Availability of water is one of the things we all look for when getting an apartment. Running water is necessary whether it’s a single-family home or a condo in a high-rise. But have you ever wondered how they pump water from the ground floor to the first floor?
Pumping water from the ground floor to the first floor requires a gravity tank or pneumatic water system. Gravity tank systems have pros such as low cost and simplicity with cons like pollution and exposure to weather elements. The pneumatic water tank system is very efficient, but it’s costly.
While the water distribution system might seem quite simple, it requires special attention and getting everything right. Here, we discuss how to pump water from the ground floor to the first floor.
Water Distribution for Upper Floors
Getting water to higher floors from the ground looks like a simple thing. After all, no matter where you live in a building, you have to turn the tap, and water starts coming. But you’ll soon realize it’s much more complex when water suddenly stops. It’s not easy to get water to flow uphill, and that’s what happens when you have to pump water from the ground floor to the upper floor. It usually requires pumps, tanks, pipes, valves, and more. The two common distribution systems use gravity tanks and pneumatic water pump systems.
Gravity tanks have been in use for decades, and many homes still use them now. The pumps will pump water from the water source into the tanks with a gravity tank. These tanks are usually higher than the floors they’re supplying water for. Once the tanks are full, the pump goes off, and the whole building or floors that the tanks serve will be able to get water. The pump usually comes on periodically to refill the tanks. Depending on the floors of the house, there can be several tanks. For example, the tallest building globally, Burj Khalifa, has mechanical floors that house water tanks, pumps, air handling units, and electrical sub-stations. Gravity tanks rely simply on gravity to supply water to the household. This means the distribution is downward, and the tank has to be above the building for the water distribution to work best.
Pros of Gravity Tank
Gravity tanks have several advantages, such as:
The cost of installing gravity tanks is quite low, and it requires only periodic maintenance. It doesn’t require any extra power to function once water is pumped into the tank unless there are heaters for hot water. Depending on the water source, you may not even need a pump to get water into the tank. For example, if the reservoir is at a 6-story building level and the tank is at the same level, the elevation can generate pressure to push the water into the gravity tank. But if the reservoir is at ground level and the tank is at a 6-story building level, you’ll need a pump.
2. Simplicity of Design and Installation
Gravity tanks are simple to design and use. They don’t require any monitoring to supply the whole house with water as long as they’re above the home. This makes it possible for them to last for several years when properly designed with only periodic maintenance and cleaning necessary to ensure they don’t get polluted.
Cons of Gravity Tanks
While it’s an effective method, it has some problems, such as:
1. Exposure to Weather Elements
Not all buildings have a mechanical floor for gravity tanks. It’s common to find these tanks installed outside, which means weather conditions affect them. Extreme heat and cold take their toll on the tank’s content, especially if it’s not a material that properly insulates. For instance, water in steel tanks can get very hot in sunny areas. All materials used, such as plastic, concrete, or steel, have issues. Other weather elements such as wind, snow, natural disasters, and more could affect the tank and water system.
2. Prone to Pollution
These tanks are also more prone to pollution. This is especially true if they’re outdoor as pests such as birds and insects can find their way inside it or nest around it. It could also start corroding if the water is slightly acidic, depending on the material. Of course, there’s also the fact that these tanks get dirty with time and will require cleaning.
Pneumatic Water Tanks
Pneumatic water tanks are more common today. The water system relies on an air compressor or pneumatic pumps to provide the pressure. This pressure pushes the water upward from the ground floor to the upper floor. This water distribution system can also use pneumatic water tanks containing pressurized air, which ensures water is continuously running into the upper floors even if the pump isn’t working. Several kinds of mechanical pumps and fixtures combine to ensure effective water systems. Booster pumps are more common now as part of the key fixtures in this water distribution system. Booster pumps can increase the water pressure and improve flow rates. It fixes an issue regarding water pressure in a building.
Pros of a Pneumatic Water Tank System
The benefits of this water distribution system include:
1. Cleaner And More Efficient System
This water distribution system can be quite efficient for supplying high-rise buildings with water. The constant activity usually ensures the water is cleaner and can provide every floor with more water options.
2. Extra Equipment Reduce Pump Usage
There are a lot of extra fixtures and equipment that form part of the pneumatic water tank system. This makes it possible to reduce the time you have to keep your pump on. A pneumatic tank is a good example as it can retain water for an apartment, and the water has to finish first before the pump sends more water up. This reduces the strain on the pressure switch.
Cons of Pneumatic Pressure System
There are also disadvantages such as:
1. High Cost
The cost of installing and using this system for getting water into the apartment can be quite high. Since the air compressor is necessary to generate the pressure needed to push water to the roof, it could be much costlier and consume more energy. In addition, you may need to install more fixtures to generate sufficient pressure that’ll aid water distribution throughout the building. When you also require specialty pipes, the installation cost can go higher.
2. Equipment Failure
The pumps and air compressor can experience motor failure, which will mean no water for the upper floors. This is especially possible when there’s frequent use of the pump and it’s starting and stopping more often than it should. It can also be very sensitive to changes in temperature and vibration.
Getting water up from the ground floor to the first floor will usually require pumps and tanks. Each house’s water system may differ, but it relies on pressure or gravity to supply water.