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  • How do drainage pumps work?

    drainage pumps

    Drainage pumps are often installed to move waste-water from a range of domestic and industrial sites, including private housing, farmland, and construction sites. They deal in underground dewatering, usually when gravity can't be applied to move the water (in this respect a drainage pump is similar to a sewage pump). What a drainage pump does is effectively ‘what it says on the tin', however, how they do it is a different matter entirely. This article aims to introduce the how's and why's of non-submersible and submersible drainage pumps.  

    Non-Submersible Drainage Pumps

    A non-submersible drainage pump is not placed directly in water; instead, it uses suction hoses and permanent pipework to transport the waste-water from the unwanted location. This type of drainage pump is often used when pumping waste-water from ponds, and other mobile drainage requirements.

    Submersible Drainage Pumps

    The reputable pump manufacturer Grundfos defines the submersible pump as "an enclosed unit with a close coupled pump and motor, due to its construction, the pumps are suitable for submersible installations – designed to be partially or completely immersed in water."

    A submersible drainage pump will collect water from the base of the unit and transport the water up and out of the system and include a no return valve to ensure there is no potentially damaging backflow. To use the ABS Coronada 250W-SX as an example, it is optimised to work when submerged in several ways. Firstly, the unit is encased in corrosion resistant stainless steel which is vital for the products durability – the model is also equipped with thermal sensors in the motor to prevent overheating. The Coronada is also equipped with the previously mentioned no return valve.

    The Calpeda GXRm 11 fits the similar purpose of draining rooms, water extraction, and can also clean water containing solids of up to 10mm in size. Its operating systems differ in various ways from the Coronada, for example in the Calpeda the motor is cooled by the water passing between the motor jacket and external jacket. However, both jackets are similarly corrosion proof – making both these submersible drainage pumps excellent units for domestic use.  

    Submersible Drainage Pumps & Industrial Use

    An industrial site naturally includes different working conditions when compared to the domestic setting – the Trencher T400F automatic submersible drainage pump is an excellent example to consider concerning industrial conditions.

    Whilst this pump is undoubtedly suited to a residential environment, what makes it uniquely suited to industrial sites is its adept handling of water supply from lakes and rivers. The Trencher is excellent when dealing with sediment removal thanks to its high abrasive resistance resin vortex impeller– which is something more common in industrial sites that often handle raw materials, thus this feature is less likely to be needed in a suburban estate.

    Every pump adheres to its specifications and operating systems, they often share a common purpose but when looking at the ‘how', one must look carefully at the detailed specification pdf's that are regularly available to select the correct drainage pump for you.

  • How to Protect Your Home from Winter Damage

    The harsh winter months are upon us and many of us are concerning ourselves with how best to wrap up warm. It is however, equally important to remember that our homes are as susceptible to the cold as we are. Freezing temperatures are capable of bursting water pipes and tearing apart driveways and roofs. Learning how best to combat these threats is a necessity for the maintenance of your home.

    The threat: Frozen or burst pipes

    lowara pressure vessel

    One of the most common issues associated with the cold of winter is frozen or burst pipes. A lack of care when it comes to preserving the warmth of your home during winter can allow low temperatures to cause devastating damage. In such conditions, the network of pipes that provide homes with heat and water are especially vulnerable. Biting cold brings with it frozen or even burst pipes - and the same applies to hot water storage tanks. Even the hardiest lowara pressure vessel can suffer in freezing weather.

    The solution

    The first, and most obvious, countermeasure is to ensure that all pipes in exposed areas are properly outfitted with lagging material. The insulating material will better preserve the temperature inside at-risk pipes - shoring up their defence against the cold. Other precautionary measures that are simple yet effective include: fixing leaky taps, eliminating draughts and assuring the health of your boiler by having it regularly serviced. If you are going away for a considerable period of time, it may be worth leaving your heating on while you’re away to stifle the debilitating effects of prolonged cold on the home.

