A sump pump might not be the most glamorous purchase for your home, but when you need it, you'll be glad you invested in the right one. Sump pumps are vital for keeping your basement dry and preventing flooding, especially in areas prone to heavy rain or high-water tables. However, choosing the right sump pump can be a daunting task with various types and features available. In this comprehensive sump pump buying guide, we'll help you navigate through the options and make an informed decision.
What is a Sump Pump?
Before delving into the specifics, let's start with the basics. A sump pump is a device designed to remove excess water from your basement or crawlspace. It's typically installed in a sump pit, a hole dug into the ground beneath your home. When water levels rise, the sump pump activates to pump the water out and away from your property. Here are some key factors to consider when buying a sump pump:
Types of Sump Pumps
- Submersible Sump Pump: Submersible sump pumps are placed directly in the sump pit and are designed to be submerged in water. They are quieter and more discreet but usually cost more than pedestal pumps.
- Pedestal Sump Pump: Pedestal sump pumps have the motor mounted above the sump pit, so they are not submerged. These pumps are more affordable and easier to maintain but can be noisier.
Pumping Capacity (GPH)
The pumping capacity of a sump pump is measured in gallons per hour (GPH). To determine the right capacity for your needs, consider the average water inflow in your area during heavy rains. A higher GPH rating indicates a more powerful pump, but it may not always be necessary.
Head pressure is the vertical height a sump pump can effectively pump water. It's essential to measure the vertical distance from the sump pit to the outlet. Make sure the pump you choose can handle this height without compromising performance.
Primary or Backup Pump
Consider whether you need a primary sump pump, a backup sump pump, or a combination of both. In areas with frequent power outages or heavy rains, a backup sump pump (e.g., battery-powered or water-powered) can be a lifesaver.
Features to Look For
As you shop for a sump pump, keep an eye out for these essential features:
- Automatic Switch: An automatic switch, such as a float switch, ensures that the sump pump activates when the water level in the pit rises and deactivates when it falls. This feature is crucial for unattended operation, providing continuous protection.
- Dual Float Switch: A dual float switch adds an extra layer of reliability. If one float switch fails, the second one takes over, reducing the risk of pump failure.
- Built-in Alarm: Some sump pumps come with built-in alarms to alert you when water levels are too high or if the pump malfunctions. This feature helps you take action before a flood occurs.
- Battery Backup: For extra peace of mind, consider a sump pump with a battery backup system. This ensures your pump continues to work even during power outages, which often coincide with heavy rains.
- 5. Quality Check Valve: A check valve prevents water from flowing back into the sump pit after the pump has turned off. Ensure your sump pump comes with a durable and efficient check valve.
Sump Pump Installation
Proper installation is key to ensuring your sump pump functions effectively. If you're not experienced with plumbing and electrical work, it's best to hire a professional. Here's a basic overview of the installation process:
- Dig the Sump Pit: If you don't already have one, you'll need to dig a sump pit in your basement or crawlspace. Ensure it's deep enough and wide enough to accommodate the pump.
- Position the Pump: Place the pump inside the sump pit. Make sure it's secure and level.
- Connect Discharge Pipe: Connect the discharge pipe to the pump, leading it outside or to a suitable drainage point.
- Install a Check Valve: Attach the check valve to the discharge pipe to prevent backflow.
- Electrical Wiring: Properly wire the pump according to the manufacturer's instructions. For safety reasons, this is a task best left to a professional electrician.
- Test the Pump: Once everything is set up, test the pump to ensure it's functioning correctly. Verify that the float switch activates and deactivates the pump as expected.
- Backfill and Seal: Carefully backfill the pit with gravel or sand and seal the area around the pit to prevent water from entering the basement.
To ensure the longevity and reliability of your sump pump, it's essential to perform regular maintenance. Here are some maintenance tips to keep in mind:
- Clean the Sump Pit: Periodically remove debris and sediment from the sump pit. This prevents clogs and ensures the pump can function properly.
- Test the Pump: Regularly test the pump by pouring water into the pit to confirm that the float switch activates the pump.
- Check the Backup Power: If your sump pump has a backup power source, test it to ensure it's working correctly. For battery backups, replace the battery as needed.
- Inspect the Discharge Pipe: Ensure the discharge pipe is clear of obstructions and properly positioned to direct water away from your home.
- Schedule Professional Maintenance: Consider having a professional inspect your sump pump annually to catch and address any issues before they become problematic.
Invest in a Cellular Sump Pump Alarm
The PumpAlarm has sensors that detect water from an overflowing sump. By installing the cellular alarm, you'll receive notifications for power outage, water level monitoring and built-in temperature sensing. Instant alerts you want to know about, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additional accessory sensors available .
Investing in the right sump pump and properly maintaining it is crucial for protecting your home from potential water damage and flooding. By understanding the types, features, and installation process, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a sump pump. Remember to regularly maintain and test your pump to ensure it's always ready to do its job when needed. With the right sump pump in place, you can have peace of mind during heavy rains and floods, knowing that your basement or crawlspace is well-protected.