Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Little Sump Pump That Could

Our electric bill skyrocketed. Our pump runs on electricity. Are we getting enough bang for our bucks?

Ah, finally, applied science! (One of the white lies teachers tell students is that what they learn in class matters. When was the last time you used the quadratic equation?)

Hmmm...the pump goes off when triggered by the float switch. I have about 9 inches of play there--lessee, square the radius times pi times 9" and we get 1385 cubic inches, .004329 cubic inch/gallon, and presto! we get about 6 gallons.

6 gallons does not sound like much--not even 3 cases of beer.

The pump, however, kicks on every 20 seconds. 18 gallons per minute.

18 gallons per minute-> 1080 gallons/hour -> 26,000 gallons/day. A typical Olympic sized swimming pool holds 660,000 gallons. Every 26 days (just under 4 weeks) my pump is moving an Olympic sized swimming pool.

But it's not just moving it sideways--it's moving it up. The bottom of the pump sits in a sump basin 28 inches deep. The outlet pipe is 76 inches above the floor. Lessee, 76" + 28" gives me 104", or 8 feet 8 inches.

Hope I haven't bored everybody with the numbers, but let me recap--every 4 weeks or so my little sump pump is lifting an Olympic sized pool over 8 feet.

A gallon of water weighs a smidgen over 8.3 pounds. An Olympic pool's worth of water, then, comes out to almost 5 1/2 million pounds of water! Over 2700 tons!!!

I am The Little Sump Pump That Could is jacking up 2,700 tons over 8 feet up every month.

Leslie pointed out a fundamental error in my calculations--the pump takes up volume. How much volume? Well, I could pull an Archimedes and see how much water it displaces, but it is busy working at the moment.

I could go outside and figure out how much is flowing per minute, and I might yet, but for the moment, let me assume that the pump volume is about 2 gallons, which would reduce the each load by a third.

The Little Sump Pump That Could is still jacking up over 1800 tons of water every month 8 feet 8 inches. That's over 30,000,000 foot pounds!

This month's bill was $40 higher than usual. For each dollar, I got 45 tons of water pumped up over 8 feet. That's about 2 cents a ton.

And that, my friends, is a good deal!

I weigh ~200 pounds. My little sump pump could take me over 28 miles up into the sky in a month.


This Brazen Teacher said...

And yet another reason I like you Doyle. Thought I was the only one who brought up the quadratic equation in conversations about meaningless high school lessons.

And you're wrong. This equation helped me pass Praxis 1 to get in the College of Education during my undergrad, as well as take The Graduate Records Examination to get into Grad school.

So there.


doyle said...

Dear Brazen,

Yes, I'm wrong--I forgot the "jump through the hoop" factor

I actually used it once (or maybe twice) but I forget the circumstances.

We're so focused on product we forget processes that matter.