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How to Buy a Sump Pump

In many cases, a sump pump is necessary to protect a home and its possessions from the dangers of flooding. Whether your new house requires an installation, or whether the time has come to replace your aging pump, you will surely want to choose the best way to go about buying one. By following a few simple guidelines, a homeowner can learn how to buy a sump pump that is effective and suitable, without having to invest much time and effort.

Pedestal Sump PumpTypes of Sump Pumps
The first decision to make revolves around what type of sump pump best-suits your home. The two main types to choose from are:

  • Pedestal – this style of pump has a long life, is easy to repair, and generally less expensive than the submersible
  • Submersible – this style of pump is out of sight, under water, quiet and deemed a good alternative

Your selection should be based on two factors: the location of the sump pump and the amount of money you want to spend. If your basement is a main living area and the noise of a pump motor would be disturbing, opting for the submersible makes the most sense. However, if you are looking for something affordable that is long-lasting, the pedestal is a smart choice.

Submersible Sump PumpNo matter which type you choose, always opt for an automatic sump pump as the manual types require that you physically turn it on and off when it is needed – a major hassle in the middle of the night and when you are not at home. Automatic switches are not only reliable, but also give you peace of mind.

Pay attention to the materials and construction of the pump. The quality cast iron designs can better withstand the harsh conditions in the pit. Purchasing a well built sump pump is a good investment.

What Size to Buy
Part of knowing how to buy a sump pump includes deciphering which size your house needs. There are two main measurements to consider:

  • Size of the motor – measured in horsepower, ranging from 1/6 HP to 1/2 HP, the motor’s size often determines the pump’s effectiveness; note that the more powerful the motor, the higher the price
  • Capacity of the pump – often measured in gallons per hour or gallons per minute (GPH or GPM), this measurement is also connected to the head or lift of the pump

Basically, you want to find out the capacity of the pump at the proper head (the distance vertically from the base of sump pit to the highest point of fluid discharge). It is also important to install a sump pump strong enough (motor and capacity) to allow some solids to pass through. Debris, such as bits of leaves or twigs, often makes its way into the pit and the pump should be able to handle it.

Where to Buy a Sump Pump
You can pick up a sump pump at a local plumbing supply retailer or building supply store. If they do not offer a wide selection or offer prices you can afford, do some shopping online – even if only to compare prices for the type and size of sump pump you need. Online retailers often have a reliable warranty, fast shipping and competitive prices, allowing you to choose the best-suited sump pump for your budget and your home.

What about Power Back Up?
Although you may have bought the right type, size and capacity of sump pump for your home, it will be of little consequence if there is a power failure. While a wired-in sump pump functions well during normal conditions, having a battery operated back-up system or generator set-up is essential in order to ensure protection against flooding during a power outage.

Many people opt for the inexpensive pedestal-type pump with battery power as a back up option, which will only kick in when necessary. Alternatively, others have a generator set up with the outlet for the sump pump included, which will give you access to power during emergency situations.

Is a Contractor Needed?
Depending on your comfort level with do-it-yourself installation (including wiring and mechanical work), hiring a professional may be the safest way to install your sump pump. Get a few quotes and consider the importance of the proper set up of this system before you make up your mind.

How to buy a sump pump is a straightforward procedure, and determining the right type and size prior to shopping online will facilitate the process. By investing in a relatively affordable battery-powered pump for emergencies, you can place more importance on the installation process.


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