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What’s the Best Sump Pump for Your Basement?

Nov 24, 2015 • By Matthew Stock.


A basement water problem can always be repaired – basement waterproofing contractors have a solution for pretty much anything you can throw at them.

That’s great, but it’s even better to take steps to prevent water from entering the basement in the first place.

Many times, basement waterproofing systems are part of a home’s original construction, such as when a builder installs interior and/or exterior drain tile around a foundation or applies waterproofing membranes to the foundation walls.  As part of these systems, the builder will also install a sump pump.

A sump pump is often referred to as the “heart” of a basement waterproofing system and with good reason.  Drain tile, without a sump pump, would be merely a passive system that would allow relief of hydrostatic pressure up to the point where the pipe filled with water. After that, you’d get a wet basement floor.

Of course, as important as it is, you should have the best sump pump for your basement.

How to Choose the Best Sump Pump for Your Basement

So, what exactly is the “best” sump pump?  The most expensive?  The most powerful?  The largest?

Not necessarily.  The best sump pump for your basement is the one that has sufficient power to keep your basement dry, the dependability to be counted on when it’s needed the most and the durability to last.

Let’s take a look at what that means:

Power – Sump pumps are rated in horsepower, anywhere from ¼ hp to 2 and more.  Typically, the cost of these units corresponds to the horsepower rating and that causes many price-conscious buyers to buy sump pumps that are too weak.

A better way to evaluate the power of a sump pump is to consider pumping capacity, which is arrived at by combining the gallons-per-minute (GPM) rating and head height.

Gallons-per-minute is fairly obvious — the higher the GPM rating, the faster the sump pump will move water and the better it will respond to major storms or melting snow.  However, the effective capacity of a sump pump is dependent on head height – the vertical distance that the sump pump has to move water to eliminate it from the basement.  For a typical eight-foot deep basement, the average head height is ten feet, which includes the depth of the sump basin.  Look for a sump pump that handles at least 34 GPM at a ten-foot head, more if you live in an area where heavy storms are common.

Dependability – A sump pump that can be depended on to work every time the sump basin fills with water is one that is well-designed and that has features that contribute to its reliability.  For example, all sump pumps have float switches that turn them on when the water level rises.  However, some sump pumps use a tether switch, a plastic ball on a cord that often tangles with the pump’s power line or gets trapped against the wall of the basin.  A float switch contained in a cage or one that rides on a fixed rod won’t have these problems.

Similarly, a sump pump that has a debris filter with openings that are too small can clog and prevent the pump from moving water quickly enough to keep the basement dry.

Durability – Two words define durability in a sump pump — cast iron.  Choosing a sump pump with a cast-iron housing will ensure that it will last for years to come and always perform when called upon.  Plastic models just won’t last.

So, where do you find this best sump pump for your basement?  Probably not at the big box hardware store.  Your best bet will be to rely on a full-service basement waterproofing contractor who can not only supply the sump pump but install it properly as well.

At U.S. Waterproofing we recommend Zoeller primary sump pumps because of their strong performance and durability and have installed them for many of the 300,000 satisfied customers we’ve served since our founding in 1957.  Why not ask for our free advice when you need a sump pump?

Tags: best sump pump, best sump pump basement

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