C&B Equipment’s Complete Guide to Submersible Pumps

Similar to any other pump, a submersible pump is designed to move fluid from one point to another. However, these types of pumps are unique in that the entire device is produced to be water-tight, so it can be fully submerged in water or some other fluid. Here is what you need to know about submersible pumps, how they work, and the different types of pumps available to meet your needs.

sump-pumpWhat Is a Submersible Pump?

Submersible pumps are pumps that have air-tight, sealed motors and don’t require priming, so they can be fully submerged. In fact, the best submersible pumps are never removed from the liquid they rest in. Doing so and running such a pump “dry” could lead to malfunctions or other complications. 

How Submersible Pumps Work

Submersible pumps are generally simple devices. They begin by converting rotary energy into kinetic energy by harnessing the pressure created by the pump. As the liquid (water or sludge) passes through the pump, it enters the intake section of the machinery. It is then pushed through the rotating impeller and through the diffuser. Finally, the liquid will pass up to the surface, where it can be directed to the desired location. 

Essentially, submersible pumps are centrifugal pumps that operate in a vertical position, creating a substantial amount of pumping power. The impeller inside the pump can be either a closed- or open-cycle type, with each operating in a similar fashion. 

Primary Uses for Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps are used in a wide range of applications and environments. Some of the most common uses for these pumps include the following.

  • Wastewater processing
  • Mining operations
  • Dredging harbors
  • Sewage treatment
  • Boreholes and water wells
  • Marine vessels to handle onboard flooding and barge unloading
  • Sump pumping for buildings
  • Oil and gas industry operations
  • Agricultural applications

Different Types of Submersible Pumps

The most common types of submersible pumps you’re likely to encounter include the following.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are installed at the lowest point in a commercial facility or home to prevent water collection, which could result in water damage and mold. If there was a broken water pipe or flood water collecting in a basement, a sump pump would move the water away from the area. 

Effluent/Sewage Pumps

This type of submersible pump is meant to handle wastewater. It pushes sewage and water from a treatment facility or septic tank to another location, such as a drain field or treatment system. These pumps come in a variety of sizes to handle different types of particles and fluids. 

Water Pumps

A submersible water pump is made to push water that doesn’t contain contaminants or large particles. They can be used to move water between two points and are efficient options for utilities, pools, drain systems, and more. 

Dewatering Pumps

A dewatering pump is used to pump water away from a flooded area. For example, construction sites and some agricultural fields don’t have proper drainage solutions, so make use of these pumps to prevent damage. 

Advantages of Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps offer several advantages over other types of pumps. 


Some industrial pumps require more energy to operate than others. Fortunately, submersible pumps can run on low levels of energy, making them an efficient option. 


When using an industrial pump, priming is just one more step you might need to do before activating the pump, but submersible pumps are self-priming because they always have water or fluid inside. 


Cavitation can be an issue with some industrial pumps due to clogged filters or blockages in the intakes, but submersible pumps are less prone to cavitation because they are fully submerged. 


Some industrial pumps can be a bit loud as they do their work. However, submersible pumps are incredibly quiet in most applications because they are submerged in water or some other liquid.


You will no doubt be able to find a wide variety of submersible pump options, meaning you should be able to secure a pump that suits your needs perfectly.

Disadvantages of Submersible Pumps

There are also a few drawbacks of submersible pumps that you should keep in mind before deciding to purchase one. 

Use Limitations

These are speciality pumps, meaning a single pump may not work for all of your applications. 

Seal Corrosion

If the seal on your pump becomes corroded, water will get into the motor casing and could cause serious damage. 

Overheating Potential

Liquid is required to prime and maintain the pump’s temperature. If the pump runs dry, this might cause the device to overheat. 


A submersible pump can be challenging to access for routine inspection and maintenance. In some applications, these pumps simply run until they break down and require replacement. 

Choosing the Right Submersible Pump for Your Needs

When purchasing a submersible pump, it’s vital to consider the requirements of your particular applications. Key things to consider include the following.

  • Type of Fluid — What type of fluid you need to pump will dictate the type of submersible pump appropriate for your needs. Some pumps can’t handle fluids containing particles. If you are pumping more than just water, you’ll need a pump with harder impellers and agitators to prevent clogging. 
  • Power — The volume of fluid you are dealing with and how far you need to pump it also matter. Different pumps provide varying degrees of power or pressure to move fluid at different speeds and distances.

Need Help Choosing the Right Type of Submersible Pump?

C&B Equipment services and sells a wide range of submersible pumps. We are one the largest industrial equipment distributors in the Kansas City area, serving clients throughout Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle. If your business needs an industrial pump, compressor, or blower, contact us today to learn more about our high-quality products and services.

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