Correctly planning and installing a landscape sprinkler system requires understanding basic plumbing.
That’s because, before the first head pops up, an irrigation system water supply must be connected to a pressurized water source.
One choice for this connection is a sump pump that operates continuously, pumping water either from an open body of water, such as a pond or stream or from the wet well in your home’s basement.
I know this sounds like a weird thing to do but hang in there while I explain why it makes sense later.
Pumping water from the well makes sense because it’s easier to access this water than to store it.
From this article, you will learn whether it is possible to operate a sprinkler system with a sump pump.
But first, let’s take a look at how much pressure a sump pump produces.
Amount of water pressure generated by a sump pump
Frequent heavy rain can lead to flooding.
I know, firsthand.
I live on nature’s rain-dance floor: in Kenya.
If you do not have gutters attached to your house, the water may collect around your foundation and cause problems.
So it makes sense that, to ward off basement flooding, homes here have sump pumps.
A sump pump is a removable device that gets rid of groundwater located between buildings or other structures by pumping the water away to a safe location.
A sump pump works well in any area that is prone to flooding and generally produces 10-60 psi water pressure.
To function, most sump pumps found in homes utilize electricity to operate.
It is also attached to a discharge pipe, similar to the one in your sink, which will send the water away from your home.
The majority of sump pumps use a submersible pump, which means that the motor is completely submerged in the water it is draining.
This prevents the motor from becoming damaged.
On the other hand, water-powered sump pumps can be used as backup pumps in case of emergency or failure of an electrical pump.
These pumps work by utilizing the Venturi effect, due to the high velocity and low pressure at the nozzle of the pump.
Water is drawn into the device and discharged.
Can a sump pump run a sprinkler?
Drought is a dangerous time for a landscaper or a homeowner whose yard needs irrigation.
We all know the dangers of leaving the water running in our homes to do nothing but create wasteful runoff, but we still need water to care for the plants and grass in our yard.
Many homeowners and landscapers may feel helpless when it comes to getting their lawn and garden the water they need during a drought, but there is actually a solution: run a sump pump to water your lawn.
A sump pump sends water from your pool or pond out to your sprinkler so you don’t have to waste it on the ground and can get care for your lawn and garden.
The problem is that many sump pumps are not made to run sprinklers, but if you find one that can handle the job then you will be able to do your yard work without wasting any water.
In the sump, you can install a second pump to provide the pressure required to run the sprinkler.
A float switch can be added to turn the pump on and off as needed, allowing you to operate and water your yard at whatever time of day is convenient for you.
Wet seasons can get busier for sump pumps, but drought seasons can result in thirsty lawns and gardens.
When that happens, you may need to add a flow regulator in order to keep the sprinkler from breaking.
While it’s possible to run sprinklers off of a sump pump, it isn’t always the most efficient choice because there are other options that will work to get your yard the water it needs such as tanks and irrigation pumps.
Pumps from ponds or pools can be used to water yards in a time of need when other sources are unavailable, but they should only be seen as a temporary solution because they may not be able to provide enough water.
Don’t utilize a garden hose with a sump pump
Maintaining your sump pump to keep it in good working order is vital for protecting your home from flooding during heavy rains.
If you have recently experienced flooding due to a clogged or malfunctioning sump pump, it might be time for an upgrade.
If you’re replacing your old tanked style sump pump with a new automatic one, though, keep in mind that many models require the use of specific discharge tubing types and sizes.
To prevent damage and ensure proper performance from your new sump pump, use discharge lines that match the typical sump pump outlet sizes of 1-1/4″ or 1-1/2″.
Since a garden hose typically has an outside diameter of around 5/8″ and 3/4″ you can’t use your garden hose as discharge tubing.
The pump will run longer and use more energy in an effort to keep up with the required amount of water, causing it to fail faster and become less efficient.
You’ll also lose the benefit of the pump’s high-capacity pumping rate, which was designed with larger tubing sizes to enhance performance.