Learn Why Vertical Inline Is a Better Option than Base-Mounted, Centrifugal Pumps
In years past, centrifugal pumps operated horizontally and were bolted to the floor. These base-mounted, pumps were a maintenance nightmare – requiring the removal of the motor to replace seals and perform other repairs.
At 10 pounds per horsepower, motors in base-mounted pumps weigh 400 pounds or more, which cannot be lifted by one person safely without a hoist, causing it to be an expensive, 2-man job. As a result, base-mounted pumps are slow to install, costly to maintain, and take up excessive floor space in mechanical rooms.
With a background serving the oil and gas industry, where floor space is at a premium and avoiding downtime is critical, Armstrong brought vertical inline (VIL) pumps into the HVAC market. Instead of taking up precious space in the mechanical room, VIL pumps can be vertically mounted without touching the floor. Benefits include fast installation, quick and easy maintenance, mechanical room space savings, and energy efficiency.
Because they don’t use flex connectors or an inertia base that requires grouting to reduce potential vibration and noise problems, installation of VIL pumps takes 10-20% less time and space than base-mounted.
Quick & Easy Maintenance
With VIL pumps, the motor shaft comes down into a coupling that also connects with the impeller shaft. This allows you to maintain the pump without touching the motor – just remove the coupling.
This is especially useful for replacing pump seals. No water supply is 100% pure, so tiny particulates in the water etch into pump seals over time, leaving damage that makes replacement necessary.
With base-mounted pumps, replacing a pump seal would take two people half a day, which equates to a full working day. With VIL pumps, the same job takes one person about 45 minutes. Chicago’s Northwestern University has standardized on inline pumps for this reason; they do their own maintenance and they’ve found it to be much faster with VIL pumps.
Mechanical Room Space Saving
The VIL pump’s split coupling is key to its space-saving benefits, which can be up to 40% less space than base-mounted pumps.
Often, there is little or no floor space in mechanical rooms for pumps. Vertical pumps use less floor space. A smaller mechanical room can mean more leasable space.
By freeing up mechanical room space, one building owner was able to include an additional penthouse bedroom that added $25,000 more per month to their bottom line.
VIL pumps, and Armstrong Design Envelope IVS pumps in particular, have full sized impellers that don’t need to be trimmed. They optimize efficiency and capacity by using the load limiting ability of the controls, which often allows for smaller motor horsepower.
Where a traditional pump is trimmed to the customer’s design point, the impeller in a Design Envelope selection is not generally trimmed for a power draw matching the motor size. This offers two key benefits:
- 10% increased pump capacity, which allows the option of a smaller pump to be an option for a portion of the range
- 5% increased efficiency due to larger impeller and reduced speed to meet the required design point
New Construction & Conversions
For your next project, consider VIL pumps from Armstrong. We can even convert base mounted pumps to VIL if you’d like to take advantage of the latest technology, save on pump maintenance labor, and maximize floor space in your mechanical room.
Maddock Industries converted all base-mounted pumps to VIL in Chicago’s old post office building, and the result has been significant savings for two main reasons:
- They didn’t have to construct a mezzanine to hold 100,000 pounds of base-mounted pumps – this alone saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars (they still had to build the mezzanine but to hold a small fraction of that weight)
- Seal replacement costs are reduced by 75%: $1,000 for parts and labor vs. $4,000 when seals wear out
Consider VIL Pumps on Your Next Project
We know that contractors sometimes hesitate to implement VIL pumps because it’s often designed the old way – engineers have specified base-mounted pumps for a long time. That’s why it’s important for VIL pumps to be specified at the outset. If they’re not, Maddock Industries can help you make the case. When you go inline, you’ll never go back to base-mounted.