disappointing results. These days, modern sanitaryware, such as drench head showers, are mostly designed to work with high water pressure, but the householder may be unaware of this resulting in poor performance. If your customers are experiencing any of these problems, there are solutions available to achieve the correct balance between the supply and demand for water. Smart plumbers will know that correctly sizing the pipework and an assessment of usage is simple and can make all the difference between good performance and an unhappy customer. Until recently, it was nearly impossible to increase the amount of water which can be supplied to a household, making it difficult to enhance water pressure. Now however, the rules regarding pumping water directly from the mains in the UK have changed. So long as the pump is Water Regulations Advisory Scheme approved and is restricted to pumping 12 litres per minute, it can be connected directly to the water main, without the need for a breaktank and can significantly increase pressure. Manufacturers such as, GAH, are looking to exploit these changes with a new generation of pumping system. There are now pumps available that are designed to take advantage of the shift in legislation. They can be fitted to the supply pipe via a non return valve and pressure limiting valve to increase the water pressure, enabling a household to pump a fixed 12 litres per minute from the mains. They allow you to increase incoming pressure by 3.5 bar from your existing static pressure in a controlled way, which means you can’t exceed the 12 litre per minute restriction. ENHANCE PRESSURE A booster pump can work independently if small volumes of water are required, but if you are also looking to increase flow or if larger volumes of water are needed, then it works well alongside an accumulator (accumulator technology is one way of overcoming poor flow rates by storing mains water in a sealed vessel, increasing volume and stabilising pressures to combination boilers, unvented cylinders and much more). The pump will force water into an accumulator and when the pressure drops to a pre determined level the pump opens up again. A non return valve prevents water running back and no more than 12 litres per minute can be pumped. This technology can also be used to enhance pressure to combination boilers. These pumps are generally available in a range of sizes to support all types of property and are compact and quiet in operation. The technology is also relatively eco friendly. The pumps require a low voltage fuse, which is only in use when the water pressure drops enough for the pump to be necessary and accumulators require no power supply. *GAH supplies and manufactures a range of heating and renewable energy solutions for domestic and commercial properties. enquiry number 157 High performance showers often only work with good water pressure


HPM April 2013
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