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Sump Pump Buying Guide

A comprehensive sump pump guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy the right sump pump.

Getting Started

What is a sump pump? Sump pumps are used for drainage that removes accumulated water from a sump pit or other location inside your home. A sump pit, commonly found in the home basement, is simply a hole dug in the ground to collect water. The water may enter through drains that have been funneling into the pit over time, especially during inclement weather.

Sump pumps are installed particularly where basement flooding is seen as a problem, but are also used to improve dampness by lowering the water table under the foundation. Sump pumps pipe water away from the house to any place where it no longer presents a hazard, such as a municipal storm drain or dry well.


This kind of sump pump is when the motor is mounted on the shaft and is located directly outside the sump basin. The vertical float design is adjustable for specific on or off points. This is a good solution for smaller sump pits. This is the cheaper version, and may not last more than 5-15 years, but it’s an excellent solution in emergencies.
This is where the motor is sealed within the sump basin and the unit is installed below the water level. This is much quieter and less obtrusive as a pedestal unit. If is much safer if children are in the house and ideal for finished basements. The submersible sump pump may also operate for up to 30 years.


Backup System & Alarm
If redundancy and an alert system are vital for operation of your sump pump, consider a backup system and/or alarm to alert you when things go awry.
Check Valve
Prevents backflow through discharge outlet so that water pumped out of the basin does not flow back into it when the sump pump turns off.
Corrosion-Resistant Construction
Particularly important for submersible pumps, corrosion-resistant construction enables pumps to withstand the rigors of use year in and year out.
Discharge Pipe/Hose
An open valve or pipe run that carries discharge water away from the home.
Groundwater Collection System
Routes excessive groundwater to a sump basin.
Sump pump horsepower will vary from 1/4 horsepower to multiple horsepower.
Cord Length
The cord length of a sump pump describes the length of the power cord. It is also important to consider the length of the cord of any special switches that may be connected to your pump.
SSPMA Standards
Look for a pump that conforms to the standards of the The Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association (SSPMA).
Water-Powered Pumps
In lieu of choosing an electric or battery-powered backup pump, you may want to consider a water-powered pump. These units use city water pressure to pump water. Because they can only operate if pressure is at a certain level and are not designed to handle large quantities of water, only install one if you tend not to receive consistently heavy rainfall.

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