Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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The More You Know: How Does a Pump Work?

Whether you are a single-family home owner or the manager of a New York City apartment building, you probably have at least one pump on your property. If you’ve ever wondered, “How does a pump work?”, this post explains the mechanism to you. Once you understand how pumps function, you can perform more troubleshooting on your own or better explain problems when you contact experts like Antler Pumps for a service call.

Positive Displacement Pumps: The Basics

Moving fluid through pressure changes

Positive displacement pumps are one of two common pump types used in buildings. The other type of pump is called a centrifugal pump, which we’ll discuss below.

Positive displacement pumps all execute the same essential function: moving fluids. They usually move liquids like water. The main moving part of the pump pushes air out of the way, creating a vacuum into which the substance being moved flows.

The process repeats itself over and over again, continuing to push the fluid from the inlet side of the pump (the entrance, or suction side) to the outlet (the exit, AKA the discharge side). The moving part of the pump that displaces fluid may be a flexible diaphragm, screw, or piston.

While pumps before the Industrial Age were hand cranked, most pumps today use a motor to drive the motion inside. Electric motors are most common, but you’ll also find pumps powered by steam, hydraulics, and internal combustion, among other sources.

To understand pump physics, think of using a drinking straw. When you suck on the straw, you create a partial vacuum in your mouth and decrease the pressure within the straw. This pulls liquid up the straw because there is a difference in pressure between your mouth and the pressure in the liquid you are drinking.

Centrifugal Pumps: A Different Mechanism

Harnessing centrifugal force

Centrifugal pumps utilize an alternate mechanism for moving fluids: centrifugal force. An impeller inside the pump spins around, moving water from the inlet side to the outlet side of the device. Impellers look like fans with blades or vanes that rotate very quickly. The rapid spinning of the impeller creates centrifugal force, which pushes the fluid through the pump.

It’s easy to confuse centrifugal force with centripetal force. As a refresher, remember that centrifugal force is an outward force felt in a rotating frame of reference. You may have seen centrifuges spinning blood in a laboratory to separate its components by density.

You might have also used a salad spinner that removes water from rinsed lettuce by moving it quickly around in a circle as you crank the handle. Centrifugal force removes the water by forcing it to the outside part of the spinner, while the lettuce remains dry in the center basket. The same thing happens in your clothes washer on the spin cycle.

An even more familiar example is the pull you feel to the left when you make a sharp right turn in your automobile. You can really notice this on some curved exit ramps when driving off the highway. Some amusement park rides take this sensation to extremes.

There are two basic types of pump impellers:

  • Axial flow: moves fluid parallel to the shaft
  • Radial flow: moves fluid perpendicular to the shaft

Sometimes impellers are completely open inside the pump casing. At other times, they are covered on one side or completely covered (AKA shrouded), depending on the pump’s intended function. Like positive displacement pumps, centrifugal pumps use a motor to drive the impeller.

Other Pump Parts Essential to Function

Parts for control, safety and efficiency

Depending on the pump you’re using, you’ll find other parts that are vital to its function:

  • Casing: protects the pump from the outside environment and protects users from getting caught in the inner mechanics
  • Shaft: transfers power from the driver to the element that moves the liquid and can be used to change the speed of the pump
  • Bearings: rollers, balls, or sleeves used to reduce friction
  • Strainers: catch debris or unwanted material before they enter the pump
  • Gaskets and seals: prevent material from leaking outside the pump and keep the interior of the pump clean
  • Valves: help control the flow of liquid inside the pump
  • Mounting: parts that affix the pump to one location and reduce vibration

The next time you’re having a pump serviced on your property, ask if you can observe. You’ll learn more about what type of pump is operating and what the interior components look like. This will help you if you have a problem with the pump in the future.

Do you have a pump that doesn’t seem to be working right? At Antler Pumps, our professionals have decades of experience with all types of residential and commercial pumps. Feel free to get in touch with questions by calling us at 212-534-2500, or use our online form to schedule an appointment.


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of Antler.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with Antler.nyc). We may collect and store the following personal information:

  • Name, email, address, telephone number, and (depending on the service used), move-in dates;
  • Transactional information (such as lease terms, lease parties);
  • Computer sign-on data, statistics on page views, and traffic to and from the Website; and
  • Other information, including IP address and other web log information.

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Antler Pump & Motor Corporation, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Antler Pump & Motor Corporation. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your Sanitaryplumbing.com password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since Antler.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.