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Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • Positive & negative shower pumps explained

    shower head
    If the water flow from your shower is more of a trickle than a storm, then you may need to boost it with a pump. However,
    shower pumps come in both negative and positive types, so how do you know which you need?

    The choice of positive or negative head pump depends on the water system you have in your house. Here’s a guide to understanding the differences.

    Positive Head Pumps

    A positive head pump is designed to be fed by gravity. It therefore needs a distance, known as a ‘head’, of at least a metre (three feet three inches) between the bottom of the cold water cistern and the pump. The gravity feed serves to kick-start the pump, which then pushes water to the shower.

    Negative Head Pumps

    A negative head pump is used where the pump will be situated either level with or above the cold water tank. It then sucks water from the tank to feed the shower. This type may be needed in bungalows, for example, where there is insufficient head below the tank. In either case, the position of the hot water cylinder doesn’t matter.

    Note that that you need an open-vented hot and cold water supply for both of these pump types. This means that neither of these pump types is suitable for combi boiler systems where there’s no stored hot water. For those situations, you would need to look at installing a home boost pump in order to increase the water pressure throughout the property.


    It’s also important to understand the number of impellers the pump needs to have. There are single and twin impeller types. A single impeller pump is often used to pump the hot water side of a supply where the cold side is fed by mains pressure. Alternatively, where the hot and cold tanks are widely separated, one single impeller pump may be used on each feed.

    A twin impeller pump, on the other hand, is designed to pump both hot and cold water. Mostly these are used on positive head systems and need to be mounted level with the base of the hot water cylinder. A twin impeller pump will produce an even pressure from both sides of the supply and deliver a more controllable mixing ability.

    Centrifugal or Regenerative

    One other consideration is whether to use a centrifugal or regenerative pump. Regenerative pumps are the most common option, as they’re cheaper and easier to install. They’re also less likely to be affected by the air that can become trapped above the water in the hot cylinder.

    On the other hand, a centrifugal pump is more efficient. It’s also quieter in operation so would be the preferred choice where noise is an important factor.

  • Does my central heating pump need replacing?

    Your central heating pump is a key part of your heating system, and it’s vital that it’s in good working order for your system to function efficiently. Signs that your pump is starting to fail may be the radiators taking longer to heat up or the pump itself becoming noisy or getting excessively warm in operation.

    central heating pumps

    Central heating pumps fail for a number of reasons. They may become clogged up with sludge, the pump impeller may wear or the pump bearings may fail. If your pump stops working altogether, it may be due to an electrical fault rather than the pump itself, so it’s worth checking for loose connections or blown fuses before deciding to replace the pump.

    Replacing a central heating pump may sound like a daunting task, but in fact it’s a task that can be undertaken by a competent DIYer. You’ll need a plumber’s wrench or adjustable spanner, an electrician’s screwdriver and a bowl or towels to catch any stray water.

    If the system is hot, you should wait for it to cool before you begin. Make sure you note which way round the pump goes and the position of the electrical connections - write this down or take photos with a digital camera or phone. Before you start, isolate the power to the heating system by removing the fuse. In most modern installations there will be isolator valves on either side of the pump. By closing both of these, you are able to change the pump without needing to drain the whole system.

    First disconnect the electrical supply to the pump. Then with the valves closed you can undo the nuts holding the pump in place. A small amount of water will escape when you do this, so be prepared to catch it in a bowl. You’ll also need a towel or paper towels to soak up any spillage - if you have young children, a disposable nappy is good for this. Next lift the old pump out and check the valves aren’t clogged with debris or sludge. It’s a good idea to replace the washers to ensure a good seal; then put the new pump in place, making sure the flow direction is as before. Tighten up the nuts, and then open the valves and check for any leaks before proceeding.

    If everything is right and there are no leaks, you can connect the new pump to the electrical supply and turn the system back on. Check that the expansion tank overflow doesn’t discharge water when the pump starts. If it does, you need to consult a plumber.

    If there were no isolation valves and you needed to drain and refill the system, make sure that it’s topped up with corrosion inhibitor once you’ve finished.

  • How you can control your central heating from your iPhone!

    Central heating systems are getting smarter, with app integration making it possible for people to control everything from their smartphones by making use of internet connectivity to enable a wide range of settings to be adjusted remotely. This means that people can manage central heating pumps, temperatures and activation times even if they are out of the house.


    There are a number of apps and systems to consider, and it is important to remember that not all apps are compatible with all central heating pumps, or indeed with all mobile platforms. If you have an Android or iOS device, then you should be covered, but the availability of this type of software for Windows Phone or BlackBerry’s OS is less guaranteed.

    central heating mobile

    So what apps and services are available at the moment, and what features and benefits do they bring to the table?


    Samsung SmartThings

    If you want a holistic approach to remote management of various facets of your smart home, then Samsung’s solution is one of the best around. You will need to install a Hub at home and make sure that it is compatible with your central heating as well as any other devices you own. And once the set-up is complete, you can even install other monitoring systems such as a wireless camera to provide security features as well as temperature control.


    With the SmartThings app on your mobile, you will not only be able to turn the heating on and off but also take charge of everything from the lighting to the stereo. And while the equipment will cost a little upfront, there is no subscription to worry about, with the savings made possible helping this system to pay for itself over time as your energy bills are reduced.


    Grundfos Go

    This app works with the compatible central heating pump system from Grundfos and lets you access a significant amount of information about how your heating is operating, thus enabling you to alter a wider range of settings than are usually available via this type of software.


    You can keep track not only of temperature but also of the water pressure, taking advantage of troubleshooting capabilities to pinpoint problems as they arise and even source replacement parts quickly. Operating over Bluetooth as well as infrared connectivity, this system and the compatible module will work with both Android and iOS and is of course free to download.


    There are many reasons to think about making your central heating smarter, especially as the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the boom in tablet and smartphone ownership have coincided, and most people now have the means to manage their entire premises from the sofa or from the other side of the planet.
    Some smart heating systems can even use the location provided by your smartphone to work out when is the best time to activate and warm your house so that just as you arrive home from work or the shops it is welcoming inside without energy having been wasted in the interim. And this is just one of the factors that could convince you that now is the time to upgrade.

  • 5 common central heating pump problems explained

    Your heating system is an essential component of your property, particularly during the winter months; however, there are a number of areas where problems can arise and cause your system to break down. Here we take a look at some of the most common problems with central heating pumps and help you to understand how they can be resolved.

    central heating

    1. The pump is not pumping round correctly

    In some instances, it might appear that your central heating pump is working and switched on; however, it is not pumping water around the system correctly. If the pump is hot, it could be an issue with the pump’s motor or the propeller. It is generally advisable to have a new pump motor fitted or replace the entire pump and body if this is the case. You can find a wide selection of pumps at Pump Sales Direct.


    1. The pump is working but the boiler is not lighting

    Central heating pumps can be working but your heating system is not operating because the boiler won’t light. Here you should ensure that your pilot light has come on and then check that your gas supply is on. If you find the pilot light is not on, you should relight it using the boiler’s instructions. If the light does not remain lit, you are likely to need a new flame failure device.


    1. The pump has no power

    When there is no power to a central heating pump, it is likely that a fuse has blown within the system or your heating is not requesting the pump to switch on. You should speak to a heating engineer, as there could be a loose connection somewhere within your heating system.


    1. The central heating pump leaks

    Central heating pumps can become corroded with age, which can cause them to leak. When this occurs, your only option is to replace the whole pump. It is unlikely that you will be able to fix the leak on a long-term basis and the corrosion will only get worse. A central heating pump typically has a lifespan of between 15 and 30 years. If yours has been operating for 30 years or more, it has done exceptionally well and you will probably find a new one far more efficient.


    1. There is an airlock in the pump

    Airlocks can often occur within a circulation pump and can be easily rectified. All you need to do is loosen the head screw using a flat head screwdriver, which will release the air that has become trapped.


    These are some of the most common issues you will find with a central heating pump. In some instances they are easily resolved, whereas others will require more extensive repairs or replacements. If you are in any doubt about the cause of the problem, you should consult a qualified heating engineer.
    Having trouble with your pump? Shop the full range of central heating pumps at Pump Sales Direct now.

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