In principal, many different types of pumps can be used to pump water. The most common kind, however, is the centrifugal pump. A centrifugal pump is powered by a device called an impeller. The impeller is a bit like a turbine. It has many curved blades, which channel the water through the pump.

The Centrifugal Pump

How The Impeller Works

The impeller spins very fast. The curved blades channel water into the eye, or center of the impeller, but that water flows along to the outside of the blades. Because the impeller moves fast, the centrifugal force compresses the water against the outside of the blade. This pressure causes the water to rocket forward in a high-speed jet out of the impeller. This speed creates pressure on the outlet side of the pump, pushing the water through the pipe.

The Motor

Smaller electric water pumps, such as the kinds used in homes, usually have small DC motors. The DC motor is contained in a sealed case attached to the impeller and powers it through a simple gear drive. In the center of the motor is a rotor with coils around it. Around those coils are magnets, which create a permanent magnetic field that flows through the rotor. When the motor turns on, electricity runs through the coils, producing a magnetic field that repels the magnets around the rotor, causing the rotor to spin around 180 degrees. When the rotor spins, the direction of the electricity in the coils flips, pushing the rotor again and causing it to spin the rest of the way around. Through a series of pushes, the rotor continues to spin, driving the impeller and powering the pump.