    The threat: Freeze-thaw weathering

    freeze-thaw weathering

    The second prominent scourge of winter is freeze-thaw weathering. As the temperature see-saws between below freezing and above freezing, water alternates between liquid and solid form. This expansion and contraction can test the mettle of any space where water has accumulated - from vacant roof tiles to gutters to driveways riddled with gaps.

    The solution

    To stave off the meddling influence of freeze-thaw weathering, it helps to put up a number of defences. Clearing out gutters, replacing any broken or missing roof tiles and filling in any depressions and divots in your driveway are all important steps. With any potential vulnerabilities covered, there are no spaces for the cold to exploit.

    The threat: Ice dams

    Ice dam

    In particularly cold temperatures, ice dams can appear. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form on the edge of a roof. Because of their location, the ice prevents all of the snow and water that accumulates behind it on the roof from funnelling into the gutters like it normally would. With nowhere for the water to go, the likelihood of it seeping through the roof and tarnishing the ceilings beneath is dramatically increased.

    The solution

    To prevent the formation of ice dams, the best preventative measure you can take is to ensure that your roof is sufficiently insulated. Aside from measures you can take in anticipation of ice dams, the only reactionary measure worth taking is getting yourself a roof rake - a device with a telescoping handle that will allow you to scrape away any recalcitrant ice or snow before it has the chance to form an ice dam.

    With all of these tips and tricks under your belt, you should be well-equipped to deal with anything winter can throw at you and your home.

  • The Evolution of Irrigation

    Put simply, irrigation can be defined as the process of applying water to a crop for the purpose of aiding its growth. Thousands and thousands of years ago, the incorporation of irrigation as a mainstay of human society, also formally marked the transition of the human civilisation as a species; from one primarily composed of roaming hunter-gatherers, to the more cohesive, conventional agrarian society that is more familiar to us today. For that reason, the importance of irrigation cannot be overstated, and it retains its importance today as a cornerstone of modern society. In order to chart how irrigation has evolved and changed over the years, we have put together this whistle stop tour of the most important benchmarks in its transformation.

    qanat (1024x683) Qanat

    While archaeological evidence tentatively proves the existence of 8000 year old irrigation canals in both the Middle East and South America, the exact origins of irrigation remain murky. The first development of any significance in the world of irrigation however, is more clear-cut and first materialised around 550BC. A product of Mesopotamian ingenuity, the qanat allowed farmers to repurpose ground water for crop irrigation for the first time in history. Mesopotamians used the collective effect of a vertical well and an adjacent channel to generate a source of surface level water.

    The growing population of the 1700s propelled the rise of the European agricultural revolution. The unprecedented experimentation of the era gave birth to a host of irrigation techniques - increased experimentation with crop rotations, improved livestock breeding, the invention of seed drilling, the use of fertilisers and the introduction of new forms of machinery.

    impact sprinkler (1024x683) Impact sprinkler

    It wasn’t until 1932 though that any of the techniques we are familiar with today rose to prominence. Building on the arrival of the domestic lawn sprinkler thirty years earlier, the invention of the impact sprinkler became the building block upon which modern irrigation was founded. As the impact sprinkler became more and more popular, it ushered in a new era of automated watering. American farmers had hitherto been reliant on gravity to carry water along the antiquated furrows that supplied rows upon rows of crops with nourishment.

    The next major development in agricultural irrigation came in the late 1960s with the introduction of drip irrigation. Not only did it do a better job of increasing crop productivity than any technique that preceded it, it also did so using a far lower amount of water. And thus, the practice of micro irrigation was born. Characterised by small fixtures that are capable of administering water with unerring accuracy, micro irrigation has since become a mainstay of agricultural irrigation.

    jabsco pumps Jabsco self priming pump

    As you’d expect, irrigation systems have become infinitely more complex as time has passed. The pressurised systems that power both of the most popular administration methods - sprinkler and drip irrigation - are always composed of a water source, a pump to pressurise the water, a network of pipes that distribute the water from the pump, as well as the sprinklers or emitters themselves. The centrepiece of these systems is the pump, and without one of sufficient quality, any crops are unlikely to flourish. Jabsco pumps provide a range of versatile pumps that can adapt to often tricky pressurised irrigation systems.

