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Different Types of Sump Pumps - Which is the Best?

Monday, May 15th


Every basement (or crawl space) is at risk of flooding. A sump pump protects against flooding and water damage by automatically pumping water out of the sump pit through a discharge pipe and away from the house. If your sump pump fails during a heavy rain event, your basement can quickly flood, causing damage to your belongings and leaving you with a headache and the expense of flood cleanup.

Learning how to choose the best sump pump for your home can help you protect your home from flood damage before it's too late. This post will explain the different types of sump pumps available and the pros and cons of each type.

Primary Sump Pumps

Zoeller pedestal pump and submersible pump

Source: Zoeller Pump Company

Primary sump pumps are the standard pumps found in many homes. They are designed to pump water out of the basement or crawl space to prevent flooding. There are two types of primary sump pumps: pedestal and submersible. Each type of primary sump pump has its pros and cons.

  1. Pedestal – A pedestal type sump pump is an upright pump with an impeller at the base of a pedestal. The motor is located above the pump and is not meant to get wet.

    Pros: Pedestal sump pumps are typically less expensive than submersible pumps and the motor being above water makes it easier to repair.

    Cons: The exposed motor makes pedestal pumps noisier, more likely to overheat, and a greater safety risk.

  2. Submersible – A submersible type sump pump is installed in a sump pit and is designed to function underwater.

    Pros: Submersible pumps are quieter than pedestal pumps. With the motor inside the sump basin, submersible pumps are less obtrusive, safer in homes with children, and ideal for finished basements.

    Cons: Submersible pumps are usually more expensive than pedestal pumps and they can't operate without electricity.

Tip: When choosing a sump pump for your basement or crawl space, look for a model with corrosion-free housing materials, a sump cover, sump pump alarm and consider adding a battery backup sump pump.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps

The UltraSump 4 battery backup unit

UltraSump 4™ Battery Backup Sump Pump System

Primary sump pumps are powered by electricity, meaning they won't work in the event of a storm that knocks out the power, which is usually when you need the pump to work. Having a backup pump that's powered by a battery pack provides extra protection, especially during a power outage.

If there's rising water in the sump pit and your primary pump fails to work, the battery backup sump pump will turn on and automatically begin pumping the water out out of your home. A battery backup is designed to take over pumping duties if there's a power loss, the primary pump fails, or when the water level exceeds the capacity of the primary pump.

Pros: A battery-powered backup pump can operate during a power loss or when the primary pump fails.

Cons: The battery that powers the backup pump will eventually need to be recharged and can die during a long power outage.

The UltraSump 4 Battery Backup Sump Pump System from Basement Systems can pump up to 12,000 gallons of water on a single charge, providing protection until the power is restored or the primary pump is fixed. The TimeMachine Data Logger from Basement Systems makes it easier to monitor the health of the battery and pump.

Combination Sump Pump Systems

The submersible TripleSafe sump pump system in a basement

TripleSafe™ Sump Pump System

A combination sump pump system combines a primary sump pump and a battery backup pump in a single system. Combination primary and battery backup systems offer the greatest level of protection against flooding. 

Pros: Combination pump systems are usually a more cost-effective option.

Cons: Some combination systems can't fit in a single sump basin.

The patented TripleSafe Sump Pump System includes three durable submersible pumps, including two primary pumps and a battery-powered pump, all inside a single sump basin. 

Basement Systems offers several submersible sump pumps to choose from, including combination sump pump systems and battery backup sump pumps.

If you're considering installing a sump pump in your basement or crawl space, read our
sump pump comparison for more information on the types of sump pumps or contact us to schedule a Free Consultation and Estimate with a local Basement Systems waterproofing contractor near you.

Updated: July 7, 2020

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