A sump pump  is like an old friend you don’t see often but who’s always ready to bail you out of a jam. Sump pumps operate in basement sump pits where rain and groundwater collect during storms.

Their job is to pump water out (usually to a drainage area located at least 20 feet away) and keep building interiors dry. If you find yourself in a flood-prone area in the middle of a storm, the right sump pump can be the best friend you have.

Choosing the Right Sump Pump:

Submersible vs. Pedestal  

Sump pumps are available in submersible and pedestal designs. In general, the size of a sump pit will determine the configuration that's best for it.

Submersible pumps are placed in large sump pits and can operate submerged in water. Their motors are moisture sealed and encased within the pump body. They are self-cooling and run more quietly than pedestal pumps.  

Pedestal pumps have external motors that run outside of a sump pit while the pump drains water below. They require less space than submersible models but can also be less efficient in pumping water with suspended solids.


To determine the horsepower of the pump you need, drop a tape measure in your sump pit during the next rain storm and measure the amount of water that accumulates in one minute. One inch of water in one minute is roughly equivalent to one gallon in a standard 18" pit. In a pit that's 24" in diameter, the volume doubles. Multiply by 60 to determine the number of gallons your pump will have to move per hour.

Sump pump strength is measured in horsepower. 1/3 horsepower is sufficient for most homes but may fall short in extreme conditions. Homeowners in areas prone to flooding might consider a pump with a more powerful 1/2 horsepower motor, bearing in mind that larger pumps cost more and wear out sooner than small ones.



Once you determine the type and capacity of the sump pump you need, consider your energy source.  

Electrically Powered  Most primary sump pumps are electrically powered. Unfortunately, an electrically powered sump pump will stop working if the power goes out during a storm.


Battery Back-Up Power  A battery back-up pump will kick in if the primary pump stops working due to power failure or breakdown. Just as a primary sump pump will not run without power, a battery-operated unit will not operate without a battery. Some battery back-up pumps run on deep-cycle maintenance-free marine batteries while others run on traditional acid batteries. These require the occasional addition of water.

Combination Systems  By bundling an electrical primary pump with a battery back –up unit, combination systems provide all-around flood protection. If the power goes down, or the primary pump is overwhelmed, the backup sump pump will begin pumping automatically.

Water Powered  Because they don’t run on electricity or batteries, water powered pumps are maintenance-free. However, they are only appropriate for homes with a consistent (40-100psi) municipal water supply and should not be used with electrically powered well water systems or to substitute a primary basement sump pump system.

Oil-Detecting Systems are electrically powered pumps used primarily in elevator pits and transformer vaults. They are designed to differentiate between oil and water, pumping only water and leaving oil out of discharge for safe draining.



Sump pumps are manufactured in materials ranging from durable cast iron to corrosion-resistant thermoplastic. They are also available with a variety of useful features.

Alarms are designed to sound an alert when water reaches a problematic level or a pump stops working.

Float Switches activate a pump when water reaches a pre-determined level. They are available in vertical, tethered and pressure varieties.

Silent Check Valves eliminate the noise that results when a sump pump shuts off and the check valve closes.  They are sometimes referred to as klunkless valves.

For detailed specs, manuals and reviews on the sumps pumps, battery back-up systems, combinations systems and water powered systems  we stock and ship nationally, visit our product pages at www.pumpproducts.com or call us for details: 1-800-429-0800.