  • What You Need to Know About Adding a New Bathroom

    Before you even decide to add an extension to your home, a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration. From planning permission to site insurance, the scope for potential missteps is huge, which can amount to one very stressful experience. If you have at least managed to narrow it down to a bathroom, here are the things that you have left to worry about.

    Layout

    While there isn’t a law forbidding the construction of a bathroom without a lobby preceding it anymore, it is still a decent guideline to follow. Ideally, a bathroom should be separated from the other rooms of the house by some kind of circulation space - either a hallway or a utility room. Regardless of whether you choose to follow this advice or not, there are very few laws restricting the positioning of a bathroom and for that reason, you more or less have free reign. The Party Wall Act of 1996 means you can build all the way up to the border with your neighbour, even if it requires access to their land in the process.

    Size

    Small bathroom

    In keeping with the relatively lax restrictions governing the layout of a bathroom extension, restrictions involving the size of a bathroom are similarly slack. If you so desire, you can create a new WC that measures just 1.3m² in size. If you want to combine a bathroom and a toilet, the minimum area you can occupy is 3.6 m². Whether investing in an extension just to make a bathroom of this size makes financial sense is an altogether different matter.

    Water supply

    water pressure pump

    One unavoidable consequence of extending the size of your home to include a bathroom is renewed demand on the infrastructure that supplies your baths, showers and sinks with water. It is just one of those things you have to deal with. The best way to meet this demand involves two steps. The first is something that will boost the water storage capability of your home. The second involves the addition of a water pressure pump that will bolster the water pressure to all of the outlets throughout your home. If you want convenience, a packaged pumping system is ideal for you - it combines the two.

    Design

    bathroom design

    Once you’ve blitzed through all of the red tape, you can finally get round to designing your new bathroom. Before you start it is important to keep in mind how this latest addition is going to fit in with the rest of your home. Cohesion is important to creating a well-designed home. Instead of completely contrasting the other spaces in your home, attempt to retain some semblance of theme - it might be a material or a colour. Aside from maintaining visual continuity, durability is also important, so don’t skimp on quality if you want your bathroom to function properly for the foreseeable future.

  • Six things to keep in mind when designing a bathroom

    Designing a new bathroom can be a real headache. More often than not, bathrooms are already one of the smaller sized rooms in the house. When you add showers, sinks and toilets to it, it can make planning your new bathroom very tricky indeed. Juggling these space constraints whilst simultaneously worrying about functionality, visual appeal and durability, can lead to a muddled approach, and a disappointing, sub-par bathroom. To walk you through this process, and point out what you should be prioritising, we have put together this quick guide to designing a new bathroom.

    Functionality

    grundfos pumps uk

    At the end of the day, a bathroom’s functionality is of utmost importance. If your shower doesn’t work and your toilet doesn’t flush, you’re going to run into some problems. With this in mind, you want to be certain that all of your appliances, regardless of appearance, will function the way you need them to. And Grundfos pumps UK are a manufacturer you can rely on. From home booster units that can resolve low water levels to central heating circulators that can single-handedly improve efficiency across an entire system;  Grundfos can help you sculpt a superbly functioning bathroom.

    Durability

    bathroom tiles

    When you are investing money into anything, one of the very first questions you should ask is: how long is it going to last? And this ethos is definitely applicable to bathrooms. While wallpaper might be an attractive short term investment, it is exactly that - short-term - it might be visually appealing, but it won’t last a fraction of the time that tiles will. Tiles are far better suited to tolerate splashes of water and clouds of steam, offering you superior value for money.

