What is Pumping Head?

As a prolific importer of pumps in Australia, we thought it would be helpful to define some of the terms that are used in the pumping industry. Today we would like to tell you about the term “head” and how it is used in the pumping industry.

Head has been called one of the most misunderstood and misused terms in the entire pumping industry. There is a short definition that is quite easy to understand, but there are other factors which tend to cloud this definition in the industry.

Pumps: Pumping Head

So, what is pumping head or just “head?” Head is the maximum height that a pump can move fluid against gravity. The purest example of this is if you have a vertical pipe extending straight up from the discharge outlet. A pump with 5m of head will pump fluid up the pipe 5m from the discharge outlet.

Obviously, a pump with more pressure will be able to produce more head by pumping the water higher. However, the height of the fluid in the tank will also exert its own force, also called “head.” The height of the water in the tank will determine how far the water can be pumped up the pipe.

To account for the height of the fluid in the tank affecting the head, another term is used: total head. The total head is computed by finding the difference between the head in the vertical discharge pipe and the level of water in the tank.

When the level of water in the discharge tank is higher, it will produce more head in the discharge pipe. When the level of water in the tank is lower, it will decrease the head because the water level will be lower.

Manufacturers can’t give an accurate level of head because they don’t know what the level of water in the tank will be. The total head will be the same, no matter how much water is in the tank. But the water level in the tank will influence the head in the discharge pipe.

To learn more or to enquire about our full selection of imported pumps, call Pump Solutions Australasia today: 1300 793 418.