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CountyLine sprinkler pumps at Tractor Supply Co.

Sprinkler Pumps Buying Guide

Sprinkler pumps are designed to pump water from a shallow well or lake for an in-ground irrigation system. These pumps are made to provide a steady, moderate to high flow of water at a low pressure. Not much pressure is needed to push water out of a sprinkler jet, so these pumps are great for homeowners or property managers looking for a quick and easy way to keep their lawns green and landscaping watered.

How to Choose a Lawn Sprinkler Water Pump

When choosing a sprinkler pump, consider the following:

  • How much pressure do you need?
  • Is there a rise between the water source and the sprinkler pump (elevation)?
  • Is the pump self-priming?

How Much Pressure Do I Need?

You always want to match the power of the pump with the size of the job. For example, if you have a sprinkler pump that puts out more horsepower than is needed to push water to a small lawn irrigation system, you may be spending more money than necessary on electricity to run the pump. Most small irrigation systems for a lawn or garden do not require much pressure. Find out what your sprinkler system needs in Gallons Per Minute (GPM) and Pounds per Square Inch (PSI), then determine whether your sprinkler pump is generating the right amount of power.

Sprinkler pumps work well for most yard sizes, however if you have a medium to large irrigation system that needs more water pressure and have noticed your sprinklers do not put out enough water to work properly, consider upgrading to a jet pump.

Maximium Depth to Water

Read the specifications for each lawn sprinkler pump to find out the maximum depth to water. This is a measurement of the pump's ability to pull water upward to overcome changes in elevation between the water source and the water pump. If you live on a hill and you want to pull water up from the base of the hill, you will need to find a capable sprinkler pump. As long as you know the elevation difference in feet between the water source and where you plan to put your sprinkler pump, the maximum depth to water specification will tell you this.

Self-Priming Water Pumps

Look for a sprinkler pump that is self-priming. Older water pumps are usually not self-priming, which means the user must prime the pump prior to use to eliminate any air pockets that have formed inside the pump. When a pump runs "dry", or without water, the motor could burn out. Because most people "winterize" lawn sprinkler pumps, or disconnect them and remove all water to prevent freezing over the winter, choosing a sprinkler pump that is self priming will save you lots of time and headache in the spring.

Where Should I Place My Pump?

Low-pressure pumps such as sprinkler pumps and centrifugal pumps are not designed to lift water above 25 feet. That is, the sprinkler pump cannot be located more than 25 feet above the water source being pumped. These pumps are not strong enough to pull water beyond this range. Consider a different type of pump if you have more than 25 feet of elevation between your water source and the pump location. Keep in mind this height limit may be less in areas of high altitude.

If you are pulling water from a stream, river, or lake, you will need to use a foot valve witha large screen area to prevent debris from entering into the pump system. Debris can cause a pump not to function correctly by blocking or clogging the internal moving parts of the pump. For this reason, routine pump maintenance is recommended.

Although sprinkler pumps are designed to pump water for a sprinkler or irrigation system, it is not a good idea to place the pump in an area susceptible to extreme temperatures, rain, snow, or ice. Place the sprinkler pump in a dry area that is protected from rain but still allows for sufficient air circulation. You want to keep the pump dry, but you also want to prevent the motor from overheating.