Types of equipment

Pumps are available as submersible shown below (installed below the water).

submersible pump example.jpg

and centrifugal as shown below (installed typically on the ground or a concrete pad above the water level)

Centrifugal pump.jpg

Centrifugal pumps have a footvalve installed at the end of the suction pipe which can sometimes malfunction causing the suction pipe and the pump to "loose it's prime". Then if the pump is run without water flowing through it properly the seals can be damaged. Also, the impeller, bearings, and plumbing can be damaged. This is one reason we favor electronic pump protection.

Most centrifugal pumps cannot provide the higher pressure we prefer for optimum performance of the rotary sprinkler head zones in our irrigation system installations. There is only one centrifugal pump we install that can come close to the outstanding performance of submersible pumps, however that pump is only available with plastic impellers and if it looses suction prime only once  . . .  it can melt the impellers. Centrifugal pumps can be destroyed by freezing weather. Self priming centrifugal pumps are available, however no centrifugal pump will prime (even so called self primers) if there is even the slightest amount of crack or a leak to air atmosphere. These cracks and leaks occur often enough to make submersible pumps the best choice.


Pumps are commonly controlled electrically by using the irrigation controller, or by using a pressure switch in combination with an air tank. We generally recommend using the irrigation controller as the priority method of control. If the buyer needs requires a 24 hour on demand pressure system for lake / river water hoses or domestic home water, or, if the source of water is a water well with tank and pressure switch which also feeds the domestic water to the house - - - we have developed a proprietary win-win method of having the best features of both control methods. We know of no other irrigator or pump contractor who offers this "dual control" with the ability to have the irrigation controller have a priority over the pressure switch.

Why is this an advantage ? Because under most common water tank and pressure switch installations the water pressure constantly cycles between the low side of the pressure switch and the high side of the pressure switch - - the "cut in" and the "cut out". This often results in the pressure distribution being rather lower ~ 50% of the time for rotary heads watering turfgrass areas which give their best performance under constant higher pressure. By having the irrigation controller take charge of the pump when an irrigation cycle is running the pump pressure stays more constant at high levels and the constant cycling of the pump on and off is eliminated when the sprinkler irrigation system is running. As always, the irrigation cycle is usually programmed to run at late night or in the wee hours of the morning so as to conserve water from evaporation and not interfere with pressure for domestic uses of water when needed inside the home during the day. This win-win method can also result in longer life for the pump and the pump controller relays as well. We can discuss the numerous advantages of this method with the potential customer on site, in person.

Not all installations need be as sophisticated or formidable as this flagship installation below on the San Marcos river. Circuit breaker subpanel is to the left outside the image mounted on a utility pole.

Link to an avi video download demonstrating performance of the system above as demonstrated by one brass rainbird agricultural sprinkler operating at better than 95 psi with a 65 foot throw:


AVI video file Giant.avi (1.4 MB)

Below an example of a 24 hour "on demand" type of pump & filter system. The concrete vault was already installed by the owner and our installation was very constrained by the limited space available. We tried to convince him to allow us to install on the boat house but it was to no avail. Surprisingly, this particular installation has required the least amount of filter cleaning of all our installations.


Link to an avi video download demonstrating performance of the system above as shown by a wide open water hose without any nozzle on the end:

  1. Powerful-WEB.jpg

    AVI video file Powerful.avi (1.7 MB)

    Try doing that with your typical garden hose !


We only use the highest quality ADJUSTABLE brass pressure relief valves to protect our systems against potential overpressure situations. We require adjustable pressure relief valves since we need to custom tailor the actual relief pressure to each individual system. This example was installed on a system for a master plumber who requested it to be installed at this height. Eventually it was plumbed to take any vented water back down to the river. Inexperienced contractors don't often install the highest quality part available for these critical safety devices and often don't know the proper place where these should be installed within the system.

A word to the wise:

There are so many details in the overall installation of these systems that at least three types suffer the most:

1. Do-it-yourselfers

2. Unlicensed handymen and contractors from unrelated fields

3. Licensed irrigators without the experience and without references to show of successful lake pump and advanced filter installations

Individuals such as those above attempting these types of installations will soon be lost in a sea of confusion and frustration. We have been called in more than once to correct defective work and have always concluded it would have been less expensive and less frustrating had the owner called us out first.