How does a water pump work

how does a water pump work

If you have ever experienced flooding before, then you have most likely used a water pump. These handy devices allow you to take the water and direct it away from where it is sitting, whether it’s in your basement, your yard, or somewhere else where you don’t want a pool of water to be. While these machines are awfully handy in these cases, How does a water pump work exactly? How is it that you can pump the water from one place to another with a single device? Well, to help you figure that out we are going to dive headfirst into the world of pumping so that you can not only understand the process better, but you should have a better idea of what to look for in a water pump so if you ever have to buy one you won’t be lost.

Types of Water Pumps

When talking about these devices, there are two primary mechanisms that can pump water through the system. The first is a centrifugal pump and the second is a positive displacement pump. For the most part, however, you will only be needing a centrifugal model for home use, as positive displacement pumps are designed mostly for industrial purposes that need air-free lines and deal with high-viscosity liquids.

Hand Pumps

Another thing to think about is that you might also be able to find a manually operated pump to remove water. These devices are great because they don’t rely on electricity but they can also be labor-intensive and time-consuming. We only recommend getting a hand pump if you have a little bit of water to remove or don’t have access to power (such as in an outage).

Step of How does a water pump work

So, now that we’ve established that centrifugal pumps are the way to go, how do they work? Well, let’s take a look at the internal components to understand this process of water removal.

What is Centrifugal Force?

If you have ever been on a merry-go-round that’s spinning at high speeds, then you have undoubtedly felt the effects of centrifugal force. In that instance, you feel like you’re going to fly off the sides of the merry-go-round because the speed is forcing objects to go from the inside to the outside. This is also why if you swing a bucket of water in a circle the water won’t spill out. Overall, this force is both powerful and easy to implement, which is why it’s so effective in water pumps.

What’s Inside the Pump

To help move the water, these devices use internal impellers (like a propeller on a boat) to move water from one location to the other. The faster that the impeller spins, the more water is pushed through the system, and the quicker you can get it all out. Because the impeller is moving in a single direction, the water only has one place to go, which is why it doesn’t go back into the line, even if the pump is submerged.

Pump Varieties

Even though the operation is still the same, you can find different designs that are built for specific purposes. For example, a trash pump is designed to allow for thick chunks to move through the system along with the water. This is hugely beneficial if you’re trying to get rid of flooding that has a lot of debris floating in it.

Another pump variation is the submersible model, which means that the whole unit is waterproof and can, therefore, be submerged completely by the water. The benefit of that kind of system is that you can toss the pump into the flooded area and it will suck everything out without having to readjust it. As long as you place it at the lowest point in the water, it should be able to remove it all without moving. This is also helpful just in case the device gets knocked over. Some standard pumps are not submersible, so if they fall into the water, then they might stop working entirely.

How to Ensure that Your Pump Works Properly

Not all water pumps are the same, so you don’t want to assume that one model will work as well as another. Here are some common issues that you might have to worry about. Some units will be built to deal with these problems but others might not.

● Corrosion:

some components of the pump might rust or corrode over time with constant exposure to water

● Overheating:

some models have a shutoff valve for when the motor overheats, which can make it take longer to finish

● Water Activation:

some pumps have to be sitting in water for them to work, while others might have a feed line that sucks water through so you can keep the pump cleaner and have it last longer

● Clogging:

unless you get a pump that is designed to filter large pieces of debris out it can get stuck and clog the system, meaning that you have to clear it out to keep the pump working


Overall, having a water pump at your disposal is a great benefit if you live in an area that has a lot of flooding. Just make sure that you get a model that can handle your needs and you should be able to dry your home or property out in no time.


Hi, I'm Jeff and this is my blog. Pumply.net is your source for everything relating to pumps. Visit us any time you have a question about an at home, or outdoor pump system, or want the latest reviews of the many pumps in the Amazon marketplace. Enjoy!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
best lawn mower in south africa - September 23, 2017

wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You should continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

Deb Pearl - November 17, 2017

We recently did have a small flood in our basement and I was wondering how they got all the water out of our house using that tiny machine. That is really cool that it works by using centrifugal force! I didn’t know it was the same kind of force that you feel on a merry-go-round. That is super interesting! Thank you for the information!

Elsa Anderson - December 9, 2017

I like how you opened your statement with discussing that a pump is used to displace water from a place it’s not meant to be in. That’s perfect to learn for my parent’s basement is currently flooding due to some pipe being broken. They have no idea how to shut the water off thus it flooded the upper area too. Hopefully, I can get a plumber to fix their pipe issue ASAP and have water pump service available to drain their home. Thanks.

Ridley Fitzgerald - December 18, 2017

It’s cool to learn about well water pumps. I had no idea that overheating would be a problem for these, but it makes sense. If we move onto a property with a pump, should we hire a pro to come and inspect it?

Kylie Dotts - January 3, 2018

I didn’t realize that there were things like trash water pumps on the market. It really does astound me how technology has allowed for the development of so many helpful tools. Having a pump that could get rid of water even if there were big chunks of things in them would be absolutely amazing!!


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