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Self-priming centrifugal pumps are easy to maintain and service because they can be kept above the water line. The term “self-priming” means an air-water mixture can be used to reach a fully-primed pumping condition. They are perfect for use with:
1.) During the priming cycle, air enters the pump and mixes with water at the impeller (a spinning, fan-like mechanism creating centrifugal force)
2.) Air and water leave together by the centrifugal force of the impeller
3.) Air-free water flows down the impeller chamber due to gravity
4.) When all of the air has exited, it creates a vacuum in the suction line and pushes water up to the impeller, creating a pumping action
The main difference between a self-priming centrifugal pump and a standard (non self-priming) centrifugal pump is that a standard pump cannot operate with air in the system. Air is much harder to pump than water (and has different properties). So when air gets into the centrifugal pump, it will become air-bound – non-operational because there is air in a space that is normally filled with liquid.
It’s a common misconception that the impeller uses a scooping motion. An easy way to visualize how a standard centrifugal pump works is to imagine a car tire flicking off water on a rainy day. This is centrifugal force and the tire is the impeller.
The impeller is the rotating part of a centrifugal pump designed to move fluids by rotation. Imagine the blades of a fan, and how the angles of them move air in a specified direction. An impeller, by design, moves liquid similar to the way a fan’s blades move air. Although there are different types of impellers, they all use centrifugal force to continuously move liquid into the next stage of the centrifugal pump. The blades of an impeller are referred to as vanes.
The impeller of a Centrifugal Pump can be one of three (3) types, including: