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Automatic Pump Pressure Controllers: Applications, Benefits & Troubleshooting

Automatic Pump Pressure Controllers- Applications, Benefits & Troubleshooting

When it comes to automatic pressure controllers, the name says it all. These handy devices automatically control a pressure pump, ensuring they continually supply enough pressure without the need for manual adjustment. Automatic pump controllers come in various configurations based on what you need them for, but the most common types are pre-set or adjustable with 25mm BSP male threads on the top, bottom, or side. 

Aside from automatically starting and stopping a pressure pump, an automatic pressure controller has many more applications and benefits, such as maintaining the desired pressure and protecting your pressure pump from running dry. Features vary depending on the automatic pressure controller you choose, but these staples are consistent across every brand and model. 

This article will unpack every application, every benefit, and even solutions to some common automatic pump controller problems. By equipping you with all the information you need to know about automatic pump controllers, you’ll understand whether you really need one and how to use it effectively. 

Given how useful they are, it’s not surprising that many household water pumps now come with a pump controller already installed, offering a fantastic all-round solution for managing your water supply. 

For everything you need to know about pressure pumps, keep reading!

What is an Automatic Pump Controller?

First off, let’s delve deeper into explaining what an automatic pump controller is. You already know that a pump controller automates the control of your pressure pump, but what are its other applications and benefits?

An automatic water pump pressure controller is an intelligent and economical system designed for water pressure management. It helps prevent delays, minimise vibrations, and allow for precise and accurate control of your water supply. With such a variety of functions, one of the stand-out benefits is that it’s a highly efficient piece of equipment.

An automatic pump controller essentially replaces six devices, including:

  • Pressure tank
  • Pressure switch
  • Check valve
  • Pressure gauge
  • Five-way copper
  • Float switch


All of these devices are consolidated into one intelligent and efficient device: the automatic pump controller. 

You can use an automatic pressure controller for your domestic or household water supply, equipped to the pump managing the pressure of your shower, sinks, sprinklers, and more. They’re useful when combined with a domestic pressure booster pump or a rainwater tank pump. 

Here are some of the essential applications of an automatic pressure controller:

It controls the pump to ensure it runs at a constant flow.

When showering at home without a pressure pump or automated pressure control, you might notice the water’s inconsistent temperature or intermittent water pressure. With a device that maintains a constant water flow, you’re bound to enjoy your showers a lot more. 

It automatically starts and stops the water pump whenever you open or close a tap or valve. 

With an automatic pressure controller, you don’t need to turn on your pressure booster or pressure pump every time you want to take a shower or wash the dishes. By opening a tap or sink, the electronic controller will automatically start the pump. 

It protects your water pump from damage with its built-in features.

By installing an automatic pressure controller, you add an extra layer of protection to your water pump. As you probably know, many factors can cause a water pump to break, such as running dry, leaks, flow switch jamming, water shortages and more. An automatic pressure controller is designed to help prevent all of these problems and more. 

How Does An Automatic Pump Controller Work?

Now that you know what an automatic pump controller is and what it can do, let’s talk about how it works. 

Basically, an automatic pressure controller is a motor that will automatically switch on when water in the overhead tank (OHT) falls below the lower limit and vice versa. The circuitry behind it is straightforward, minimising the potential for electrical issues, and it is very energy efficient too. It is powered by a 12-volt DC power supply, which consumes around as much power as charging your phone.

Without getting too technical, an automatic pressure controller relies on the water pressure to operate. Using automatic pressure control will eliminate the need for all the other components in a traditional water pressure control system, making the plumbing in your home less complicated (and less expensive too). 

With less complex controls and more automation – not to mention the absence of a pressure tank, – adjusting the water pressure in your home just got a whole lot easier. 

Pros and Cons of an Automatic Pump Controller

Pros of Automatic Pump Pressure Controllers:

  • Automatically stops the water pump from running dry and overheating when the water supply is running out
  • Makes your plumbing or irrigation system more efficient, meaning you’ll save water and possibly electricity as well
  • Automatically activates the electric pump, so you don’t need to stand by the water pump to turn it on or shut it down manually
  • Runs on 12V DC power, meaning it is energy efficient
  • When shut down, the auto-restart feature periodically checks if there is water supply, so you don’t have to turn it on again manually
  • Circuitry is less complicated than using a traditional water pressure system, meaning the plumbing is less cumbersome and troubleshooting is much simpler

Cons of Automatic Pump Pressure Controllers:

  • Automation can have its disadvantages, as an automated device isn’t typically prepared for every possible scenario 
  • As it is an electronic device, the circuitry required a proper and secure cover, and the device can be damaged if water gets inside
  • May be challenging to install in some old houses or existing older-style plumbing networks 
  • An electrician may be required to connect an automatic pressure controller if not pre-integrated with a water pump
  • Durability and longevity can vary depending on the price point – more expensive devices will inevitably deliver better results and offer more features 
  • Technology can still be challenging and unfamiliar for the older generations 
  • Significantly more expensive than manual pressure control valves

 

Do I Need An Automatic Pump Controller? 

Before asking yourself if you need an automatic pump controller, answer these questions first:

  • Do you want to save money on water and electricity bills? 
  • Do you want a long-lasting water pressure control system that is easy to configure and easy to troubleshoot? 
  • Do you want less complicated and more efficient option for maintaining a constant flow of pressure in your home, without wearing out your water pressure tank or switch?

We are guessing that your answer is yes! And if you’re setting up a new plumbing or irrigation system, you should definitely consider getting an automated pressure controller. Using an automated solution from the very beginning avoids many of the downsides and hassles involved in retrofitting one to an existing network.

