Fixed Speed Well Pumps

Up until 2005, almost all of the well pumps installed for homeowners were fixed speed pumps. Forty-five years ago, Franklin Electric built a submersible pump motor that could deal with being in water for many years with no problems. These motors would turn on and spin the pump up to 3450 RPM in a matter of a second or so.  Then when the pump shut off, it would take several seconds to stop rotating.

The amazing part about these pumps and motors is that when we replace them, they are normally ten to fifteen years old. We commonly see pumps that are twenty-five + years old that finally need to be replaced.

The Franklin motors have set the standard for the industry. There was a huge shake-up in the pump industry in the mid 2000’s, (you can read more about that in “Baad Pumps”). Two major manufacturers went to China and built their own motor to compete with Franklin’s motor. Franklin Electric purchased Jacuzzi Pump and many other pump companies, and now is competing head to head with Gould’s and Sta-Rite and in the past year is now the top seller of pumps in addition to their motors. Shoulda bought their stock!

With quite a bit of deliberation with our pump supplier, we chose to stick with the Franklin Electric motor for two major reasons:

  1. Our job is to provide you with proven equipment that is the best that money can buy.
  2. We use the Berkeley Pump Ends and match them with the Franklin Motors.
  3. For the past 25 years, the factory support that Franklin Electric has provided has been magnificent.

When you go to purchase a used car for your daughter going to college, do you try and determine whether the car has been driven primarily in the city or on the highway?  Common sense dictates that a mechanical beast, whether it’s a car or a pump, lasts longer if it starts and stops less often.

So when we speak of fixed speed pumps that ramp up and down thousands of RPM many times a day, we have to discuss the pressure tank that it is matched with. There is switch that normally installs in front of the pressure tank. This electrical switch has a small diaphragm under it that senses the pressure of your water, and then turns on and off the pump as needed. The pressure tank size and use of water is what determines how often the pump turns on and off. This is why you hire us. We normally give you two sizes of pressure tank that you can have us install for you. The smaller size of pressure tank is the minimum required size that Franklin Electric requires for the pump that you will have. It will give your pump at least one minute of run time each time it starts. But we then suggest a larger pressure tank that will give two to two-and-a-half minutes of run time for the pump. This is a much larger pressure tank, quite often 24″ in diameter x 60″ tall. The point of the larger pressure tank is that the pump starts and stops less often.

This is a good sized pressure tank for a fixed speed pump in a cistern. Notice the size of it.


The advantages of a fixed speed pump system is:

  1. Sometimes they cost less money.
  2. Replacing a pressure switch costs only $25.00.
  3. Problems are easy to diagnose.

The disadvantages of fixed speed pump systems are:

  1. If the well is a long way from the house, the cost of the wire will make the system cost more.
  2. The pressure varies normally 20 to 30 pounds.
  3. The required pressure tank normally takes up between 16 to 20 square feet in your mechanical room of floor space.
  4. The fixed speed pump may not last as long.

    Here’s a pump that’s been in the well for a while. The reddish build-up indicates that the well water has Iron in it.

  5. There is inefficiency in having to install a larger pump in a deep slow volume well to have to pump from the bottom of the well and then be mechanically throttled back when the pumping level of the water in the well starts near the surface. Kinda technical, but very important.

This is why you choose us to design and install your pumping system – we’ll set you up with the right system for you.  Take a peek at the next page about Constant Pressure pumping systems.

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