Congratulations, your building has made an investment in it’s future by doing away with the inefficiency of your oversized cold-water booster pump station that was burning energy. Your brand-new system has VFD controls that can vary electric motor speed that allow multi-stage pumps to be ramped up during periods of high demand, then pulled back when lower flow rates are needed.
The new pumping system is so good at matching the speed to the required flow rates that you are now realizing up to a 50% energy savings over your old booster pump system. So, what could possibly go wrong?
The multi-stage centrifugal pumps kryptonite
Vertical multi-stage centrifugal pumps are the best suited pumps for energy savings in a high-rise building. They utilize many small impellers that impart kinetic energy from one stage to the next providing serious water pressure with a low power requirement. These pumps can operate in a wide range of flow/head scenarios; however, performance – and thus – your system efficiency can be drastically reduced if something as simple as fine debris starts to enter a pump through your buildings main water supply.
“Debris” or not “debris” that is the question“
In any high-rise building, water is delivered from pressurized zones strategically placed in a city. In Toronto, there are over 6000 km of watermains that carry clean water to and from these zones. Of these water mains the average age is 50 years old, at least 20% of these mains are 80 years old and 8% of the city water mains are older than a century.
Most water mains in Toronto are made from cast iron that are rusting. This systemic corrosion leads to water main breaks, along with the dislodging of debris that ends up in potable water being supplied. Your buildings first line of defence against this unwanted matter would be filtration screens that trap and remove the coarse particulates. Unfortunately, the finer particles may be still making it through.
What you should be looking for
If there are fine debris and particulates making it into your buildings water system, they do not only pose a problem for your new pumps, they can wreak havoc on your entire domestic mechanical system. Fine debris will create a barrier coating on heat exchangers, damage control valves and will add an abrasive element that adds to the erosion of your copper plumbing.
Two main ways debris may affect a multistage pumping systems ability to conserve energy:
- A multi-stage centrifugal pump is made up of tightly spaced stages which have impellers. If debris gets lodged in the eye of any impeller, there will be a loss of hydronic performance, and extra energy will have to be used to compensate for the pressure lost until the impeller is cleared. This can make motors run harder and more often than necessary.
- To ensure efficient operation, systems will have multiple pumps working in parallel that are programed to turn on and off to match flow/head demand. As pumps turn off, check valves – installed on the discharge side of a pump station – act to safeguard against water “back-flowing” into the pumps. When closed, check valves will need to be tightly seated to prevent water from re-entering an inactive pump. Excessive debris may prevent check valves from closing properly. If this happens, water back-flow could cause inactive motors spin in reverse. A controlling VFD will recognize that there’s an issue with the pump then disable its operation in the series until the problem gets rectified. This will force the active pump(s) to work much harder than the original operational design dictated.
How you use “JUDO” to protect your investment
The best way to eliminate this problem of unwanted system debris is to have an added filtration system that can catch the finest deposits of dirt and debris. This filtration system would have to run 24 hours a day to continually filter out the fine-grained impurities and particulates that may have otherwise found their way into your mechanical system.
The good news is such a system exists and has been designed by a company called JUDO just for this purpose.
A properly sized JUDO water filter gets installed – in-line – somewhere before the suction side of a booster pump system on the 3” – 4” supply line. There will be no loss of city water pressure as water travels through the filter body containing a reusable sleeve that collects all impurities. The clear filter housing contains small vacuum heads that dispose of particulates collected on the sleeve; they will cycle over pre-determined times, syphoning up collected debris then automatically purge the matter down a drain. This unique filtration system will reset and repeat continually, constantly keeping a buildings water supply free of debris.
See the JUDO water filter in action below…
JUDO water filter key benefits
- Eliminates sediment particles such as rust and dirt. Filters particles as small as 100 microns
- Efficiently backwash’s with NO interruption of water supply and minimal water consumption
- Protects pipes, boilers, pumps, cooling towers, valves, regulators, controls, etc.
- Environmentally friendly – does not require replacement cartridges
- Protects energy efficiency and longevity of mechanical equipment such as hot water tanks, dishwashers, laundry machines, etc.
- Reduces maintenance costs on plumbing and home appliances with no replacement cartridge costs
The next step
If your new cold-water booster pump has been property sized, you should be reaping the benefits of its operational excellence and enjoying the continued energy savings as a result. If performance seems hampered, you should have an authorized technician check to see if your building may be having an issue with debris entering the building. For a nominal cost – in comparison to what the overall maintenance requirement might be by leaving this problem unresolved – you can have a Judo filtration system in place to remove all fine sediment that will help to maintain the operational integrality of your whole mechanical system.
Feel free to contact us anytime to get more information on how to add a Judo water filter to your buildings mechanical system.