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How to Guides

  • Common water pressure issues and how to solve them

    home booster pumps Grundfos home booster pump

    Throughout the UK, homeowners are affected by low water pressure. Faulty boilers, closed stop valves, frozen pipes and internal plumbing are just a few of many guilty parties. With so many potential candidates at fault, it can be overwhelming to sift through them all in search of the one (or few) that actually need addressing. To accelerate this process and make it altogether easier for our readers, we have put together this guide that covers all of the main water pressure issues that are likely to affect homeowners in the UK and how to resolve them

    It is worth noting that all of the issues we have presented in this list are all actually easily explained - and just as easily resolved. If, you don’t encounter the problem that is plaguing your own home in this list, it may be that it is a less-easily diagnosed and more complex internal plumbing issue. If you think you fall into this category, you should get in touch with a plumber.

    Identifying an internal plumbing issue

    Before you can explore potential fixes for your water pressure problem, it is important to first identify the source of the issue. Normally, your main water supply will enter your home through the cold tap in your kitchen or utility room. If this tap is working, whilst others throughout the home are not, you have an internal plumbing problem on your hands and you need to get in touch with a plumber.

    Checking for a closed stop valve

    Sometimes the most seemingly drastic problems can have the most straight-forward solutions - and that is certainly true when it comes to a closed stop valve. Your water nightmare could have been resolved a long time ago with a cursory glance under the kitchen sink (where the vast majority of indoor stop valves are housed) and a simple anti-clockwise motion twist. As simple as it sounds, you’d be surprised just how often plumbers travel to a home just to conduct a bewilderingly simple fix.

    Preventing and fixing frozen pipes

    Unfortunately, once temperatures drop low enough, frozen pipes are an ever-present threat. And in the colder months, this threat lingers in the background like a bad smell. There are however, a number of preventative measures you can take. An unoccupied home acts as a breeding ground for frozen pipes. With the heating turned off, pipes filled with water can very easily freeze over. To combat this, it is imperative to set your thermostat to at least 5°C to stave off the advance of the cold.

    If your home’s pipes have already been affected by low temperatures, you have to prioritise remedial rather than preventative measures. The first, and most vital, step you have to take is to shut off your water supply using your stop valve. This will prevent any more water from entering your home and potentially exacerbating the problem. From there, turning on all the cold taps in the house will allow the water that has accumulated in your pipes as ice to escape. To speed up this process, you can use a hairdryer or hot water bottle to heat up the pipes nearest to the taps. If, however, there is a leak, it is unavoidable that you will have to contact a plumber to amend the leak and repair any damage.

    With an understanding of the most widespread water pressure issues, you should be well placed to identify and resolve any issues that may come to affect your own home in the future. Rather than dealing with a fundamental flaw in your water system, there are homes that just do unfortunately suffer from weak water pressure. A home booster pump can rectify this with ease. At Pump Sales Direct, we have a range of the highest quality home booster pumps that are fit to service any scenario. If the issue is confined to your the water flow of your shower, you may instead benefit from a new shower pump. If you require any more information, simply call or email us - we are more than happy to help.

  • How does a coolant pump work?

    Think you might need a coolant pump? You’ve come to the right place. By coolant pumpleaning on our years of experience in the pumps industry, we have created this post that will tell you everything you need to know about coolant pumps. For everything from sizing requirements to compatibility with different materials, you’ll find it all here.

    What is a coolant pump?

    As you can probably guess by the name, the role of the coolant pump is to ensure that coolant is distributed evenly throughout the structure in which it is situated. Coolant is any substance (generally speaking a liquid or gas though) that is used to regulate the temperature of a system. In industrial processing, the term ‘heat transfer fluid’ often replaces the term ‘coolant.’ Coolant pumps are used in a range of industries, which has led coolant pumps to specialise in a number of different ways.  Typically though, a coolant pump is a submersible multistage centrifugal pump. Put in simpler terms, a coolant pump is capable of operating fully submerged in liquid, and works by imparting energy from the rotation of multiple shaft-driven impellers to the coolant.

    Secondly, it is important to differentiate machine tool coolant pumps (which are the kind we deal in here at Pump Sales Direct) from the coolant pumps you might find in your car, or further still, in a nuclear reactor. Although functionally similar - they all work by pumping a coolant around - there are a number of subtle differences that distinguish them from one another in practice. A coolant pump designed for a pressurised water reactor for example, is more elaborate and technical as it needs to be able to transfer heat in a steam generator to water across different pressure circuits. Meanwhile, in car engines and machine tools, the role of the coolant pump is more straightforward as they are only needed to circulate coolant irrespective of pressure differentials.

