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Properly Sizing a Sump Pump: Everything You Need to Know

Properly Sizing a Sump Pump: Everything You Need to Know

As a homeowner, you probably know that one of the most important investments you can make is in a sump pump.

A sump pump is a device that helps prevent water damage by pumping excess water out of your home's basement or crawlspace.

However, choosing the right size for your sump pump can be a daunting task. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about properly sizing a sump pump, including why it's important, what factors to consider, and how to choose the right size.

Why Properly Sizing a Sump Pump is Important

Choosing the right size sump pump is crucial for several reasons.

First, if your sump pump is too small, it may not be able to handle the volume of water that enters your basement during heavy rainstorms or snowmelt.

This can result in flooding, water damage, and costly repairs. Bigger is NOT always better, if your sump pump is too large, it can be expensive to operate and may not be as effective in removing water as a properly sized pump.

Sump Pump


How to Choose the Right Size Sump Pump

Several factors should be taken into account when sizing a sump pump. These include:

1. Pump Capacity

The capacity of a sump pump is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and refers to the amount of water it can pump in one minute. A pump's capacity should be matched to the size of the sump pit it will be installed in.

For example, a 1/3 horsepower sump pump can typically handle up to 35 GPM, while a 1/2 horsepower pump can handle up to 60 GPM. 

Max Flow Rate: The largest volume of water a pump can push out.

2. Pump Head

The pump head refers to the vertical lift distance that a pump can push liquid against gravity in order to be discharged from the pump. This is an important factor to consider when sizing a sump pump because the higher the pump head, the lower the pump's capacity will be.

A 1/3 and 1/2 horsepower has a typical install of 7 to 10 feet vertical lift off the sump pump, a 90-degree elbow and a horizontal pipe running between 3 and 25 feet

3. Sump Pit Size

The size of the sump pit should also be taken into account when sizing a sump pump. A larger sump pit can accommodate a larger pump and can help prevent the pump from cycling on and off too frequently.

A standard size for a sump pit is 18 inches. If you tend to get more than 30 gallons of water coming into you sump pit per minute, then a larger diameter (24 inch) sump pit is more appropriate for you.

In example:

If you have a 24 inch sump pit, then 1 inch of water is equivalent to approximately 2 gallons.

4. Backup Systems

It's important to consider backup systems when sizing a sump pump. Backup systems, such as battery backups or water-powered backups, can help ensure that your sump pump continues to function even during power outages or other emergencies.

Water powered sump pump uses a home's incoming water pressure to power the pump. Battery back up Sump Pumps run by a battery, these pumps are useful in situations where you can't us a water powered pump in the instance of your home having well water.


Sump Pump


Choosing the Right Sump Pump for Your Home

Now that you understand the factors to consider when sizing a sump pump, it's time to choose the right pump for your home. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

1. Look for Quality and Durability

Investing in a high-quality sump pump that is designed to last can save you money in the long run. Look for pumps that are made of durable materials and come with a warranty.

2. Choose the Right Type of Pump

There are two main types of sump pumps: submersible and pedestal. Submersible pumps are designed to be installed inside the sump pit and are typically quieter and more efficient. Pedestal pumps are installed outside of the sump pit and are less expensive but also less efficient.

3. Consider Energy Efficiency

Choosing an energy-efficient sump pump can help you save money on your utility bills. Look for pumps that are Energy Star certified and have a high efficiency rating.

4. Think About Noise Level

If you plan to use your basement for living space, you may want to choose a quieter sump pump. Submersible pumps are typically quieter than pedestal pumps, so keep this in mind when making your choice.

5. Get Professional Installation

Installing a sump pump can be a complicated process, so it's best to leave it to the professionals. Hire a licensed plumber or sump pump installer to ensure that your pump is installed correctly and functions properly.


Maintaining the Pump

Periodically maintain your pump by doing the following:

  • Check the operation of the float to make sure that its up-and-down movement is not restricted.
  • Check the outside pipe when the pump is running to make sure it is discharging water. Several things can cause water not to be discharged, including a stuck check valve, the impeller loose on its shaft, or a plugged water pipe.
  • If the pump has not had to run for several months, put enough water in the sump pump basin to trigger the float switch. That way, you ensure that the pump is still operating properly.

 Sump Pump


Q. How often should a sump pump be replaced?

A. Sump pumps typically last between 5 and 10 years. However, if your sump pump is showing signs of wear and tear or is not functioning properly, it may need to be replaced sooner.

Q. How much does it cost to install a sump pump?

A. The cost of installing a sump pump varies depending on the type of pump, the size of the sump pit, and other factors. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 for sump pump installation.

Q. Do I need a backup system for my sump pump?

A. Backup systems are recommended for all sump pumps to ensure that they continue to function during power outages or other emergencies.

Q. Can a sump pump handle sewage or wastewater?

A. No, sump pumps are designed to handle clean water only. If you have sewage or wastewater in your basement, you will need a different type of pump.

Q. How often should a sump pump be tested?

A. Sump pumps should be tested at least once a year to ensure that they are functioning properly.

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