How to Select a Sump Pump for Your Home

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How do I select the correct sump pump for my home?

Selection will depend on the application in which the sump pump will be used. To choose just the right sump pump, be aware of these terms:

Automatic or Manual Operation: A manual sump pump will pump only when you turn the unit on and off. An automatic unit has a special connected switch turns the sump pump on or off at certain water levels (some switches are adjustable, allowing you to “fine tune” the on/off points). Types of automatic switches include: pressure switches, low level pressure switches and float switches.

Head Pressure: The head pressure of a sump pump denotes the maximum height that the pump will displace water. For example, a sump pump with a 10-ft max head (also called a shutoff head) will pump water up 10-ft before it completely loses flow. If you want to get technical, head pressure (P) the product of the density of the fluid (warer), the height of fluid and gravity:

P = ypg

where p is fluid density, y is the fluid column height, and g is the force of gravity on Earth (30 ft/sec2 or 9.8 m/sec2). Other factors might also contribute to total head pressure, such as loss from elbows/bends and friction loss from long horizontal runs.

Horsepower (hp): Sump pump horsepower may range from fractional 1/4 horsepower to several horsepower.

Phase and Voltage: Sump pumps are available in single- and three-phase. The voltages offered include 115, 230, and 460 volt. Three-phase units usually operate with 460 VAC, and are often intend for heavy-duty or industrial use.

Power Cord Length: The cord length of a sump pump is the length of the power cord that plugs into an outlet or is direct-wired. Don’t forget the length of the cord of any switches that might be connected to the sump pump.

Backup System and Alarm: If redundancy and /or an alert system are important for operation of a sump pump, consider a backup system, such as a battery back-up model, and /or an alarm.


Even the strictest risk-management efforts with sump pumps can fail -- such as during floods and other major disasters. If you are not confident in your sump-pump’s ultimate reliability, consider some simple and inexpensive preventive measures. For example, in the city of Venice, Italy, people in flood-prone areas simply keep valuable things above the floor (such as on shelves or stands).

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Saturday, December 24, 2016 16:15