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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Sump Pump

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Sump Pump

A well-functioning sump pump can help prevent serious water damage to your home. If yours isn’t working correctly, you could face expensive repair bills.

A good test is to pour water into the sump pit until the float switch rises. Then, the pump should turn on and drain water from the basement.

1. Size


When it comes to buying a M53 Zoeller sump pump, size matters. The pump needs to be powerful enough to remove your basement water as it rises, but not so powerful that it overworks and cycles on and off too frequently.

Most pumps come with charts showing how many gallons per minute they can pump for different lengths of lift. Use these charts to determine how powerful a pump you need for your home.

The discharge pipe needs to be large enough to allow the pump to push its rated volume of water. Larger diameter pipes also reduce friction and losses, which improves the pump’s performance.

A pump with a cast iron core lasts longer than pumps with plastic or stainless steel cores. The cast iron core sits in contact with the motor and dissipates heat that would otherwise damage the pump’s electric motor.

2. Power

Most sump pumps are powered by electricity, and the power cord may be plugged into an outlet that has a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). A plumbing pipe connected to the pump directs water outside to a drainage location—which could be a natural runoff point or the sewer, if local regulations allow it.

Most pumps come with a local alarm that triggers when the water level rises to an unsafe level. This is especially important during severe storms that frequently cause power outages.

Some pumps include a battery backup system that can keep your basement dry even during a power outage. These backups can be expensive, but they are worth the cost if you live in an area where flooding is common. The backups also consume city water, so they can run up your water bill.

3. Maintenance

A sump pump can prevent serious damage from flooding and water leaks, but it’s important to regularly inspect the device to ensure that it continues to function properly. This can help you avoid expensive and potentially dangerous repairs in the future.

Examine the pump discharge pipe on the outside to make sure it isn’t clogged with dirt or grass and that it drains fully. It should also be free of residual water that may freeze in the winter and burst the pipe or obstruct normal flow.

Also, check the pump inlet screen for rust and grime, and clean it with a brush or toothbrush. Finally, test the pump by dumping a bucket of water into it and ensuring that the float switch turns on correctly.

4. Warranty


As homeowners, we rely on our sump pumps for protection from the water damage that could be catastrophic in a moment. When a pump fails, it can result in major problems that may not be covered by home insurance.

Common sump pump errors include continuous cycling, a switch that gets stuck on or off, and a sump pump that’s too small for the task at hand. A pump with a cast iron core lasts longer than pumps with plastic or stainless steel as it dissipates the motor’s heat better.

The best way to ensure your sump pump is properly working is by investing in a home warranty that covers all of your appliances and systems, including sump pumps. For a modest monthly fee, you’ll receive expert repair services for any breakdowns or malfunctions from pre-approved contractors.

5. Cost

A backup sump pump is useful for homes in flood-prone areas or those that frequently experience power outages. A battery-powered backup sump pump works independently of the home’s electrical system and springs to life when the primary sump pump shuts off due to flooding or a power outage.

It uses a tethered float switch to activate the pump, which then pumps water out of the basin. This type of switch can wear out more quickly than a mechanical float or one without a tether.


If you’re buying a home with a sump pump already installed, make sure it’s functioning properly and that the basin is free of debris. If you discover any issues, be sure to have them addressed before closing on the home.