    How do I know if I need a coolant pump? And if so, what kind do I need?

    Because coolant pumps have so many industrial applications (everything from boiler feeds to industrial washing machines) it can be difficult to work out whether you actually require one, and narrowing it down to a specific model can be even tougher. However, once you have established your flow, pressure and length requirements, picking out the right coolant pump is relatively uncomplicated. On the other hand, if you are still unsure when it comes to the technical details, the flexibility of the Grundfos range of SPK coolant pumps makes them a feasible choice in a multitude of scenarios.

    At Pump Sales Direct, alongside the very popular Grundfos SPK range, we stock a variety of machine tool coolant pumps. Have a look at this extensive range of machine tool coolant pumps here.

  • Condensate Pumps Explained

    condensate pumpcondensate pump could be the only thing standing between you and the overdue resolution of the dampness issue in your home that has been lingering for far too long. Unfortunately, the inner workings of condensate pumps aren’t exactly common knowledge, and this lack of familiarity and understanding on the part of homeowners can often be the stumbling block that prevents an issue like this from being resolved much quicker. With this in mind, Pump Sales Direct have put together this guide that covers everything you need to know about condensate pumps.

    How is condensate formed?

    In the process of heating your home, heating systems also produce latent water vapour. As is inevitable in any form of HVAC process, steam is produced - giving rise to the welcome temperature change that the product is designed to. However, when this same steam cools, it condenses into water droplets and becomes a waste product.

    Why is it so important to remove condensate?

    As well as causing dampness or even flooding in large quantities, the latent water vapour (or condensate) that accumulates below your boiler can also contain traces of potentially dangerous contaminants. These factors serve to underline the importance of finding a way to dispose of condensate properly.

    What are condensate pumps and how do they work?

    Put simply, condensate pumps help get rid of all of the steam (or condensate) that can build up in your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, condensing boiler or refrigerator over time. By transferring energy from a motor to the condensate itself via a rotating impeller, the pump is able to remove condensate quickly and effectively. Generally speaking, there are only relatively small amounts of liquid involved and condensate pumps often have small tanks for exactly this reason. The tanks allow them to store condensate until levels increase enough to activate the float valve, whereupon the condensate is released into a drain.

    How do I know if I need a condensate pump?

    Assuming it isn't the fault of your own central heating pump, finding dampness or worse in the pipes that service your HVAC is the clearest illustration you can find of the need for a condensate pump, but there is another important telltale sign you should be on the lookout for.

    What normally distinguishes a condensing boiler that is in need of an accompanying condensate pump, and one that isn’t, is location. Enough distance from a convenient drain, or positioning well below ground level, will prevent a boiler from ridding itself of condensate on its own.

    Typically, boilers are reliant on the natural action of gravity to drain condensate away. A condensing boiler located in a basement then, is poorly placed to take advantage of the gravitational pull that so many others boilers rely on. If your condensing boiler is in your basement, or a similarly ill-equipped location, and is not currently being serviced by a condensate pump, it is well worth exploring the possibility of purchasing one.

    For a range of condensate pumps, shop online at Pump Sales Direct.

     

  • How to create and maintain the perfect garden pond

    garden pond

    A pond is an attractive proposition for many homeowners. A body of water brings with it a burgeoning ecosystem of aquatic wildlife and vegetation, as well as aesthetic value. Despite the obvious advantages of having a garden pond, the effort required to actually build and maintain a thriving pond is an insurmountable stumbling block for many. Creating the perfect pond may not be as painstaking a task as you may have anticipated. With this quick guide as a head start, you may find it a great deal easier than expected.

    Construction

    The construction aspect of installing a pond into your garden is far and away the most costly and arduous component of the whole endeavour. Before lining the pond, the turf itself has to be excavated to your desired shape and depth by hand - whether you choose to dig it yourself or hire someone else is completely up to you. From there, a pond filter has to be installed to keep the water clean. A not altogether essential but nevertheless significant step is to surround the pond with rocks, stones or slabs as both a practical and decorative addition.

    Wildlife

    The type of wildlife you intend to attract to your pond will also dictate how you maintain it. Koi fish, while relatively hardy and resilient, require a finely tuned set of conditions in order to flourish. Neutral pH levels, excessive filtering and sterilisation of bacteria are all prerequisites for a koi pond.

