Can Submersible Pumps Run Horizontally?

Are you wondering if a submersible pump that is installed horizontally will work? If you have a residential well and would like to make use of that well for your home water supply, you must have the right submersible pump. Aside from that, it is also essential that you properly install a submersible pump so that it can work effectively. Usually, submersible pumps are installed vertically, what happens then when you install it horizontally? We will find out the answer below.

Can submersible pumps run horizontally? In some situations, submersible pumps can be installed horizontally and they will still run efficiently. These kinds of pumps can be used in-line in pipelines to boost water flow. For this purpose, submersible pumps can be fitted horizontally in a specific location in the pipe. Submersible pumps are ideal for use in this kind of environment because they operate silently. Aside from that, the motor and electrical components of the pump are enclosed to avoid any water damage.

For some people, horizontal pumps are ideal to use because they have easy overhaul and maintenance. One of the issues of using a vertical pumps is that they are hard to repair. Vertical pumps should also be elevated all the time for maintenance. Read the rest of the article below to learn more about horizontal submersible pumps and their advantages.

Can submersible pumps run horizontally
Image by manseok Kim from Pixabay

Can You Lay a Submersible Pump on its Side?

You can lay a submersible pump on its side. Laying a pump horizontally will not do any damage to the bearings. There are instances where it is best to lay the pump on its side rather than vertically. It is okay to do and will not cause any damage to the pump.

Vertical Vs Horizontal Submersible Pumps

The main difference between the vertical and horizontal pump is in the shape and position of the shaft. The shaft of the horizontal centrifugal inline pump is placed horizontally between the bearings or the overhung. However, the shaft of the vertical inline pump is positioned vertically. When deciding which pump to choose between the two, there are many factors that you need to consider. These factors include quality, operation, and price. Bear in mind that what works for a certain application may not work for another. Hence, you need to choose a pump that can provide you with the quality, convenience, and operation that you need.

Horizontal Pumps Pros

One of the main advantages of a horizontal pump is that it is easy to install and maintain because its internal parts are easy to access. When choosing a horizontal pump, it is recommended that you choose an overhand shaft design especially if you will use it in an application that needs low suction pressure. On the other hand, it is ideal to choose a horizontal pump with an in-bearing shaft design if the application demands high suction pressure. These types of pumps are great for indoor applications because they are designed to have low headroom which can fit small and narrow spaces.

Horizontal Pumps Cons

A disadvantage of the horizontal pump is that the pressure and working temperature are lower as compared to vertical pumps. Also, these types of pumps are not suitable for application that needs higher NPSH than what is available. Another disadvantage is that horizontal pump footprint designs are higher than vertical pumps.

Vertical Pumps Pros

The advantage of using a vertical pump is that it has a smaller footprint as compared to horizontal pumps. Vertical pumps are also great to use for applications that require restricted surface area. The NPSH of these types of pumps can be altered so that they can be used for a wide range of applications. Moreover, vertical pumps are also ideal to use for liquids that need high temperature and pressure.

Vertical Pumps Cons

One of the disadvantages of vertical pumps is that they are hard to install and maintain because they need large headroom. Aside from that these types of pumps can only be used with electric motors. Vertical pumps have overhang designs that can make it hard to balance the axial thrust, especially at high suction pressures. Another disadvantage is that when it comes to pumping liquids that contain dissolved gasses, the mechanical seals of the vertical pump can fail and get damaged.

Do Submersible Pumps Have to be Submerged?

Submersible pumps should be fully submerged because the water around the pump helps cool the motor to avoid overheating. Using a submersible pump out of the water can result in overheating. The pump needs to have the right amount of fluid running through it so that it can be able to function effectively, maintain the right temperature, and avoid overheating.

On the other hand, in situations where the pump may is not completely submerged underwater, it should be covered with a shroud that has a closed top to direct the liquid into the pump. We have also written this article titled; will a submersible pump run without water? Check out the article for in-depth information about the topic.

✅ Video – Submersible Well Pump Installation Overview by Aqua Science

AquaScienceRI shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to install a submersible pump. In the video, the overview of the preparation and installation of a submersible pump for a home application is demonstrated. Watch the video below for the step-by-step instructions.

How to Install a Submersible Pump

There are a few things that you need to consider when installing a submersible pump. You can pump on your own if you are familiar with its installation, or may also hire the services of a professional. Below are some steps that you need to do when installing a submersible pipe on your own.

Step 1: Thoroughly Check the Well

Before anything else, inspect the depth, casing, and standing water level of the well. To do this, calculate the distance of the well from the ground to the bottom. Measure the head by calculating the vertical distance from the pump to the ground level. Measure the GPM of the well by calculating the amount of water in GPM the pump discharges. You can also check out this article that talks about at what depth should a submersible pump be installed. We have shared tips and information on submersible pump installation.

Step 2: Check the Components

Next, check the supplied components. Make sure that you do this step because it helps you decide the right installation. Check the motor and go through the details mentioned. Aside from that, you also need to check its wire phase and if the drop cable of the pump matches up with the motor cable. Furthermore, check the compatibility of the fittings with the pump outlet rising main, and bore cap.

Step 3: Put Motor and Pump Together

The next step that you need to do is to put the motor and pump together. To make sure that the motor fits the pump, use the supplied lubricant to grease and seal the shaft while you are assembling it. You can use poly tape or thread tape when laying the fitting.

Step 4: Secure the Splice

If you need to splice the drop cable, see to it that the splice is water-tight. To make the splice, you can use potting or commercial splicing kits. However, ensure that you follow the instructions written on the kit when doing the splicing process.

Step 5: Fit Pump to the Well

The next step is to fix the pump to the well. To do this, fit and roll out the rising main to the pump then fix the bore cap to the other end of the main. We have also written this article that discusses if a submersible well pump needs to be primed. You can check out the article to learn more about the submersible pump and how it works.

Step 6: Check the Drop Cable

Next, you need to connect the stainless steel safety cable to pump the rising main and the drop cable. See to it that you provide enough space to the rising main so that it can stretch. Another thing that you can do is to tape the length of the cable splice to shield the main. There should be an additional drop cable and fold to the main just under the bore cap. You can use this if the cable splice or the motor needs to be replaced.

Step 7: Double-Check Your Work

The last step that you need to do is to double-check the fittings to make sure that each component is attached and working. You can also test your work by lowering the pump end into the well. You can ask for someone to hold the bore cap end if it is difficult for you to handle the assembly. Using a roller that is made from the wheel of your car will also make handling the assembling weight easier.

To do this, use a sling and shackle to attach a bore cap to your car. Move your car so that the pump to go inside the well. Next, move your car towards the well and let the cap collide with the roller. Attach the starter, controller, and safety device to test the pump and make sure that everything is secured. You can also check out this article that we have shared that discusses how long it takes for a well pump to build pressure, We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.


In this article, we have discussed if submersible pumps run horizontally. We have found out that submersible pumps can run horizontally or on their size. There are instances wherein it is best to install the pump horizontally. This will not make any changes to how the pump functions. We have also discussed the difference between a vertical and a horizontal pump. When deciding on the type of pump that you need, make sure to consider all options that you have to make the best choice. Thank you for reading!

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