    Visual appeal

    brass bathroom

    Your primary concern should always be quality, but that does not mean you need to scrimp on the visual aspect of your bathroom. Brass fittings have experienced a resurgence as of late, mostly because of its warm tones that help to distinguish it from the  cold and clinical looking, albeit popular, chrome and nickel. A distinctive vanity cabinet can have a similarly drastic effect. By acting as the focal point of the bathroom, it can add a healthy amount of character. It is however, vitally important to consider how your own financial and space restrictions can dictate your ability to outfit your bathroom in the exact way you want it to.

    Space

    best floating vanity

    One way of circumventing a space issue is to choose a floating vanity cabinet. Its ability to float far from voids the traditionally elegant nature of the vanity cabinet, and creates space that otherwise would not exist. As well as providing additional storage space, the floating vanity cabinet, more importantly, creates the perception of a larger bathroom. Equally deceptive but effective are large mirrors and glass panels, both of which are adept at creating the illusion of a bigger bathroom.

  • How to adapt a bathroom for an elderly relative

    As much as they wouldn’t like to admit it themselves, the elderly are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Stairs can rapidly transform from a cruise to the first floor, to an everyday obstacle. The same can be said for bathrooms.  And that is why it is so important to know how to adapt bathrooms in the most effective way to eliminate daily hazards. The measures taken, of course, depend on the state of the person’s mobility and health. With that in mind, here is a range of options for adapting a bathroom for an elderly person.

    Walk in bath/ shower

    twin impeller shower pump

    Walk-in options are a minimalist yet effective way to make baths and showers more easily accessible. They don’t carry the same stigma (and association with assisted living) as bath seats, boards and joists do, yet they make the transition into the bath equally as easy. Walk-in baths remove the hurdling of the bath walls that can become so imposing as agility deteriorates with age. Simply walk straight in and take a seat and wait for the warm, bubbling water to rise.

    Bath lifts and hoists

    Naturally though, there are circumstances where more drastic changes are required. Bath lifts and hoists can be a saviour for those with very limited mobility, providing them with the ability to wash unaided. Lifts and hoists vary from metal and motorised to inflatable cushions.

    Grab rails

    grab rails

    For those who are slightly unsteady on their feet, grab rails are straightforward additions to shore up a bathroom. Grab rails with suction pads are ideal for re-positioning and when you are on the move, but they don’t quite offer the solidity and stability of fixed rails. Stuck for where exactly to put them? If you have any doubts or concerns, it is always worth enlisting the help of an occupational therapist to ensure everything is up to scratch. Where the welfare of your relative is concerned, you can't afford to be unsure.

    Extractor fan

    An extractor fan is an unobtrusive and inexpensive way to dramatically reduce the risk of slipping. It is a nightmarish thought to think of someone we care about being rooted to the floor after a fall. The installation of an extractor fan goes a long in allaying these fears. By removing the steam generated by a hot bath or shower quickly, the moisture that would otherwise accumulate on bathroom surfaces is eliminated, dramatically reducing the chance of slipping.

    Non-slip flooring

    non-slip

    The extractor fan on its own will not completely remove slipping as a hazard, and further precautions like non-slip flooring are a sensible way to go. Non-slip flooring can be relatively cheap, but if you insist on cutting costs, you can cover the most at-risk areas with strategically placed mats. Another alternative is non-slip tape, which is equally effective. There does come a point where you don’t want to compromise on the look of the bathroom however, and there are a range of sleek non-slip tiles available to buy.

    Regardless of how you elect to customise your bathroom, it is pointless without having a powerful source of steaming hot water you can rely on.  A twin impeller shower pump can provide you with reliable sources of both hot and cold water, all but eliminating disappointing lukewarm baths and showers.

  • From the watermill to the dam: How water has fuelled industry

    Grundfos watermill Watermill

    Despite being used for everything from washing to drinking, there is one use of water you might not be aware of - hydropower. The Ancient Greeks first invented the horizontal-wheeled watermill in 3rd century BC and humans have been harnessing the power of the movement of water ever since. Of course, today, the Grundfos watermill serves the altogether different purpose of increasing water pressure. To chart this evolution, we have put together a list of the most significant hydropower developments.