    And while your instinct may agree to this in order to cultivate glistening crystal-clear waters, much of the wildlife typical of British ponds actually prefer to operate in much more congested waters full of vegetation. Tadpoles for example, depend on a bountiful source of algae as their primary food source. The Royal Horticultural Society recommends that only around 50% of surface water should be free from vegetation.

    Plants

    Any plants that you choose to inhabit your pond serve a practical purpose as well as an ornamental one. Certain plant species will help oxygenate your pond and some will even attract other species and wildlife. Other pond plants with unassuming names like water fern and floating pennywort are actually invasive and can have a devastating impact on the surrounding ecosystem - be extremely careful which plant life you choose to introduce.

    Cost

    Costs can vary wildly depending on the size of your pond and the type of life you want to live in it. Even within a single species, costs can differ dramatically from one purchase to another. Koi fish for example, a hugely popular pond species, can range in price from £10 to thousands and thousands; it all depends on your preferences.

    Maintenance

    submersible dirty water pump

    Even the most unkempt garden pond requires a certain amount of maintenance. Thinning out overgrown plants and removing any debris that may accumulate in the water are minimum requirements for a healthy pond. A full and thorough overhaul in which a submersible dirty water pump is used to drain the pond is required once every five years.

     

  • Money-Saving Tips for Winter

    Winter is a time where we all get to relax more than we should, eat more than we should and spend more than we should. When it comes to spending money though, we want to be sure that it goes on gifts for our closest friends and family – not on mundane but essential updates to our home. Unfortunately, the festive period also brings with it some of the worst weather the year has to throw at us, making repairs to plumbing and heating apparatus all too common. To ensure none of this seasonal reaches you over the winter months, you may want to consider some of the following changes to keep your bank balance as healthy as possible.

    Shower pumps

    salamander shower pump

    Salamander are one of the leading pumps brands around, and from their base in the South East, they have been providing UK homes with the highest quality pumping products for years. A core part of their range that will guarantee you perfectly pressured showers in spite of any boiler problems that may arise during the colder months, is the salamander shower pump. A shower pump of this quality is as effective as they get, and will keep your water pressure intact without any of the associated extra cost that you might otherwise expect.

    Circulating pumps

    circulating pump

    Whilst you may not be familiar with circulating pumps, they are actually one of the most cost-effective heating products money can buy. By ensuring that hot water is distributed evenly throughout the home, any additional and unnecessary expense is circumvented. Not only does the efficiency of a circulating pump minimise the cost of your water bill, it also ensures that extra energy won't be expended heating up water that won’t be used - allowing you to rest assured that your actions aren’t taking a toll on the environment.

    Grey water recycling

    grey water recycling

    Similarly, a grey water pump is ideal not just for those of us who are desperate to safeguard the health of the planet for the foreseeable future; it is also perfect for those of us who are more conscious than ever of exactly how much money we are spending (which is especially true during the festive period). A grey water recycling pump achieves both of these things by repurposing all of the grey water that would otherwise go to waste (from your baths, showers, dishwashers and sinks) for use elsewhere in the home. Given that a grey water recycling system is more than capable of reducing water usage by up to 50%, the upfront investment is miniscule and one you should be certain of considering.

    Sump pumps

    sump pump

    The threat of flooding is never higher than over the bitterly cold and wet winter months - whether that is from a particularly heavy downpour or pipes frozen to the point of bursting. Fortunately, there is one simple step you can take to stave off costly water damage. Installing a sump pump provides a hardy barrier to flooding by automatically casting away any water that may accumulate in the home. Once again, it is an essential initial investment that will easily repay itself over time.

     

  • 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.

  • Innovative Ways to Keep Your Home Warm this Winter

    With the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer, more and more of us are reaching for that extra blanket or hot water bottle in a desperate attempt to cut back on our energy bills. More often than not though, these attempts are in vain. But what if I told you there are a number of simple and cost-effective ways you can keep your home a few degrees warmer without breaking the bank?

    Grundfos Magna 32

    DIY draught excluders

    In the modern age, it is easy to obsess over increasingly intricate and complex technologies and how they can make our lives better - and the same certainly applies to heating. But sometimes we are better off looking to the past and the use of draught excluders is one such example. Designed to prevent heat escaping from beneath your door, draught excluders are a necessity for a pleasantly warm home. If you are feeling particularly money savvy, you can easily create one of your own using nothing more than an old pair of tights and a few socks.

