They’re not the same

At some point in your water systems career, you have no doubt stood in front of a homeowner or other end-user who was indignant at his submersible pump cost. This conversation often stems from having replaced another motor around the house at some time. Maybe it was an HVAC motor, a sump pump, whatever; “That motor cost me this much, and this submersible motor you want to sell me is way more than that! What gives?”

Here’s what gives. They’re not even close to being the same. The conditions and environment in which a submersible motor is expected to operate are totally different from any of their above-ground counterparts. Different environments, different motors. Here are six things that make a submersible motor unique and different (and more expensive):

  1. Really stating the obvious here, but number one, a submersible motor lives underwater. One of the first things we all learned about electricity is to never mix it with water. So, what do we do? We take an electric motor and install it not just a little ways underwater, as in the case of a sump pump, but potentially hundreds of feet underwater. That means a tremendous amount of water pressure trying to reach the electrical part of the motor. There are numerous design and manufacturing considerations that go into keeping the water in the well away from the electricity in the motor.
  2. All motors generate heat, and heat is the arch enemy of motor reliability. Engineers who design above-ground motors just give them enough surface area to dissipate all the heat. However, a 6-inch motor, by definition, has to fit in a 6-inch casing. So, a lot of heat is concentrated into a small cross-sectional area. Special and proprietary materials are required to make sure that the heat generated in a submersible motor gets carried away.
  3. When we push water up the drop pipe, it pushes back with a lot of force. No above-ground motor ever sees this challenge. But, a submersible motor needs specialized and highly-machined thrust bearings to handle all the down thrust it generates when it delivers water out of the ground. Continue reading

Talking, but nothing to say.

When I was college, they actually terminated the professor who was teaching one of my classes in the middle of the semester. The dean walked into the classroom one morning and dryly stated, “There is nothing worse than to be locked in a room with someone who is talking, but has nothing to tell you. I’ll be teaching this class for the rest of the semester.” And, the dean was correct; this guy had been awful and had nothing relevant to impart to us. On the other hand, this dean still knew how to teach and the class took on a whole new vibrancy.

That incident stuck with me. Like most of us in the sales and marketing arena, I’ve given a lot of presentations over the years. Each time, I’ve always hoped that I had something worthwhile to say. The burden is on us as presenters to have something to tell you, and we need to make it interesting and relevant to your business. If we don’t, we have wasted not only our time, but the time of everyone in that room, both directly and indirectly. That is, when you’re in class, you’re not out drilling or installing or servicing.

As presenters, we should have a single goal: at the end of the presentation or seminar, you walk out of the room thinking, “That was time well spent. I know more now than when I walked into the room.” As a water systems contractor, you should always hold us to that standard.

There are a couple of ways to make sure that happens. To begin with, ask questions. Hard questions. Any presenter worth his or her salt wants those. Questions make the whole event much more interesting and challenging for us. And, this is your opportunity to find something out that maybe you’ve been wondering about for a long time. Even questions that we can’t answer at the moment are good. In a lot of cases, someone else in the audience may already have the answer. Continue reading