The Best Sump Pump Systems For Your Home

A Model-By-Model Review of the Four Major Sump Pump Models

With so many crawl space flooding these days, many different models of sump pump systems have been designed to handle this. Like most things in the contractor industry, some designs are good, some are great and some are in the process of being phased out.

The most common sump pumps systems are:

  • Pedestal Sump Pumps
  • Submersible Sump Pumps
  • Water-Powered Pumps
  • "Floor Suckers

Below, we've provided our analysis of four sump systems -- including the pros and cons for each one.

ugly pedestal pump

Improper sump pump installations can lead to moisture, odors and noise coming from the sump pit.

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Pedestal Sump Pump Systems

Pedestal Sump Pumps are pumps that are not meant to be submerged in water.

These pumps are mounted above the water line, with a long line from the float switch down into the pit.

Pump Advantages

  • Higher Capacity -- Pedestal sump pumps are one of the higher-capacity sump pumps available on the market. They're better equipped than some models to keep up with heavy volumes of water.

Pump Disadvantages

  • Frequent Malfunctions -- These low-end pumps are notorious for early burnout. Pedestal pumps also "wander" in their sump pits and can jam their sump pump switch on the side, forcing it to stay on or off.
  • Noisy Operation -- Because the motor is out of the sump pit, the noise from the pump cannot be muffled by a lid. Pedestal pumps usually stand in open pits, which let in odors and humidity.

Submersible Sump Pump Systems

Submersible Sump Pumps are installed in a sump pit and are meant to be immersed in water when operating. The water cools the unit to help prevent burnouts, while the sump pit can be covered for noise reduction.

Pump Advantages

  • High Capacity Operation -- Submersible sump pumps are high-capacity units that can keep any crawl space dry. When combined with a battery backup submersible pump, they provide the best protection of available models.
  • Long Lifespan -- Because the cast iron housing around the motor can disperse heat naturally into the water, these self-cooling pumps are long-lasting and reliable protection for your home.

Pump Disadvantages

  • Initial Investment -- While a submersible sump pump will outlast several generations of similar pumps, they cost slightly more on their initial investment than comparable alternatives.

Water-Powered Sump Pumps

Water-Powered Sump Pumps are installed above the pump pit and are powered by your water supply instead of electricity. These systems use your town water supply and depend on your home's water pressure for pumping capacity.

Pump Advantages

  • Runs Without Electricity-- Water-powered sump pumps operate by using your local water supply to help discharge water, allowing them to run through many power outages. 3-5 gallons will be used for each gallon of groundwater discharged.
  • Long Lifespan-- These pumps are long-lasting, durable systems that should continue operation for many years.

Pump Disadvantages

  • Low Pumping Capacity-- Unfortunately, water-powered sump pumps run at very low capacity. Heavy rains and water volumes will quickly overwhelm these systems.
  • Requires High Home Water Pressure-- If your home has low water pressure, it will greatly affect how useful these pumps are. If you experience a temporary loss of water pressure, they may fail to operate entirely.

"Floor Sucker" Sump Pump Systems

"Floor Sucker" Sump Pumps will only switch on after the crawl space has already flooded. They're often used by contractors and many homeowners as an emergency pump to suck the water off of the floor. 

Pump Advantages

  • No Installation Time -- These pumps are ready for use immediately, making them a good option for emergency use.
  • Requires No Sump Pit or French Drain -- "Floor Suckers" sit directly on the floor. There's no need to install a perimeter French drain or sump pit.

Pump Disadvantages

  • Does Not Stop Flooding -- Your crawl space must flood with more than 1/8" of water before this pump begins operation. If you're paying to dry your crawl space, this is not a solution.
  • Loud & Low Capacity -- These pumps are low-end models that will not be able to keep up with heavy floods. The pump operation, sucking sounds, and discharge line will all contribute to significant noise during operation.
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