Ask 5 Questions to Ensure Sustainable Pump Equipment
Steve Babcock, VP of Engineering, Aug 29, 2023
There’s a heightened awareness of sustainability and making environmentally friendly choices among pump equipment operators, especially in light of recent legislation banning small off-road engines used in many commercial industries.
Companies that choose to reduce the carbon footprint of their commercial pump equipment can boast a competitive advantage. That’s because about one in three U.S. consumers prioritize companies that actively reduce energy usage and their impact on the environment.
But some companies and pump operators believe sustainable pump sprayers are too costly or won’t have enough power to get the job done properly. With the right electric pump designed with the application in mind, environmentally friendly pump systems can actually perform as well or better than gas-powered pumps and lower operating costs in the long run.
Ask the following five questions when choosing the most sustainable pump for your application.
- Is it an electric vs. gas-powered pump?
- Does the pump apply proper coverage?
- What is the lifespan of the pump?
- Is the pump made in the USA?
- How loud is the pump?
RELATED RESOURCE: Gas to Electric Pump Conversion Guide
1. Is it an electric vs. gas-powered pump?
Gas-powered engines, in particular, rely on fossil fuels for operation and can emit significant amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter.
For many common commercial pump applications, such as commercial cleaning, misting, and pest control, an energy-efficient 12V electric or rechargeable battery-powered unit is ideal and has minimal impact on the environment. These high-impact commercial applications typically have low flow requirements and don’t need more than 1,200 PSI. In fact, using a gas-powered pump may be excessive.
2. Does the pump apply proper coverage?
The power source of a pump is sometimes the first and only consideration, but there’s much more to choosing an environmental pump. Products used for cleaning, fertigation, lawn care, pest control, and other applications are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and for good reason. Many of the chemicals used in these applications are corrosive and can pose a threat to waterways and wildlife when not used according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Unfortunately, many operators struggle to find a pump that produces the perfect combination of flow and pressure to dispense the proper amount of chemicals.
Responsible use of chemicals requires precise application. More power is not always better, and too much or too little PSI or GPM could result in wasted product or inconsistent coverage. This isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s also bad for your bottom line. It’s best to consult with a pump engineer to determine how much PSI and GPM you need to get the job done right.
3. What is the lifespan of the pump?
Materials that comprise pump housings and components might include aluminum, stainless steel, PVC, ceramic, and other durable materials that can take hundreds of years to break down. One of the best ways to improve sustainability in pumps is to ensure they don’t end up in landfills.
Some operators who use inferior pumps experience frequent breakdowns and failure, requiring replacements. There are some industries where the pumps are so unreliable that they’re replaced multiple times throughout a season. Diaphragm pumps used for spraying chemicals, such as pumps for soft wash and disinfection industries are just a few examples.
Ensuring chemical compatibility and using a pump designed specifically for its intended application are some of the best ways to minimize the need for repairs or replacements. To achieve this, consider plunger pumps with an anodized coating or those made out of PVC, which resist corrosion, last for years, and save time and money in the long run.
4. Is the pump made in the USA?
The shorter the distance your pump needs to travel from the manufacturer to your door, the better it is for the environment. Many commodity pumps are made overseas and shipped on cargo vessels, adding pollution to the air and oceans through the use of fossil fuels and resulting greenhouse gas emissions.
Another consideration is the amount of protective packaging required to transport pumps from overseas. There is a lot of jostling and rough handling that can occur during transport, so excessive amounts of plastic, styrofoam inserts, boxes, and clamshell containers are typically necessary to protect products from overseas.
Pumps made in the USA still require shipping, but with much less distance, packaging, and impact on the environment.
5. How loud is the pump?
While some may not consider noise pollution on par with other forms of pollutants, it does have an impact on the environment, humans, and wildlife — some studies have shown that noise pollution causes stress in some organisms and wildlife.
Lower decibel levels are conducive to battery-powered pumps, whereas a gas-powered pump with an internal combustion engine could range between 85–105 decibels. According to the CDC and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), prolonged exposure to decibels exceeding 85 requires hearing protection.
Electric pumps are typically quiet enough to use in residential areas with noise ordinances, allowing operators to perform their work during all hours of the day.
Since consumers are increasingly scrutinizing the environmental practices of the brands and companies they use, promoting and practicing sustainability not only helps the earth, it can also help boost profits.
Ready to make the switch to energy efficient pumps? Check out our Gas to Electric Pump Conversion Guide below to get a glimpse of how it works and how we can help. Then, speak with a pump expert at Pumptec to determine the best sustainable commercial pump for your application and a tailored solution.