    Watermill

    Before electricity became widely economically viable, the mechanical action of a mill was necessary in the production of important material goods like flour, paper, textiles and metals. Often intentionally diverted from a river, the movement of incoming water was used to drive the blades of a wheel or turbine, which, in turn, would power the milling, rolling or hammering of the mill. The watermill is the earliest example of water being used to serve an industrial purpose and the use of this technology has become increasingly complex as time has progressed.

    Hushing and hydraulic mining

    From its emergence in the 1st century BC, the mining industry has been reliant on the power of water for their work. The technique of hushing was the first to be used with any sort of regularity. It involved directing streams of water towards gravel to erode the rock and expose the ores beneath.  In the midst of the California Gold Rush in 1853, hydraulic mining emerged as a more profitable technique. Very high pressure jets of water were used to erode hillsides at a rapid rate, and whilst it was effective, it did cause widespread damage to Californian agriculture and the local environment.

    Trompe

    Like the watermill, before the advent of electricity, it was necessary to wield the power of water to compress gas. A trompe is composed of a vertical pipe, a separation chamber and two exit pipes - one for the exit of compressed air and another that allows water to leave. As the water falls down the vertical pipe, it travels through a constriction, where an external port allows air to enter, which then causes bubbles to form in the pipe. As the bubbles travel further down the pipe they become pressurised, and the compressed air rises to the top of the separation chamber where it leaves through a takeoff pipe. Trompes were most commonly used to provide for bloomer furnaces, where the compressed air was used to smelt iron from its oxides.

    Hydroelectric dams

    Itaipu Dam

    Since their creation in 1870 in Cragside, Northumberland, hydroelectric dams have superseded watermills to the extent that watermills are now virtually extinct. The principles are the same and the only notable difference between the two is the end result - the production of electricity rather than mechanical energy. By corralling water into a structure, the potential energy of the water could be used to power a turbine, which, in turn, produced electricity. In 1870, the first hydroelectric dam provided enough energy to keep an arc lamp alight. Today, electricity from, the Itaipu Dam on the Brazil-Paraguay border, produces 104 million megawatt hour (MWh) - enough to meet worldwide power consumption for two whole days.

  • Getting a SAP Pass for a Self-Build

    Getting a SAP Pass for a Self-Build - central heating pumpWe're all being encouraged to be more energy-efficient in our homes, and that affects not just boilers but everything from the insulation to the type of central heating pump installed.

    If you're building your own home, it will need to undergo the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) in order to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and be signed off by the building inspector.

    Understanding SAP

    It's important to understand exactly what the SAP is. A SAP rating allows different properties to be compared for energy-efficiency. It measures how much energy is used by the property, how much of this is lost and how good the building is at retaining heat.

    SAP ratings are on a one to 100 scale - a property scoring 100 would be so efficient that it actually exported energy to the grid. A higher rating therefore means a more efficient home that will use less energy and create less CO2.

    Getting a SAP

    SAP ratings need to be carried out by an accredited assessor. It takes into account the construction materials used, insulation, ventilation, the efficiency of heating systems and their controls, solar gain and any renewable energy technology.

    The SAP rating is used to create an EPC, which gives potential buyers the ability to compare the energy-efficiency of different properties. An EPC once granted is valid for 10 years unless there are any major changes to the property.

    Plan ahead

    In order to get a high SAP score, it pays to start thinking about energy-efficiency at the design stage. If you leave things too late, you could end up having to carry out costly and disruptive remedial work. You can get an initial SAP assessment before you apply for planning consent, which will help avoid problems later.

    The SAP test will often involve an air test. This involves blowing air into the house and measuring how much escapes. While all homes need some ventilation, too much means you're losing heat and could fail the test. It might be worth getting an air test done before the official assessment so you can fix any issues.

