How to Buy a Primary Sump Pump
Home centers sell a confusing array of sump
pumps that range from $50 to $250. But don't
despair. We've reviewed all the specs, talked
to the engineers and boiled it down to five
simple buying tips:
1. Horsepower means nothing. It's the pumping
volume in gallons per hour (GPH) that
counts. Check the capacity of your current
pump. If your current pump keeps up with the
flow during the heaviest rainstorms, buy that
capacity again. If not, buy a pump with a higher GPH rating. To find your current
pump's rating, locate its make and model number on the label and find the specs
on the manufacturer's Web site.
2. Check the “head” on the manufacturer's GPH rating. Head is the height that
water has to be lifted from the pump to the horizontal discharge pipe. More height
means harder work for the pump. The GPH rating on most good-quality pumps
includes the head (typically 10 ft.). But some manufacturers rate pump capacity
without head (“3200 GPH at 0 head” for example). That gives an unrealistic—and
misleading—estimate of pump capacity.
3. Spend the money to get a quality sump pump. Look for a caged or vertical
float switch, a motor with a UL and a CSA rating, and a pump made with a stainless
steel, cast aluminum or cast iron impeller and pump body. Avoid pumps made
from epoxy-coated parts.
4. Buy an energy-efficient pump. Once you find a pump with the correct GPH
rating, look for a model that consumes the fewest amps. This isn't about saving
electricity; high-amp pumps run hotter and burn out the float switch faster.
5. If your sump accumulates gravel or sand, buy a “top suction” pump that's “solid
passing” to prevent a stall/burnout caused by trapped gravel. Or raise a “bottom
suction”-style pump on a few bricks to keep it off the bottom of the sump.
While you're at the home center, buy a new male fitting to fit the pump outlet; pipe
primer and cement; a new check valve and rubber couplers