Can I use a water pump as a vacuum or air pump? Will it damage it or will it simply not work?

Also can I use a water pump to completely dry a tank that was filled with water

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  • Do you have a vacuum? Preferably wet-dry like shop vac.
    – brian
    Apr 8 '17 at 14:50

You cannot use a water pump to pump air. A water pump is designed to move fluid with a viscosity and density that is 1000 times greater than air. The water pump needs the lubrication and cooling of the water passing through it to keep it from overheating. Running a water pump dry will ruin it in short order. Also it will not effectively pump air.

  • Also can I use a water pump to completely dry a tank that was filled with water like all the drops?
    – Diogo
    Apr 8 '17 at 9:43
  • @Diogo - no. Like Jim Stewart said, a water pump must be pumping water. As soon as you stop running water through it continuously, bad things happen to the pump.
    – Roberto
    Apr 8 '17 at 10:24
  • 3
    Stating plainly that "you cannot use a water pump to pump air" is not really true; it depends on the type of pump. If the answer said "you cannot use that type of water pump to pump air", it might be accurate. Certainly a common centrifugal water pump will not work to pump air but some types of pumps will do both (like a rotary sliding-vane pump, or a diaphragm pump). Apr 8 '17 at 14:03
  • @JimmyFix-it do you know if they are drill pump for those pumps (sliding-vane or diaphragm)? I dont find anything, I wonder why. Is it because a drill turns too fast?
    – JinSnow
    Oct 8 '19 at 14:58
  • 1
    I remember reading an Amateur Scientist article (Scientific American magazine) where he used a stream of water through a hose to create suction, which is pumping air, albeit indirectly. I don't remember the method and couldn't find it in a brief Google search.
    – Duston
    Sep 1 at 13:34


The key is your pump needs to have water in its chamber of the propeller only.so you can use some tools that maintain the water there so you can suck air or in my usage acids and alkali material INDIRECTLY but efficiently. They are called priming tools.

The centrifugal pump works when the propeller is in liquids like water. So if you just make the housing full it can prime it self.

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Then if you want bigger volumes of air to be sucked or pushed you can use a sealed container as the liquid storage. Search for self priming pump principles Then search liquid ring vacuum pump and compressors.

  • This sounds interesting. Can you provide more information on these "priming tools"? Maybe a Wiki link or a picture - something that will help the rank amateur figure out what to look for.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 1 at 14:39

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