Replacing an old sump pump - Mr. Plumber by Metzler & Hallam

What Types of Sump Pumps Exist?

Sump pumps are found in Indianapolis area homes with basements and crawlspaces, protecting the home from flooding and water damage. There are multiple types of sump pumps available – how do you know which type is the best choice when you need to replace or upgrade your existing unit?

The licensed Indianapolis plumbers of Mr. Plumber explain the different types of sump pumps available for installation in your Central Indiana home. Learn the ins and outs of each system type to determine the best solution for your home’s needs. 

Mr. Plumber is here to assist area homeowners with quality installation of reliable sump pump systems. Don’t leave your home unprotected – contact us today to receive an estimate for sump pump installation.

The Purpose of a Sump Pump

Basement or crawlspace moisture is a problem that affects 60 percent of American homeowners. Excessive rainfall, significant snow melt, and other issues cause groundwater levels to rise and moisture to infiltrate the home’s foundation walls. Moisture in these below ground areas causes damage to items stored within as well as foundation and structural damage to the home. Moisture problems also contribute to the growth of mold and mildew, causing further damage to the home as well as health effects to occupants when exposed.

Homes with foundations that sit below ground level experience infiltration of groundwater, which leaves the home’s underground spaces vulnerable to water damage. To combat this risk, homes built on a basement or crawlspace typically have a sump pump installed to remove the excess water.

At the home’s lowest point sits the sump pit, which is a shallow basin that collects incoming water. The sump pump removes water from the sump pit when levels reach a set point. The sump pump moves water away from the home to prevent flooding of the basement or crawlspace, as well as moisture damage. 

Types of Sump Pumps: Primary Sump Pumps

If your Indianapolis area home is built on a crawlspace or basement, a primary sump pump system is a necessity that protects against flooding and water damage. If your home does not already have a sump pump installed and a sump pit dug, it is possible to retrofit existing homes for installation of a primary sump pump system.

There are two basic types of sump pumps available for use in your home:

  • Pedestal sump pumps
  • Submersible sump pumps

Pedestal Sump Pumps

As their name suggests, pedestal sump pumps have a motor installed atop a pedestal that sits out above the sump pit. On automatic models, a vertical float switch sits down within the sump pit to detect water levels – when water levels reach a set point, the float switch activates the pump to remove water.

  • Because they sit out of the sump pit, these types of sump pumps are better for homes that have small sump pits without the necessary space to accommodate a sump pump within the pit. 
  • These types of sump pumps do require some space for installation, though their design allows for easier access when repairs are needed. 
  • With the motor in these types of sump pumps sitting out of the water, operation is louder when a pedestal sump pump is installed.
  • Without contact with water, the motor of these types of sump pumps typically lasts longer.
  • However, because they are not designed to come into contact with water, the motor is not waterproof and pedestal sump pumps should not be installed in applications where they are likely to get wet or become submerged.
  • These types of sump pumps are typically more economical to purchase and install compared to submersible sump pumps.

Submersible Sump Pumps

Submersible sump pumps sit down within the sump pit, unlike pedestal sump pumps. The unit is waterproof and automatic models also use a float switch to detect water levels and trigger operation when the volume of water in the sump pit becomes too high.

  • Because these types of sump pumps sit down within the sump pit and are submersed, operation is quieter than with a pedestal sump pump model.
  • With their location down in the sump pit, submersible sump pumps do not require available area outside the sump pit for installation, saving space.
  • Their position within the sump pit protects these types of sump pumps from being knocked over or tampered with.
  • Submersible sump pumps are a safer option for homes with small children and ideal for installation in finished basement applications.
  • The submersed motor of a submersible sump pump typically does not offer as long of a service life as that of a pedestal sump pump.
  • Submersible sump pumps are less prone to clogs compared to pedestal models.

Automatic vs. Manual Types of Sump Pumps

When evaluating types of sump pumps for your Central Indiana home, another extremely important consideration is how the sump pump operates – is it manual or automatic? 

  • As mentioned above, automatic types of sump pumps have float switches that rise with the water level in the sump pit – they function like the float in your toilet tank. Once the float reaches a predetermined level, the pump is triggered to turn on and remove water.
  • Manual sump pumps do not have this feature. They must be turned on by the homeowner when pump use is required.

As you can see, a manual sump pump could be problematic. If you are unaware of rising groundwater levels or flooding below your home, you don’t know to turn on the sump pump, opening the door for more damage. Manual sump pumps are typically cheaper to install, but the price difference between these types of sump pumps and automatic models is minimal and not worth the risk to most homeowners.

Types of Sump Pumps: Backup Options

For many Central Indiana homeowners, installation of a backup sump pump is a wise investment that safeguards against water damage should the primary sump pump fail. 

Sump pumps are out of sight and out of mind in most homes, which means homeowners aren’t always aware of malfunctions until it is too late. A backup sump pump turns on if the primary system fails to remove water and hopefully prevent flooding in your basement or crawlspace.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps

Battery backup sump pumps are a common choice for a backup sump pump system. These units operate off battery power, not the home’s electrical supply, meaning they are able to run during a power outage where other types of sump pumps that are hardwired cannot. 

These types of sump pumps use durable marine batteries that power the backup system for various lengths of time, depending on the model and the frequency of pump cycles. They are installed within the same sump pit as the primary unit, with a float switch positioned slightly higher than that of the primary. This way, if the primary pump does not initiate to remove water from the pit, the backup sump pump is able to detect when water levels are too high and start operation.

One nice feature about these types of sump pumps is that many include an alarm, which alerts homeowners when the backup system initiates. This tells you there is an issue that prevents your primary sump pump from working, so you are able to call for sump pump repair. 

Water-Powered Backup Sump Pumps

Another backup option for use when primary sump pumps fail is a water-powered backup sump pump. These types of sump pumps utilize water pressure to pump water from the sump pit, not electricity or battery power. They attach to the home’s water supply line and move water through the pipe at a high rate, which creates suction to empty water from the sump pit.

These types of sump pumps are not valid backup solutions for every home. First of all, their use increases water consumption, which also raises your water bill – for this reason, your municipality may not allow their use. Water-powered backup sump pumps also aren’t a solution for homes on wells, as a power outage shuts off electricity to the well pump, leaving the home without the necessary water supply to operate this backup system. Specific plumbing requirements must be present for a water-powered backup sump pump to optimally work in a home.

Sump Pump Installation from Mr. Plumber

Sump pumps protect homes from expensive water damage and moisture problems, when in good working order. For peace of mind, many Central Indiana homeowners choose a strong primary sump pump as well as a reliable backup unit to decrease the risk of flooding in their basements or crawlspaces.

Having trouble deciding between the types of sump pumps available for use in your Indianapolis area home? That’s what we are here for – turn to Mr. Plumber’s plumbing experts to help you identify the right equipment for your needs and budget. Trust our licensed plumbers to install your new sump pump correctly, so it delivers reliable protection when you need it most.

Request an estimate for sump pump installation today – give us a call.

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