However, if you’ve been experiencing many frustrations and inconveniences with your pressure control set-up, it may also be worth investing in an automatic pump pressure controller. 

It’s important to note that many pumps now come bundled with a pressure controller, and some may even be pre-installed, streamlining the process of getting your pump and pump controller up and running. If you’re unsure, check with your irrigation supplier to determine whether you need to purchase a separate pressure controller. 

So where should you start when looking for an option to suit your needs? Let’s look at some of the basic types of pump controller. 

Types of Automatic Pump Controllers

Most automatic pump controllers do the same thing, but because there are so many applications and benefits to using one, there are also different types made depending on your needs. 

Different makes and models of automatic pump controllers will have various features and characteristics, such as:

  • Different sizes to suit pump specifications and pressure ranges
  • Domestic, commercial and industrial models
  • Options for various liquids (eg. water, sewage and other fluids)
  • Different controls (eg. precision and custom pressure cut-offs)
  • Auto-shutoff and auto-restart features
  • Built-in pressure gauge

Some of the best brands of pump pressure controller in Australia include:

  • Davey Torrium 2 smart pump controllers 
  • MASControl pressure controllers  
  • Claytech C Series integrated water pumps with built-in controller 
  • Bianco BIA-iPress electric pump controller 
  • Hyjet DH pressure pumps with pressure controller
  • Bromic Tankboy water jet pumps with pressure controller

How Do You Connect An Automatic Pump Controller?

Installing an in-line automatic pump controller is easy – they’re designed to attach to the coupling of your water pump’s outlet (with or without an adaptor, depending on the model of your pump). However, when it comes to the electrical components, you may need help from an electrician, just as with any irrigation controller. 

If you’re keen for a DIY solution, purchasing a pre-connected water pump and controller eliminates the need for electrical wiring and streamlines the installation process. Otherwise, check if you’re buying a ‘plug and play’ model or whether you’ll need an electrical contractor to fit the device. 

The steps you’ll need to take for installation will vary significantly depending on your model – some are pre-threaded, and so you should not use head tape or pipe dope for installation, while some do require it for a secure seal. 

Regardless, installing a pump pressure controller involves connecting the inlet and outlet to your water pump and pipe, with or without an adaptor depending on compatibility. Electrical components may need to be connected by an electrician, but if you’re using a ‘plug and play’ model, installation is much simpler. 

Remember to prime your new automatic pressure controller according to the manual’s instructions before use. 

Before long, your new automatic water pump pressure controller will be ready to go – provided the rest of your pipes and pump are also set up correctly! 

How Do You Adjust an Automatic Water Pump Pressure Controller?

Most automatic pump controllers for household use have set cut-in and shut-off points, so they don’t require adjusting. More advanced models can have customised pressure settings within a suitable range, which can be easily adjusted using buttons on the face of the controller.

Automatic Pump Control Troubleshooting

To prevent automatic pump control failure caused by leaks and electrical problems, consider: 

  • If not already sealed, install a cover to protect the electrical components from water damage. 
  • If recommended by the manufacturer, use Teflon tape when installing to prevent any leaks.
  • Make sure you consider using a barrel union between the pressure controller and the electric pump. It can be beneficial for future repairs and installation. 

Here are some common automatic pump controller problems and what to do about them. 

Troubleshooting Tips and Tricks

Tip #1: Always check the manual. Most of the time, the answers you are looking for are right in front of you, so make sure you don’t throw away the manual no matter how heavy it is. If you haven’t held onto it, you can find most manuals online with a quick Google search. 

Tip #2: If your machine doesn’t light up or give any indication that it’s running, the power supply may not be switched on or working. You can try using a different power supply, but make sure that it has exactly the same voltage and polarity as the original one – if you have any doubts, contact the manufacturer for recommendations. 

Tip #3: Try restarting your device manually – it may help to return your automatic pump controller to working condition. Typically there’ll be a reset button on the face of the controller. 


If you’re experiencing an automatic pump controller failure, here are some suggestions when it comes to identifying the problem:

 

Issue: Pump has stopped or runs for a short time only 

Water level too low, air leaks or air bubbles trapped in line, suction line valves closed

Issue: Pump turns on and off too frequently (pump cycling)

Float valve problem, water leaks in plumbing, leaking check or foot valve 

Issue: Motor stopped + warning light displayed

Broken or jammed motor – contact the manufacturer or an irrigation professional 

High water temperature – leave to cool and try again later 

Issue: Pump won’t turn off

Water leak on or around pump discharge

Issue: Controller won’t restart water supply when needed

Power supply problem, suction air leak, blocked pipe or closed valves 

Note: this information is only intended as a guide on where to start. Always consult your manual, the manufacturer or an expert if you’re having significant issues. 

Related Questions:

What is the difference between a 30/50 and a 40/60 pressure switch? 

These options are the most common pressure settings for most homeowners, and it all comes down to preference. 30/50 is an excellent configuration for a single level or two-story home. However, for buildings three-levels or taller homes, 40/60 should do the trick. 

How do I know if my engine is dry-run or dry running? 

Dry-run means your water pump motor is running without any water supply, which can lead to overheating and eventually pump motor failure. Fortunately using an automatic pressure controller will prevent these types of problems.

 

Disclaimer:

This article is published for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website is strictly at your own risk. Always ensure you have the right qualifications and certifications to carry out DIY work and never put your safety at risk. Hills Irrigation recommends consulting a professional for all electrical and plumbing work. 

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