Reduce Pumping Costs through Optimum Pipe Sizing

Every industrial facility has a piping network that carries water or other fluids. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 16% of a typical facility’s electricity costs are for its pumping systems. 

The power consumed to overcome the static head in a pumping system varies linearly with flow, and very little can be done to reduce the static component of the system requirement. However, there are several energy- and money-saving opportunities to reduce the power required to overcome the friction component. 

The frictional power required depends on flow rate, pipe size (diameter), overall pipe length, pipe characteristics (surface roughness, material, etc.), and properties of the fluid being pumped. Figure 1 shows the annual water pumping cost (frictional power only) for 1,000 feet of pipe length for different pipe sizes and flow rates.

Annual water pumping cost


A pumping facility has 10,000 feet of piping to carry 600 gallons per minute (gpm) of water continuously to storage tanks. Determine the annual pumping costs associated with different pipe sizes.

From Figure 1, for 600 gpm:

6-inch pipe:  ($1,690/1,000 feet) x 10,000 feet =  $16,900

8-inch pipe:  ($425/1,000 feet) x 10,000 feet = $4,250

10-inch pipe:  ($140/1,000 feet) x 10,000 feet = $1,400

After the energy costs are calculated, the installation and maintenance costs should be calculated for each pipe size. Although the up-front cost of a larger pipe may be higher, it may still provide the most cost-effective solution because it will greatly reduce the initial pump and operating costs.

General Equation for Estimating Frictional Portion of Pumping Costs

Where the friction factor, based on the pipe roughness, pipe diameter, and the Reynolds number, can be obtained from engineering handbooks. For most applications, the value of this friction factor will be 0.015 to 0.0225.

Suggested Actions

  • Compute annual and life-cycle cost for systems before making an engineering design decision.
  • In systems dominated by friction head, evaluate pumping costs for at least two pipe sizes and try to accommodate pipe size with the lowest life-cycle cost.
  • Look for ways to reduce friction factor. If your application permits, epoxy-coated steel or plastic pipes can reduce friction factor by more than 40%, proportionately reducing your pumping costs.

About Jonathon Bell

Jonathon Bell is an entrepreneur, focused on building his family's legacy in the industrial pump market.  Currently, he is focused in Latin America, building Dynapro Pumps Mexico from the ground up while contributing in Canada & the United States with Sales & Marketing efforts.

His commitment is developing teams through individual and partnered coaching, to bring out the best in each team member and giving them the tools to help them reach their goals. Guiding and teaching the core values of passion, evolving, and team communication, his teams and members become top performers in their respective fields.

He is honest, generous, and passionate about others success for them individually, their families, and their communities

About Dynapro:

A professional, trustworthy company, committed to create and maintain lasting relationships with our customers and our community.  Our focus is on constantly evolving our business practices and dedicated service to always be aligned with our clients and the environment.  

Our strong sense of responsibility to the environment and the communities we live and work in help encourage our clients and other companies to join forces with us to make a difference.  

We manufacture our own pump models and interchangeable high quality products, improve products, and materials.  We deliver them for less and faster to help achieve our goal of reduced consumption; energy & materials, and reduce maintenance.

For more information, please visit https://www.dynaproequipment.com/about-us.html


U.S. Department of Energy Washington, DC 20585-0121 www.eere.energy.gov/industry

“Control Valve Replacement Savings,” U.S. Department of Energy Performance Optimization Tip, Energy Matters, July 1998; available online at: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/23382.pdf