Sump Pump Side View
What is a sump pump? A sump pump is a mechanical device that runs on electricity supplied by your homes electrical system. A basic explanation of the pump would be that it consists of an electrical motor, most always 110 volts for home use, a switch device to turn the pump on and off and an impeller to “lift” or pump the water out. The pump is installed in a “basin” or pit usually in a crawlspace or basement. “Drain tile” or drainage piping is installed around the perimeter of your basement or crawlspace at the level of the footing below the concrete slab in you basement, or just below the gravel in your crawlspace to convey the water that percolates down along your homes walls during rains, or ground water if the water table is high enough, to the basin. From there the sump pump lifts it up out of the basement or crawlspace and send it out to ground level or if your town has a storm water sewer system off to a connection to that system.
There are many manufacturers of sump pumps today, many still made in the “OLE” U.S. of A. There are pumps that are made in China, as
Sump Pump Fail!
most thing are in our country, but they are not worth the ink that it cost to print the label.
The best sump pumps made today all have cast iron or stainless steel bodies. Anything made of plastic is in the garbage category as many companies have tried without success to find a plastic compound that will withstand the rigors of repeated usage. Save yourself the time and money and skip the “Cheap” models, they just do not hold up to the test of time and usage. There are several large names in the sump pump industry, Zoeller pump, Metroplitan pump, Barnes Pump, Stevens Pump and a few others that are long time companies in the industry. Stick with one of these as they stand behind their warranties with few exceptions.
Tried & True Zoeller
So you may ask, “What is the best sump pump?” well that is determined by how it is made. Better than 80% of all sump pumps made fail due to the mechanical switch that turns the pump on and off. The motor is working just fine, but the switch is worn out. The number of times the switch turns on and off is called the “Switch cycle life” The longer the switch cycle life, the longer the pump will run . Many manufacturers tout long switch life cycles but few really deliver. Zoeller Company has used a tried and true “trigger” type switch on their pumps for more years than I can remember. It consists of a plastic float that rides on a guide through the center of the float. The float rises when the water lever rises and causes the float to hit the top of the guide rod where it the triggers the float arm actuating the mechanical portion of the switch inside the pump. Zoeller has used this switch for many years with great success until they got to tinkering with internal rods and actuators trying to make them cheaper I guess. The last time I witnessed their “tinkering” was in the mid 80”s and it resulted in a switch failure rate somewhere in the 80% range. Their motors are oil cooled, meaning the motor is enclosed in a waterproof cast iron housing and is filled with oil to dissipate the heat that the motor generates while running.
All and all Zoeller makes a pretty darn good pump!
Metropolitan Storm Pro
Metropolitan Industries is a large industrial pump manufacturer that brings their experience in large volume
The Solid State Switch
pumping to the home environment. They offer many different levels of pump horsepower and many levels of warranty. Some of their higher end pumps are made with stainless steel motor housings to combat groundwater that is high in iron content. They have designed and patented an electronic actuator switch to turn the pump on and off thus eliminating the main failure component in any sump pump. With the advent of the electronic switch, we are now seeing real world one million switch life cycles from their pumps delivering a great value for the investment.
Remember…. The only time your sump pump is going to fail is when you need it most! It sits patiently in the basin, many times not running for months before it is needed. It works hardest and will fail only when it is working it’s hardest…during the constant on/off cycling during heavy rains or spring thaws.
Check your sump pump at least once a month. Take a yard stick or coat hanger and lift the float up and down and see if it is in operating condition. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
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