Having a sump pump in your home is an easy way to prevent flooding and help ensure you don’t have to pay for costly water damage repairs or mold remediation. Choosing the right type and size of sump pump is essential for ensuring that it works effectively enough to keep your basement or crawl space dry. In this article, we’ll explain how sump pumps work and discuss the different types of sump pumps and their pros and cons to help you determine which type is best for your home.

How Sump Pumps Work

Although there are different types of sump pumps, they all work the same way. The sump pump basin works to collect the water that can naturally seep through a foundation and into a home’s basement or crawl space during heavy rains. The top of the basin is level with the basement or crawl space floor and the rest of it extends down into the soil below the foundation. This allows the water in the soil to flow into the basin. Sump pumps work to pump all of the water that collects in the basin outside. This prevents the water from potentially starting to seep up through the floor and causing the basement or crawl space to flood.

Inside of a sump pump is a motor that powers the unit’s impeller. The easiest way to understand how an impeller works is that it performs oppositely to the propeller on a boat. When a propeller spins, its blades push water to propel the boat forward. When the impeller in a sump pump spins, its blades pull or suck water up. This creates a strong force that allows the pump to push the water up and pump it outside and away from the house.

All sump pumps have some type of float or sensor that detects when the sump basin starts to fill with water. When water starts coming into the basin, the float will eventually trigger the pump to start running. The float will then trigger the pump to shut off once it has pumped most of the water out of the basin.

Understanding the Two Types of Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are either submersible units or pedestal units. Submersible sump pumps are more common and the type that most people are likely familiar with. Submersible sump pumps are fairly small and sit inside the sump basin. This type of pump is then directly connected to the discharge pipe that carries the water up and out of the crawl space or basement. Most submersible sump pumps have anywhere from a 1/4 horsepower to 1 HP motor.

Most pedestal sump pumps are between 2 and 4 feet long. This type of sump pump sits on top of the sump basin. The actual pump is located above the basin, and the impeller is inside a long pipe that extends from the pump down to the bottom of the basin. Pedestal sump pumps are less powerful and usually have a 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 HP motor.

Pros and Cons of Submersible Sump Pumps

Submersible sump pumps are typically a bit more expensive since most models have a larger, more powerful motor than what you find on pedestal sump pumps. That said, the price difference between the two types of pumps typically isn’t all that great. One of the main advantages of submersible sump pumps is that they work more effectively and are typically capable of pumping many more gallons of water per hour compared to pedestal pumps. This makes a submersible pump ideal for places that experience much more rain or homes that are more at risk of having their basement or crawl space flood. Another advantage of having a more powerful motor is that it enables a submersible pump to pump the water further both vertically and horizontally.

The fact that a submersible sump pump is located at the bottom of the sump basin means it will always be covered by water whenever it runs. The water helps to muffle the sound of the pump’s motor, which means you’ll hear little, if any noise whenever the pump runs. This makes a submersible pump a great option if you use your basement a lot or have bedrooms in the basement since you won’t be disturbed by the noise of the pump. While this lack of noise is a benefit, it can also be a drawback. This is because the lack of noise means that you may not realize that your pump isn’t running when it should until water starts overflowing out of the basin and your basement or crawl space begins flooding.

Another benefit is that the water helps to cool the pump’s motor. This is important for situations when the pump gets a lot of continual use since it helps to prevent the motor from overheating. Overheating could cause the motor to burn out and the pump to suddenly fail when you need it most, which can then quickly lead to flooding.

There are also some disadvantages to the pump being located at the bottom of the sump basin and frequently being underwater. One is that it makes the pump a bit more difficult to maintain since you need to remove it from the basin. Frequently being underwater also means that submersible pumps typically require more maintenance and sometimes don’t last quite as long as pedestal sump pumps.

Pros and Cons of Pedestal Sump Pumps

Pedestal sump pumps are mostly only recommended for places that are much less at risk of flooding and for situations where you don’t need to pump the water as high up or as far away from your house. More powerful pedestal sump pumps often have a maximum vertical pumping height of around 20 feet. However, pedestal pumps will smaller horsepower powers can sometimes only pump water up to a maximum vertical distance of around 10 feet.

A sump basin typically extends around two feet below the home’s foundation. That means if your basement has 8-foot-high ceilings, the water will need to be pumped to a height of at least 10 feet to get up out of the basement to the ground level outside. As the vertical pumping distance increases, the maximum horizontal distance that a sump pump can pump the water decreases. This means that not all pedestal pumps may be sufficiently powerful to get the water up out of the basement to wherever the discharge pipe empties out.

Another drawback to pedestal sump pumps is that they tend to be quite loud since there is nothing to muffle the sound of the motor. The sound also echoes off basement walls and can lead to you hearing the noise of the pump running throughout much of the house. Pedestal sump pumps also have a much higher risk of overheating during periods of heavy rain when they have to run a long time continuously. This means there is a greater chance that your pump could suddenly give out and result in your basement or crawl space eventually flooding.

The main advantages of pedestal sump pumps are that they cost a bit less and often last a bit longer than submersible pumps. However, in terms of life expectancy, it really depends on how much use the pump gets and how often it needs to run continuously for a longer time.

Pipe Works Services has been serving Chatham and the surrounding areas since 2000, and we’re proud to be the area’s most trusted home service provider. Whether you need to install or replace a sump pump or need any plumbing, heating, air conditioning or electrical services, our team of experts is always ready to help. For more information on which type of sump pump is best for your home, contact us today.

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