Most choose a parallel pump installation under the false premise that it will save money, not because it is the most effective solution. In theory, a parallel pump design appears to be a very advantageous pumping solution. But contractors and engineers that choose multiple inexpensive pumps in a parallel configuration instead of a single stronger, more efficient pump, may be designing a more costly situation in the long run.
Total costs stretch far beyond the initial pump price
There are many elements to consider besides water flow and pump prices for long-term success and total cost of operations. When factoring in all the valves and control components, changing operating conditions, and inefficiencies of weak parallel pumps, the initial calculations supporting the parallel pump plan do not always prove out in real world conditions.
Inexpensive variable speed pool pumps, commonly selected for a parallel pump installation, must be used in coordination with a variety of butterfly valves, check valves, and control devices to achieve desired efficiency from a parallel pump installation. The maximum efficiency conditions required to match the performance of strong single pump demands a sophisticated balance of all these components, and that rarely works out as imagined.
As each of those additional components age and begin to fail, that balance of flow and operational efficiency becomes a monitoring nightmare. Each component wears at a different rate – always in a progressing state of deterioration. That means as you compensate for the degraded conditions of one component, another is in the process of changing the dynamic.
Multiple control devices require more frequent monitoring and invites more opportunities for component failure. Troubleshooting a faltering parallel pump installation with extra components makes it more difficult to isolate and identify service issues. Time consuming maintenance and servicing work can quickly eliminate those initial cost savings that seemed to justify choosing weaker inexpensive pool pumps.
Too many factors are in play that can result in the parallel pumps actually working against each other instead of in true tandem fashion. As one pump starts to fail, losing efficiency, other pumps on the system must work harder to overcome the loss of productivity of the failing pump. This reduces the value of the parallel pump efficiency model and leads to premature failure of all the pumps being overworked by the initial failing pump.
Choose a pump that’s truly built for the task
Choosing inexpensive pool pumps for use in a parallel pump installation is bound to have a shorter mechanical life, even if the system is working at utmost efficiency. They are simply not built for long-term use and will experience reliability issues. They are recreational products, not industrial grade, and you shouldn’t expect them to withstand the demands of a commercial application.
C-series pumps from Com-Pac Filtration are designed with high-quality components for a longer life. This epoxy coated series of pumps have long-lasting stainless-steel impellers and powder-coated volutes. They are built for durable work in a single pump installation with flow rates up to 2000 gpm in the standard series, and up to 6000 gpm for the custom C-series models.
Com-Pac C-Series Pump
The C-series pump can outlast common pool pumps by twice as much, and overall life cycle costs are much less. Maintenance of a single pump installation, which require fewer variable components throughout the installation, is less demanding. Single pump installation with a strong pump like the C-series pumping, built for efficiently handling higher flow rates, consume less energy than multiple weaker pumps in a parallel pump installation. Total energy effectiveness cannot be ignored when determining the most cost-effective solution for any pumping project.
Planning for any hydraulic pump project must consider these key factors beyond initial pump price:
- Real pump life expectancy
- Compare full installation costs for single pump vs. parallel pump installations with supporting components
- The burden of cost for maintaining all components of the full installation
- Overall energy savings for the full pump life cycle
Real pump value proves out over time
Parallel pump installations often appear good on paper, but in real world practice they commonly fail to meet expectations. When considering overall maintenance and energy costs, a single pump installation may prove more efficient and cost-effective in the long run. The key to a successful single pump installation is the proper selection of a durable, strong unit. A highly-efficient quality pump with long-lasting components will require less energy, monitoring, and maintenance, and that’s where you’ll find the real pump cost savings.
Com-Pac Filtration has over forty years of experience in the field and a rich knowledgebase to help you plan your next pump installation project. Whether it’s a parallel pump installation or a single pump configuration, consult with Com-Pac to learn the best solution for your project.