Understanding Fuel Transfer Pumps and Rates

April 8, 2019by tyrussum


A fuel transfer pump can be a cost-effective way to meet your fuel dispensing needs in a variety of applications, such as fueling fleet vehicles, farm or ranch equipment, and construction machinery. Each fuel transfer pump has a flow rate associated with it. This is determined by the manufacturer. Sometimes you may feel that the specified flow rate does not match the actual flow rate you’re experiencing when fueling the equipment. If the fuel transfer pump has an insufficient or low flow rate, it can be caused by a variety of reasons.

How to Tell if You Have a Flow Problem

To determine if a pump is indeed having a flow rate problem, you must first understand how the transfer pump flow rate is calculated. All fuel transfer pumps are rated at the open discharge outlet without anything attached. This rating is typically listed in Gallons Per Minute (GPM) in the USA and Liters Per Minute (LPM) for regions that use the metric system. The hose and nozzle, along with other accessories such as a filter, meter, or automatic nozzle will reduce the final flow rate coming from your nozzle.

How to Increase Fuel Transfer Pump Flow Rate

Even though the addition of a filter system affects the flow rate, the benefit usually outweighs the loss of flow. It also prolongs the life of the pump. A clogged or old filter is a common cause for low flow rates in transfer pumps. If the pump has a filter system, we recommend it is changed at least once a year. The length and inside diameter of the hose will also affect the flow rate creating a reduction. It is best to use the shortest length of hose possible for your application. If pumping through a 3/4″ ID hose and a longer hose is desired. One way to help improve flow loss is to switch to a 1″ ID hose and nozzle. Increasing the inside diameter of the hose can improve friction loss by up to 40%.

Choosing a Fuel Transfer Pump

When choosing between two different flow rates on a pump, we recommend buying the pump that can provide a higher flow rate. When purchasing a pump for an above-ground fuel storage tank over 500 gallons, it is recommended to use a 20-25 GPM pump with 1″ hose. This is especially true if you’re using a filter and/or meter. Once you understand the flow rate of a fuel transfer pump, and how it is calculated and affected, it will help your decision when selecting your pump.

Check out our selection of AC Fuel Transfer Pumps and DC Fuel Transfer Pumps below. We also offer Pump Repair Kits for any maintenance needs, call for availability.


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