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Choosing the Best Sump Pump


While picking the right utensils and gadgets for your kitchen might seem like an easy job, choosing the right sump pump from a well-known brand might be more difficult than you’d think. To solve your specific problem, you have to take several factors into account such as the magnitude of the flow, the type of pump that will work best for you, and even the possibility of buying a battery-powered backup.



What is a sump pump?

If you have a serious flooding problem at home, a sump pump could be just the thing for you so you should do your homework and think about buying one.

As long as you have ever purchased a home in your life, chances are you’ve run into some problems with basements. While some dampness in the summer is a perfectly understandable issue and nothing a dehumidifier can’t handle, more critical problems can really make or break your home.

The secret when going on a buying tour is to try and start your house tour in the basement. If there’s any evidence of a significant water problem, such as an active sump pit and pump or even high watermarks on the walls, it’s probably best if you walk away before falling in love with the kitchen or your future master suite. Trust us, a wet basement is not worth the hassle.

If you’ve ever wondered what a sump pump is then you are a lucky person because you’ve probably never needed one. In layman’s terms, a sump pump sits in the basement of your house, either beneath or above the floor and which pumps out the water that collects in the sump basin and takes care of discharging it to the outdoors.

This item can be so useful, in fact, that if you decide to invest in one you should really go toward a model that is high-quality and it may even make sense to buy two or three just to have them for a (literally) rainy day. 


Are there any alternatives?

However, any good owner will consider any and all alternatives before making a decision, especially for something so crucial as stopping water from entering their home through the foundation. 

Installing a sump pump can be a messy business and another solution may be just as, if not even more efficient. For instance, we know some homeowners who decided to install a sump pump only to abandon it after putting in an outdoor curtain drain that diverted water into a pond and was a much more viable solution.

Similarly, installing or repairing gutters so they are not allowed to drain near your foundation can make a big difference in the long run. Furthermore, your yard’s angle is quite important here: if a patio, walkway, or even a pool deck slopes toward your house instead of away from it, all these things are contributing hundreds of gallons of water to your wet problem. 

Some services are precisely designed to re-level slabs so they drain away from the house and especially the patios can usually be removed and reinstalled with the proper slope without breaking the bank too much.



Choosing a sump pump

If the situation gets serious and you continue to have problems when it’s raining, then there’s probably no way around it: you’re going to need a sump pump. Therefore, we’ve laid out some quick tips to help you quickly choose the one that will fit your needs.

First and foremost, choose a submersible pump over a pedestal pump if your basin has the necessary space. Submersible ones allow the sump pit to be covered with a lid that is going a long way toward reducing pump noise and stopping debris from falling into the pit.  Furthermore, an airtight lid also keeps the moist air from coming into your house.

Go for a pump with a cast iron core instead of one made of plastic because cast iron helps to dissipate heat to the surrounding water and thoroughly lengthens the life of your sump pump. 

Besides, to minimize the chance of clogs, the pump should always have a no-screen intake design coupled with an impeller good enough to be able to handle solids up to ½-inch in diameter.

Furthermore, you should try to get a mechanical switch instead of a pressure one and the float has to be solid so it’s impossible to become waterlogged, fail to switch off, and burn out the entire pump. 

You should also be hard-pressed to find a product with a noisy alarm that is able to alert you when the water reaches a certain level, just to be on the safe side.

Also, make sure to select a pump specifically for the power that is going to be required to empty your area of water. A pump that has a greater distance to discharge the water will require more horsepower to complete the task since sump pumps are always available in various horsepower capacities based upon need and usage.


Always keep a spare

Another good idea is having a secondary pump installed right next to the first one, especially if you have the type of basement which has been converted to living space or if you like to store some valuables down there. If your primary pump fails or cannot handle the load anymore, the back-up automatically takes over.

For extra insurance and to really allow you to sleep comfortably at night, you can also opt for a battery backup so that if the power goes out as it often does in a storm, your battery-powered pump can continue working for up to two days, depending on how much demand you’re going to put it through. 

You can even find combination packages that are available with two or three pumps while a less costly option would be to only install the water alarm and keep a spare pump on hand should the primary pump fail.

Once you have invested and installed all the necessary equipment, it’s recommended that you test them regularly to make sure the check valve is functioning and does not allow water back into your basement.



Types of pumps

Primary sump pumps

The primary pumps are the standard ones that are found in many residences nowadays because they can pump up to several thousand gallons an hour to prevent floods and keep your house safe and dry. 

As we said, there are two types of primary sump pumps: the submersible pumps, and the pedestal ones. As their name suggests, submersible pumps are put underwater in your sump pump basin while pedestal ones are positioned with the motor out of the water and above the sump basin. 

A good way to choose between the two of them is remembering that pedestal pumps work best in small basins, as the base is submerged while the pump motor is not.

Battery backup sump pumps

Don’t be fooled by their name because while battery backup pumps are there to provide insurance in case your power goes out, they are still very good and can do their job very well. Pay a lot of attention when buying one because if it only has the term ‘’back-up’’ written on it, there’s no guarantee that it will work during a power outage.

What you want to do is make sure you buy the ones that are designated ‘’battery back-up’’, because those are not A/C powered and will work even when you’re short on electricity

Combination sump pumps

These pumps are exactly what their name says they are: a combination of a primary pump and a battery backup all in one nicely wrapped package. If you ever had to deal with the horrendous aftermath of a flooded basement, you know exactly how bothersome those can be.

With a combination sump pump, the good part is that you’re protected under normal circumstances but also under a power outage so, besides getting flood insurance, this is the pinnacle of home flood protection.

Sewage pumps

These pumps are not your traditional sump pumps although they can still be used for this purpose. Rather than that, sewage pumps are designed to efficiently pump sewage waste and effluent from a home to a septic system.

Therefore, these pumps can pass solids up to 2’’, which is quite a big difference when compared to the regular sump pumps. Once you install them, they run automatically and another bonus is the fact that you can install them either in the septic tank itself or in a separate pump chamber.