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Fuel Oil Pumps - Suction Capacities

Single stage and double stage fuel oil pumps and their suction capacities

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The limitation of a fuel oil pump feeding a burner may often be the suction side. With higher suction lift the "vacuum" in the suction line will evaporate the light fractions of the fuel oil - and the pump starts to choke.

In general there are two types of fuel feeding pumps

  • single stage pumps
  • double stage pumps

A single stage pump consist of only one set of pumping gears and the lift capacity is limited compared to the two stage fuel pump with double set of pumping gears.

  • a single-stage pump is suited for low-level lifts up to 5 - 10 inches of vacuum
  • a two-stage pump is suited for medium-level lifts up to 10 - 15 inches of vacuum

Higher "vacuum" levels requires use of separate lifting pumps and dedicated feeding reservoirs to the fuel pumps.  

The total "vacuum" in a fuel oil suction line can roughly be estimated to

  • 1 inch of vacuum for each foot of lift
  • 1 inch of vacuum for each 90o elbow
  • 1 inch for each 10 feet of 3/8 inch horizontal suction pipe
  • 1 inch for each 20 feet of 3/8 inch horizontal suction pipe
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