Choosing a pump can be a very difficult process, especially when using for an irrigation system. To make matters even more complicated, installing a pump typically requires an assortment of parts and accessories that aren’t common knowledge for the DIYer. In this resource, we will share a brief overview of some pump accessories that might be necessary if you’re planning on installing a pump for your irrigation system.
Y-Strainer: A screen mesh inline strainer with drain or flush port that prevents large debris from entering the pump when installed on the suction line or anywhere in a piped system to collect and flush debris easily. The Y-Strainer is normally installed horizontally with the drain port position downwards for easy flushing. If installing in a vertical pipe then it should be installed with the pipe flow direction coming in from the top, flowing downward. The is a flow direction arrow on most units to ensure proper installation.
Basket Strainer: The suction side of the pump is not always the best location for the Y strainer but a basket strainer is perfect. A basket strainer is normally used with centrifugal pumps to filter out large debris entering the suction hose. Basket strainers connect easily to the submerged end of the suction line to capture debris and keep the pump operating at full capacity. Available in a wide variety of materials and sizes.
Inlet Screen: Provides an extra level of filtration prior to liquid/water being introduced to the suction line of a pump. Typically for dirty water sources. Usually necessary when pulling from a lake, pond, or river.
Foot Valve: A foot valve is a simple check valve that holds water in the intake pipe when the pump is turned off, so the pump maintains its prime and backflow of water is prevented. Helps to keep centrifugal pumps primed. Foot valves are usually installed at the beginning of the intake pipe/suction line. The foot valve is commonly used with a basket strainer.
End-suction centrifugal and jet pumps should have a foot valve installed on the intake pipe/suction line. Submersible pumps typically have built-in foot valves.
Suction Hose: A hose used for suction side of the pump to draw the water into the pump. Suction hoses must be non collapsible and are usually reinforced rubber or PVC. Sizing the hose is crucial to optimal operation. It is recommended to maintain a straight length run of hose or pipe at least 5 - 10 times the diameter of the hose or pipe between the pump and any other component, such as elbow fittings or the foot valve. So a 2" suction pipe would need at least 10 - 20 inches of straight pipe length on the suction side. Also never reduce the pipe size on the suction side, use the same or one size larger hose or pipe as the inlet connection. Provide proper support for the suction hose or pipe so it does not put any strain on the pump itself.
Discharge Hose: The discharge hose is connected to the pump outlet providing the access point for your irrigation system. Several hose or pipe options are available for the discharge side of the pump. The choice often depends on your irrigation application. In an agriculture application someone might choose layflat or poly for this whereas for a lawn sprinkler system most often PVC or PE sprinkler hose is used.
Below are various examples from Munro' catalog showing how these components might be installed in a system using a centrifugal pump: