Buying a Sump Pump
If your sump pump is 10 years old or older, is making strange noises, or if there is water at the top of the pit, those are all signs that you may need a new sump pump. Here are some thoughts on buying a new pump.
Types of sump pumps
There are three types of sump pumps designed to protect your home from flooding during heavy rains by sending water into the storm sewers (this excludes sewage pumps which are designed specifically to pump sewage waste):
- Primary sump pumps. These are the common pumps most people have. There are two types of primary pumps, both of which run on electricity:
o Submersible pumps are put underwater in your sump pump basin. Most residential pumps are submersible as they are less expensive to manufacture.
o Pedestal pumps are positioned with the motor out of the water and above your pump basin. Many commercial and more powerful pumps are pedestal style.
- Battery backup pumps. These pumps are highly recommended, as they provide backup in case the electricity goes out, if your primary pump fails, or if the primary pump simply cannot keep up with demand during a particularly heavy downpour.
- Combination sump pumps. These systems combine a primary pump and a backup pump in one system.
Sump pump buying tips
Here are some things to consider before purchasing a sump pump:
- Choose a submersible pump if your sump basin has the space. You can cover a submersible pump with a lid, both reducing noise and stopping debris which can fall into and potentially clog the pit. The lid can also help keep moist air from being released in your home.
- To further minimize the chance of clogs, purchase a pump with a no-screen intake design combined with an impellor than can handle solids up to ½ inch thick diameter.
- Select a pump with a cast iron core (impeller), not a plastic one. Cast iron helps to dissipate heat to the water, which will increase the life of the pump.
- Purchase a unit with a switch that will rise and fall on a rod, not a tethered float switch. Tethered switches are good in commercial or large basins where they cannot become stuck against the pump or side of the basin.
- Make sure the float is solid so it cannot become waterlogged, fail to switch off, and burn out the pump.
- Purchase a unit with an alarm to alert you when the water reaches a certain level.
- Consider purchasing a “smart” sump pump that can alert you to problems while you are away.
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