    U and Non-U Revisited

    All building materials have a u-value. This indicates how good they are at stopping heat from passing through them. The lower the u-value, the better the insulation value of the product. By specifying the most u-efficient products at the planning stage, you'll reduce the risk of problems later. Play special attention to doors and windows, as these are areas where heat is most likely to escape, so adhering to the latest standards for frames and glazing will help your score.

    Feel the Heat

    Heating systems have a major impact on SAP scores. Having an energy-efficient boiler or an alternative system like a heat pump is important. But heating controls make a big difference too. You need to show that you can obtain heat only when and where it's needed, so sophisticated programmers, wireless thermostats that you can take from room to room and thermostatic radiator valves are must-haves.

    Choose an Efficient Central Heating Pump

    Even the humble heating pump can make a difference, so ensure you choose a model with energy-efficient features like variable speed technology, and one that will work in harmony with your other heating controls to only run when needed.

    Find out more about SAP Calculations.

  • SAP Calculations - What Are They?

    SAP Calculations - What Are They and circulation pumpsSAP calculations were brought in as a way of measuring energy usage and are now required under Part L of building regulations. It pays to plan ahead and think about using energy-efficient heating, such as using a circulation pump, insulation and renewable energy sources in your project. These calculations can seem confusing, but as they are a fundamental part of planning and building, it pays to be familiar with the basics.

    What is the Standard Assessment Procedure?

    SAP assesses the energy rating of any building and must be carried out by accredited assessors. Your building will be rated from 1 to100, and the higher the score the lower your fuel bill and your C02 emissions.

    The SAP energy cost calculation is based on the building’s construction, the heating system installed and whether you use energy-saving measures like a circulation pump, renewables and internal and external lighting fixtures. It doesn’t include domestic appliances.

    Why Is SAP important?

    Without an assessment, your building will not comply with building regulations and can’t be sold or let. Therefore SAP is of absolute importance to your project.

    The important thing is not to think of SAP as just another bit of red tape but as an opportunity to really think about and plan for the most energy-efficient build possible. You can minimise energy use and carbon emissions either for yourself or your prospective buyers or tenants.

    You’ll receive an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) based on the SAP assessment.

    How is SAP worked out

    As the SAP assessor works from architects’ plans and the specifications for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning), you’ll need to ensure these are professionally produced and clearly show elevations, cross-sections and specific plans. These are used to create a model from which the site form is created.

    The heating, lighting and ventilation systems are included along with the thermal elements like roofs and walls and any renewable energy sources.

    Finally, the SAP calculation is generated to include heat loss, C02 emissions, input from renewables like solar panels and seasonal variations in energy use.

    How do I pass my SAP?

    The SAP assessment is based on the loss of heat through the fabric of the building, construction quality, solar gain and calculated C02 emissions. By focusing on these four crucial areas, you’ll be able to plan and build with a focus on passing the SAP.

    Your C02 emissions are calculated by comparing the Target Emission Rate (TER) with the predicted Dwelling Emission Rate (DER). It’s important because many councils now use the TER as part of determining an S106 agreement or ‘developer's contribution'.

    The regulations are extremely robust, and a pass or fail can come down to whether you’ve fitted the right kind of boiler or the thickness of insulation. There is no hard and fast formula for passing the SAP, as you may be forced to make energy decisions with higher C02 emissions.

    Any advice?

    The main pointers we would advise you to focus on are:

    • Focus on insulation - insulate to the maximum then insulate some more.
    • Doors and windows are prime heat-loss areas - reduce their U-rating as far as possible.
    • Pay close attention to boiler controls, as these have a significant impact on your SAP.
    • Heat loss through thermal bridging - junctions with exterior walls - can be a major focus of the SAP.
    • Ensure your build envelope is efficiently sealed.
    • Book a pre-test before you go through the real thing.
    • Start early. Start talking to your SAP assessor as soon as possible to stand the very best chance of producing a new-build, barn conversion or any type of change-of-use conversion that meets - and beats - the SAP standards.

    Check out our tips for getting a SAP Pass for a self-build coming soon.

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