    Imitating double glazing

    You don’t need to shell out on double glazing to reap the rewards of it. In spite of its garish appearance, bubble wrap is a surprisingly effective alternative to double glazing. Thanks to its insulating properties, it is a more than worthy mimic. By coating your windows with bubble wrap, you can keep your home considerably warmer. Because of its appearance though, it certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone. There is another option for the more aesthetically conscious - a transparent film.

    Capturing sunlight during the day and keeping it trapped at night

    If you aren’t going to rely on conventional heating methods during the winter months, you have to make the most of what little sunlight is available to you. The most effective - and simplest - way to do this is to open your curtains during the day and close them during the night. Any sunlight that filters into your home during the day will have a warming effect and closing your curtains or blinds when the sun goes in will ensure as much of the heat is retained as possible.

    Installing the right heating pump

    As much as you can maximise the temperature of your home using a variety of DIY methods, there is no substitute for a quality heating pump. The Grundfos Magna 32 is a stellar example. As an ‘A’ rated circulator, it is widely recognised as one of the best on the market today - and it owes this status to its efficiency. It uses up to 80% less energy than a ‘D’ rated circulator, culminating in an annual saving for the average household of around 10% on electricity. Whilst saving both energy and money, the Magna 32 will ensure that you have hot water whenever you need it - whether that be to run a hot bath or to switch on a radiator.

  • An Introduction to Agricultural Irrigation

    For the unfamiliar, agricultural irrigation is the manual application of water to land for the purpose of growing and sustaining crops. What sounds like a simple process is actually bewilderingly complex at times. With climate and crops differing by region, a variety of irrigation techniques have emerged, which, while useful, also serves to complicate matters further. To help you sift through the confusing world of irrigation, we have produced this guide to the most popular, effective and efficient techniques.

    Flood irrigation

    flood irrigation

    Flood irrigation is the oldest and most inefficient form of agricultural irrigation. As its name suggests, flood irrigation essentially consists of allowing water to flow freely through a field of crops. Its haphazard application makes it an attractive choice for farmers that are reluctant to splash out on a complicated (and sometimes expensive) delivery system of pipes and pumps, but it also makes it extremely inefficient. Over half of the water intended to nourish crops is actually lost to evaporation, run-off, transpiration and infiltration of unintended areas, making flood irrigation a poor choice for those who are environmentally conscious.

    Pressurised irrigation

    Unlike flood irrigation, which can occur almost without human intervention, drip and flood irrigation is reliant on an elaborate system that provides them with a supply of pressurised water. Composed of a water source, a pump that is capable of pressurising the water, as well as a means of actually transferring water to the crops; pressurised irrigation systems are far more complex than their flood irrigation counterparts. This complexity allows pressurised systems to be far more efficient and effective, but it also makes them far more likely to break down.

    Drip irrigation

    self priming pump

    Drip irrigation is, by some distance, the most efficient form of agricultural irrigation, but it is also one of the most difficult to maintain. A network of pipes, interwoven with emitters at strategic locations, allow water to be dropped directly onto the root zone of crops with unerring accuracy, so much so, that it can result in a 95% distribution uniformity, which, for the unaware, is a measure of how evenly water soaks into the ground during irrigation.

    Sprinkler irrigation

    Sprinkler irrigation works in much the same way as drip irrigation does, just in a slightly less efficient manner. Water travels from the source, becomes pressurised thanks to a self-priming pump, and is then distributed across crop fields by a selection of sprinklers. If the sprinklers are positioned optimally, and water is applied in a uniform fashion, sprinkler irrigation can be relatively efficient. What makes sprinkler irrigation less efficient than its pressurised cousin drip irrigation, is that it can be thwarted by adverse weather conditions - even a simple breeze can drastically affect the trajectory of water from sprinklers.

  • How to Decorate Your Bathroom For Halloween

    With Halloween just days away, millions of us are busy worrying about the best way to decorate our homes in a suitably spooky manner for the year’s most frightening day. Out of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom isn’t the one that necessarily screams out scary the loudest. But, after a bit of digging, you’ll find that bathrooms are actually a standard setting for many of the most iconic horror scenes in film history. Taking some creative inspiration from hallmarks of the horror genre Psycho and The Shining can’t hurt when trying to create the perfect bathroom for Halloween.

