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How To Choose A Sump Pump

How to choose a sump pump.

So, how would you go about choosing one?  What can you pick from?

How about the stack of cheap units on sale at the hardware store?  Why not?

With just about everything, you get what you pay for.

What's a sump pump?

It is a pumping unit buried in a tub under the basement floor that collects and discharges water before it can flood the home.

In modern construction it is fed by drain lines placed around the foundation wall, and under the house.

Older houses, with retro-fit sumps, might have drain lines inside the house feeding water to the unit.

Either way, a properly-functioning sump pump is flood protection.

How would you go about buying one?  If you were replacing one that broke, what would you look for?

There are two kinds - pedestal and submersible.

Either runs automatically.  When the water level inside the tub it is buried in rises high enough, a float turns the unit on.  When it has pumped out enough water and the float lowers enough, the unit turns off.

There should be a valve in the discharge pipe, called a check valve,  which prevents water from returning to refill the tub.

WHEN YOU ARE REPLACING A BAD SUMP PUMP YOU SHOULD ALSO THINK TO REPLACE THE CHECK VALVE.  IT MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN LOOSE, OR CLOGGED, OVER TIME AND NO LONGER WORKS PROPERLY.

You can go to the hardware store or order a new sump pump unit on line.

What should you look for?

  • Housing material - cast iron, stainless steel, thermoplastic, aluminum, etc.  Probably the stronger the housing, the better the unit.
  • Gallons per hour flow - if you live with a high water table, or where there is a lot of rain, more gallons per hour are important.
  • Float type - tether or vertical.
  • Motor amps - like the vacuum cleaner, the higher the amperage the stronger the motor.  Consider 12amps, but fewer than 10amps would probably not serve you long.
  • Horse power - the most popular units, and those recommended by most professionals, are 1/2 HP.
  • Discharge port size.  A 2" pipe is usually the largest you can find.
  • Price range.  Again, you get what you pay for.   On line you can find a good cast-iron submersible, 1/2HP unit, with a vertical float, for $200 - $300.

I RECOMMEND A SUMP PUMP BATTERY-BACK UP
ON EVERY ONE OF MY INSPECTION REPORTS.

If the power goes out, or if the pump fails from overuse or overheating, you should have back up!

These are big batteries which come in DC or AC/DC.  All units switch to DC if the power fails, but the AC/DC unit will allow the pump to operate directly off the electric power without depleting the battery.  They plug in and are continuously charged.

Obviously the more hours they provide protection the better!  One that protects for 48 - 72 hours is not too large!  Again, you can select HP and gallons per hour.  The bigger the better, but buy depending on your sump pump usage needs.

The good ones aren't cheap, but peace of mind is worth a $million!

My recommendation:  sump pumps are crucially important to the health of a lower level.  And if you have a finished basement they are essential.  The cheaper units are a waste of money.  A battery back-up is also very important.  I have this one, and feel confident my basement is as protected as it can be.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 10 commentsJay Markanich • April 10 2016 04:29AM

Comments

Hello Jay Markanich 

As with most things, you get what you pay for...  If I needed a sump pump, I wouldn't scrimp as a flooded basement would be no fun.  Here in Dallas, though, basements are not an issue.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 3 years ago

We have slab homes here too, Lisa.  But for those of us with basements, these are important little fellows!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

As you don't have to deal with swamp coolers, I don't have to deal with sump pumps! I do see their value though, but don't know much about them.

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 3 years ago

Then reading my post is as good an education as you can get Fred!

Read on, dude.

I didn't think you had cooling swamps out there either, but silly me, I guess.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Jay Markanich Thanks for the very good report on Sump Pump.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) about 3 years ago

It's something many don't know about John.  They are important devices when houses have lower levels.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

This is excellent advice to share with home owners. I will schedule a reblog.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 3 years ago

Appreciated as always, Roy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Thank you for the information. I will bookmark this post and share with others.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 3 years ago

Glad you found it informative, Gita.  I write them to be able to share.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

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