If you have low water pressure in your home then you will know it can be a real pain.

The morning shower will lack any real power, washing the dishes can take hours and the bathtub... don’t even get us started on how long it takes to fill the bathtub. Forever!

Fortunately, if you are suffering with any of the problems listed above, you don’t have to continue living this way.

In most cases, low water pressure in the home can easily be solved by installing a home booster pump -  a sort of small mechanical tool that can easily be installed on to your home’s plumbing system.

Now, if you’re new to the plumbing and pumping world, this is where things can get a little complicated.

No doubt you’re wondering:

What is a booster pump?”... “How does it all work?”... “Do I really need a pump?”   

All questions that are likely to overwhelm someone new to the pumping world.

That’s why we’ve created this complete guide to buying a booster.

Taking you step-by-step through the world of booster pumps, we answer every question we’ve ever been asked about booster pumps, so you can find the answer to your queries.

So what exactly do we look at in this guide:

What is a booster pump?
How does a booster pump work?
What are the important features of a booster pump?
Do I need a booster pump?
What type of booster pump do I need?
How do I install a booster pump?

If you can’t find the answer to your question below, please contact us on 0800 112 3134 and speak to our trained pump professionals now.

What is a booster pump?

A booster pump is a small mechanical device that can be connected to your home’s plumbing system. The pump is capable of recognising when pressure and flow are low, and it can automatically boost the performance of incoming mains water supply.

Simply put, if you frequently experience low water pressure when using taps, shower heads or other appliances in your home, a booster pump can increase the pressure of the water.

How does a booster pump work?

Step 1:
The booster pump draws fluid into the pump through the mains supply or break tank (an inlet).

Step 2:
When water enters the chamber of the pump, the pump activates the impellers.

Step 3:
The impellers then spin at a high rate boosting the pressure of the water before exiting through the outlet.

Booster pumps come in various designs depending on the brand and can work with single or multiple impellers.

Take a look at the GIF diagram below. As you can see, the water enters the pump at 0.7 bar. When the water enters the pump, the impellers spin boosting the pressure of the water. The water then exits the pump at 2.2 bar.

What are the important features of a booster pump?

There are four important features of a booster pump that you should be aware of when making a purchase decision. These are:

Flow Rate
Pressure/Bar Rating
System Type
Head Impeller

What is a flow rate?

This is the maximum amount of water that can leave the pump every minute.

For example, the Salamander Home Booster can increase the flow rate to 12 litres of water per minute even if the incoming flow rate is only 3 litres of water per minute.

If you have a large family in a home of considerable size, then you may need a pump with a higher flow rate.

Note: Be aware that if you are drawing from the mains, you are only allowed legally to draw 12 Lpm. if you require more you will require a break tank.

What is a bar rating?

This is the pressure at which the water will be ejected out of the booster pump. For example, the Salamander Home Booster pump has a 1.5 bar rating. If your water pressure is 0.7 bar, the Salamander will double your water pressure. Again, if you have a large family in a home of considerable size, then you probably need a more powerful pump.

What is a system type?

Booster pumps come in either positive or negative types. This determines how the pump will be activated. A positive pump is activated by gravity. A negative pump is activated by a drop in the pressure between the pump and the device. For a full explanation on positive and negative pumps, read our guide here.

What is a head impeller?

Booster pumps are operated using an impeller system. Think airplane engines and you are on the right track. In most modern booster pumps you can have single or multiple impellers. The more impellers, the more powerful the pump.

Do I need a booster pump?

If you think you have low water pressure issues, and you’re considering the purchase of a booster pump, there is a simple three step test that you can conduct to test your flow. All you need for this test is: a measuring jug, a timer and a calculator.

image showing the three step process to testing water pressure in the home

*Note* We also recommend getting a qualified plumber to assess the requirements needed for your home

How to Test Water Pressure

Step 1: 
Place a 1 litre measuring jug under the tap or shower

Step 2:
Turn the problem tap or shower on full

Step 3:
Time how long it takes to fill the jug

Step 4:
If it takes more than 6 seconds to fill the jug, then you have low water pressure.

What type of booster pump do I need?

If you’re considering purchasing a booster pump there really is only a handful of pump brands worthy of your time. These are: Grundfos, Salamander and Stuart Turner.

Here is the top pump from each brand:

Salamander Home Boost 1.5 Bar Mains Water Pressure Booster Pump 240V

One of the leading options for correcting low water pressure is the Home Boost range from Salamander pumps. These are able to raise your water pressure to around 1.5 bar whilst still ensuring you stay compliant with water-use and installation regulations. They are compact and easy to install and quiet in operation too, so they won’t disrupt your home with extra noise.

Features:

Bar Rating 1.5 Bar
Max Flow 12 l/min
System Type Positive
Head Impeller Single Impeller

Search prices on the  Salamander Home Boost 1.5 Bar Mains Water Pressure Booster Pump 240V here.

Grundfos 4.5 Bar Home Booster

Another leading option is the new Home Booster range from Grundfos. The home booster is a fully integrated, self-priming system that is ideal for boosting water pressure in domestic applications. Integrated speed control also means that the pump will only operate when it’s needed, so it won’t hit your energy bills either.

This pump also has an integrated break tank installed ensuring you are in accordance with water byelaws regulations. However, please keep in mind that if you have a large property, you may need an additional tank.

Features:

Bar Rating 4.5 Bar
Max Flow 70 l/min
System Type Positive
Head Impeller Single Impeller

Search prices on the Grundfos 4.5 Bar Home Booster.

Stuart Turner 3.0 Bar Flomate Mains Boost Extra

Stuart Turner’s Flomate range is one of the finest pump collections on the market. The 3.0 bar of pressure will give a deserved boost to your water supply, while the tech also comes with an integrated break tank - which removes the need for inserting a separate cold water break tank.

Bar Rating 3.0 Bar
Max Flow 40 l/min
System Type Positive
Head Impeller Twin Impeller

Search prices on the Stuart Turner Flomate Mains Boost Extra 200 here.

How do I Install a Booster Pump?

While you can fit a booster pump yourself, we suspect that the majority of people reading this article may want to contact a plumber.

Saying that, booster pump installation is much simpler and quicker than most would think. All of the fittings you need for installation are included in the pump kit. Included are: washers, a filter washer, a straight connector, an isolation valve connector and some adapters to cope with either 15mm or 22mm pipe connections. Full instructions are also included, so you’re ready to start installing as soon as you get the kit.

Installation should take approximately one hour and you only need a few tools to get started.

However, as mentioned above, if you’re not confident doing it yourself, you can get a qualified plumber to carry out the work for you.

Note: Again, if you require a flow rate high than 12 litres per minute, then a break tank will need to installed. It is illegal to draw more than 12 litres per minute from the public mains.

Depending on your area, it should only cost about £50 to £100 to install a booster pump.

If you are feeling confident and you’re ready to install, then watch this excellent video from Salamander Pumps for guidance.