    Psycho

    Psycho

    The shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is quite possibly the most famous horror scene in film history, and, as the most famous horror scene in film history, there is no better film to take inspiration from for your Halloween-themed bathroom. Positioning a cardboard cut-out figure purportedly clutching a knife behind a translucent shower curtain is the perfect way to echo the film whilst frightening any visitors that are unfortunate enough to enter your bathroom.

     The Shining

    the shining

    After an axe-brandishing Jack Nicholson proclaimed: “Here’s Johnny!’ whilst poking his head through a bathroom door, the scene from The Shining has become a hallmark of the horror genre. A wall decal that vividly depicts the only horror scene capable of rivalling the infamy of the shower scene in Psycho, is one worth having in your home for Halloween.

    Harry Potter

    Moaning Myrtle was an ever-present in the bathrooms at Hogwarts. Whenever she did pop up, she always had an unnerving impact on the viewer initially, but ended up leaving them laughing, which is exactly the impact a Moaning Myrtle decal in your bathroom will have on your guests. Inexpensive but guaranteed to garner a reaction, a Moaning Myrtle toilet decal is the ideal addition for any Harry Potter fan on Halloween.

    The only horror story you have to avoid

    waste water pump

    Spend too much time concerning yourself with making your bathroom look horrifying, and you can end up with a real horror story on your hands. The appliances behind-the-scenes that allow your bathroom to run smoothly on a daily basis are vital. Without a waste water pump, for example, especially given the tumultuous weather of late, you are leaving your home without a line of defence against flooding. By whisking away any encroaching water with speed and ease, a waste water pump will set your mind at ease and keep your bathroom in tip-top shape.

    Bonus tips

    There are a host of simple but spooky changes you can make to your bathroom that don’t involve imitating film. Everything from skull-shaped soap dispensers to pumpkin-adorned bath mats and towels are readily available, and each addition is equally effective at helping to create the perfect Halloween bathroom. A smattering of fake blood is another popular option, but is only worth exploring by the most daring amongst you - both because it is realistic enough to cause genuine terror and because it is likely to give you a fright when you realise how difficult it is to clean up afterwards.

  • How to Fight Back Against Food Waste

    As a society we’ve grown disturbingly accustomed to wasting resources and destroying our fragile planet. Hundreds of trillions of gallons of water are wasted globally in food production alone, an unfathomable number to the average person. And yet the water we use to drink, bathe in, shower in, and flush the toilet with, accounts for less than one per cent of the world’s overall supply. In a century where the global population is expected to surpass nine billion, it’s never been more critical to manage our use of resources and limit waste.

    We’re all guilty of wasting food but not all of us are aware of the dire impact this is having on the environment. Landfills of rotting, wasted food are potent sources of methane - a greenhouse gas with the potential to accelerate climate change even faster than carbon dioxide. A reduction in food wastage would also mean a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases in general, as the environment-harming chemicals associated with the production of food will be lessened.

    So what can we do to reduce food waste?

    Planning meals in advance

    Shopping list

    Efficiency and management is the key. At the supermarket, try to shop with a list, reducing impulsive purchases. A weekly planning schedule could help, giving you an idea of what to prepare and when. In time, you’ll develop a knack for portion sizes, and will learn what’s right for you and others, you may even find you’ve overspent in the past, making your weekly shop more cost effective.

    Getting creative with leftovers

    pickled goods

    As much as proper planning can help, leftovers are unfortunately more or less an inevitability. Freezing anything that is left over can preserve it for months. Canning, pickling and drying are three effective ways of ensuring your food goes further. The Love Food Hate Waste website is an invaluable resource - it is full of unorthodox, underrated and underappreciated cooking techniques and recipes that can help you create something delicious from what you would otherwise assume are incompatible ingredients.

    Invest in a wilo central heating pump

    wilo central heating pump

    While it won’t technically reduce the amount of food waste you generate, a wilo central heating pump will help to reduce the guilt you’ll feel after hearing the following statistic: throwing away a single burger wastes the same amount of water as running a shower for an hour and-a-half. Whenever food is wasted, so too is a mass of water.

    These ingenious central heating circulator units from Wilo regulate and maintain the water temperature in pipes even if they aren’t located near the storage tank or boiler. Although some initial energy is expended maintaining a uniform temperature, in the long term you can expect a drastic reduction in both consumption and wastage. After all, there’s no need heat up the water if it’s already at a desirable temperature, and you’ll no longer have to let the water ‘run’ as you turn on the tap - because it’ll already be hot.

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