FAQs on how to get mains boosting right

Boosting mains water pressure correctly requires research of the client’s property, understanding the client’s brief, a flexible attitude if that brief changes, and accurate calculation of normal and peak demand flow rates, friction losses, and more. Pump World offers answers to the frequently asked questions when it comes to achieving optimum results. 

Once you have got the specification right, the next step is delivering on that spec from choosing the best solution from the quotes you have received to installation, commissioning, and maintenance.

What information do I need to find out about the client’s property?
Here is a property research checklist of all the details you need before specification:

● Number of floors
● Type of heating system (combi, unvented or gravity)
● Number and type of water outlets (including flow rates)
● Type of showers (high flow or standard)
● Pressure ratings of water outlets
● Location of highest-located water outlet
● Property occupancy
● Type of application (standard domestic house, house-share, small hotel, large hotel, sports club, apartment block, office, nursing home, hospital etc)
● Location of plant-room, space available and access restrictions
● Boiler rating in kW
● Is water treatment required (softener, conditioner or filtration)?

What information do I need to find out about the client and their brief?
The main information you need to find out from your client is their budget, the pressure they would like to achieve in the showers, and their priorities in terms of running costs, noise, and performance.

How do I work out flow rates and all the calculations I need to size the right solution?
To size the right solution, you will need to work out the following using a loading-units calculator:

● Calculated normal demand flow rate
● Calculated peak demand flow rate

The loading-units calculator will ask you to input the number of floors and water outlets in the property as well as friction losses at the highest water outlet, and friction losses at peak flow rates.

Another important factor to consider is the percentage of pump redundancy required for emergency cover at peak demand.

For example, if you are boosting a property that cannot operate without water for any period of time (like a hospital or nursing home), a twin or trio pump set with Duty, Assist, and Standby options could be the most reliable option.

When these calculations have been accurately determined, you will have worked out the performance/duty of the pump set your client’s property needs.

Now, you can research all the pump sets that have that performance/duty, and then narrow down your options by considering noise level, energy efficiency, and budget.

If this all sounds too complicated, use the Pump World Mains Boosting Specification Service, and we will work it out for you.

What type of pump is quietest and most energy efficient?
Decibel ratings vary between products, so it is always worth checking the rating of the exact pump you are looking at. 45-59 dB(A) is considered low volume whereas 60-69 is medium and 70-79 is high. As a side-note, please make sure to check the distance the noise level has been measured from. Again, this may vary with each manufacturer but it is important to ensure you are comparing like for like.

Variable speed booster pumps are typically the best option to choose in terms of quiet operation and energy efficiency.

Variable speed pumps only run when required, not all the time like a fixed speed pump, therefore reducing noise emissions, energy consumption, and water hammer thanks to the gradual switching off of the pump.

Can I boost directly from the mains?
If you are boosting mains pressure above 12 litres per minute, then you will either need to specify a pump/accumulator combination or a pump/break tank combination. When boosting above 12 litres per minute, you SHOULD NOT put a pump directly on the mains without an accumulator or break tank as this is against the regulations of most water authorities.

If the client’s brief changes, and they’ve added an extra bathroom, how easy is it to adapt the specification?
You will need to go back to the loading-unit calculator, and re-calculate with the additional bathroom.

Why does it matter if the client’s property is in a hard water area?
As we all know, hard water can cause a myriad of problems with limescale build-up affecting the performance and efficiency of pipes, pumps, break tanks, showers, boilers etc. That is why it is a good idea to incorporate a water treatment solution in your quotation to the client.

Should I bother having the pump commissioned?
Commissioning is a service where a distributor or manufacturer conducts a site visit after installation. It is recommended to ensure an easy, accurate and efficient installation, giving peace of mind to both the installer and client. It also validates the manufacturer’s warranty.

Regular maintenance is also important for keeping the manufacturer warranty valid and for extending the life of the pump.
Helping you with mains boosting specification:

If you need a hand with mains boosting specification, Pump World has access to all the leading pump, tank and cylinder manufacturers, and offers an independent mains boosting specification service to help installers choose the right pump, and put together the right mix of products (pump, accumulator, break tank, hot water cylinder etc) to meet the client’s brief and deliver a solution that works.


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