The Best Sump Pump Systems For Your Home

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

A Hyattsville sump pump system that failed and lead to a basement flood.

Improper sump pump installations can lead to moisture, odors, and noise coming from the sump pit. By selecting a sump pump that is reliable, quiet, long-lasting, and strong enough to keep your basement dry, you can be sure that your space is best protected from groundwater seepage.

With so many basements flooding these days, many different models of sump pump systems have been designed to handle this. The most common of these sump pumps are pedestal sump pumps, submersible pumps, water-powered sump pumps, and "floor-sucker" models.

Basement Systems' Research & Development department has carefully researched each sump pump model available on the market to determine which model we're willing to stand by when we waterproof your basement.

Below, we've provided a review of all four major sump pump designs, including the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Read on to see how we select our system, and which one is right for you.

Contact us today for your sump pump system installation! We serve Baltimore, Frederick, Gaithersburg and many surrounding areas, including Hagerstown, Bowie, Rockville, Annapolis, Salisbury, Cumberland, College Park and nearby.

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Pedestal Sump Pump Systems

Pedestal sump pump system installed in a home in Hyattsville

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.

(Click each item below for more information.)

Lifespan Sump Pump Review Rating 2 Stars
Reliability One Star Reliability Review
Capacity Three star sump pump capacity review
Noise Noisy one star rating for sump pump system
Lifetime Cost Three star lifetime cost review for sump pump system

Pump Advantages

Pump Disadvantages

Submersible Sump Pump Systems

Hyattsville installation of a submersible sump pump system

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.

(Click each item below for more information.)

Lifespan Five star rating for a long sump pump lifespan
Reliability Reliable sump pump 5 star rating
Capacity high capacity sump pump 5 star rating
Noise quiet sump pump with low noise rating of four stars
Lifetime Cost Lifetime Cost for Sump Pump System of four stars

Pump Advantages

Pump Disadvantages

Water-Powered Sump Pumps

Diagram of a water-powered basement sump pump system

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.

(Click each item below for more information.)

Lifespan long-life sump pump with four star rating
Reliability poor reliability sump pump with two star rating
Capacity low capacity sump pump with one star rating
Noise quiet sump pump model with four star rating
Lifetime Cost Low cost sump pump with four star rating

Pump Advantages

Pump Disadvantages

"Floor Sucker" Sump Pump Systems

floor sucker sump pump used for dry basements in Hyattsville

"Floor Sucker" Sump Pumps will only switch on after the basement has already flooded. They're often used by contractors and many homeowners as an emergency pump to suck the water off of the floor before installing a better waterproofing system.

(Click each item below for more information.)

Lifespan often failing sump pump with two star rating
Reliability unreliable sump pump model with one star rating
Capacity low capacity sump pump with one star rating
Noise loud sump pump with one star rating
Lifetime Cost Lifetime cost for a sump pump system with two stars

Pump Advantages

Pump Disadvantages

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Pedestal Pump Lifespan

Pedestal sump pumps are often mass-produced designs with a double engine casing around the engine that retains more heat than single casings.

This -- combined with the fact that pedestal pumps cannot be immersed in cooling water -- tends to make the engines overheat and break down prematurely.

Pedestal Pump Reliability

Pedestal sump pumps are raised high out of the water, and they generate a great deal of vibration when they're running.

These vibrations cause the sump pump to "wander" in the pit. If the pump drifts too close to the edges, the switch that turns the pump on and off may be jammed in an ON or OFF position, leading to problems. Additionally, the long line between the switch and pump clogs easily.

Pedestal Pump Capacity

Pedestal sump pumps tend to be less-expensive sump pumps that have been mass produced. Often, they are made out of plastic instead of cast-iron.

While much higher in capacity than other models, these low-end pumps are not always strong enough to keep up with the water flowing into the sump pit.

Pedestal Sump Pump Noise

Because a pedestal sump pump cannot be submerged in the water, they cannot be installed within the sump pump liner.

Because of this, they must run while suspended in the air in your basement. They're excessively loud, and the open sump pit below them will collect debris, while allowing odors and humidity into your basement.

Pedestal Pump Lifetime Cost

Pedestal sump pumps are more expensive than water-powered sump pumps and "floor sucker" models, but generally less expensive than submersible sump pumps.

However, because they break down so chronically, you can expect a submersible sump pump, and even a water-powered sump pump, to far outlast a pedestal pump. This makes them a poorer value for your money.

Submersible Sump Pump Lifespan

Submersible sump pumps come in a very wide range of quality and designs. However, submersible models are generally of a higher quality when compared to other models of sump pump,. They naturally disperse heat from the pump into the water around them.

For the longest life, find a submersible sump with a cast-iron center and an appropriately sized liner.

Submersible Pump Reliability

Submersible sump pumps often outlive several generations of pedestal sump pumps. When properly maintained, they can last for many years without failure.

A reliable submersible pump should have no screen on the intake and should include a plastic liner with a stand that keeps it off the bottom, where any debris will settle.

Submersible Pump Capacity

Submersible sump pumps are generally far more heavy-duty and higher-capacity than comparable other sump pump designs.

It's important to note that while submersible pumps are more powerful, the sump pump should be appropriately powerful for the job. If it's too powerful, it will turn on and off repeatedly. If it's not powerful enough, your basement will flood.

Submersible Sump Pump Noise

All sump pumps make at least a little noise, but submersible pumps are the quietest pumps available.

The quietest submersible sump pumps include a liner with an airtight lid, as well as rubber grommets around pipe and wire entrances. The discharge lines should also be large and straight, so that the sump pump isn't trying to noisily force water through narrow pipes.

Submersible Pump Lifetime Cost

The price tag for a single submersible sump pump is higher than other models on the market.

However, a good argument can be made for the quality and long life of submersible pumps. A submersible pump will outlast all other designs, bringing you the best value for your investment.

Water-Powered Sump Pump Lifespan

Water-powered sump pumps are a long-lasting sump pump model that outlasts pedestal pumps and "floor sucker" models by a large margin.

When used as a backup system for a submersible sump pump, water-powered sump pumps can be an appropriate part of a basement waterproofing system.

Water-Powered Pump Reliability

While water-powered pumps can last for a very long time, they are one of the less-reliable options for basement waterproofing.

Water-powered sump pumps rely on your home's water pressure to maintain proper operation. If your home has low water pressure, then your pump may not operate at full strength, resulting in a wet basement.

Water-Powered Sump Capacity

Water-powered sump pumps are, unfortunately, among the lowest-capacity sump systems on the market.

Water-powered pumps depend on your home's water pressure to run. They discharge 3-5 gallons of usable water from your plumbing for every gallon of groundwater pumped out of your house, and during heavy flooding, they are often overwhelmed, resulting in a flood.

Water-Powered Sump Noise

Water-powered sump pumps are among the quietest sump pumps on the market- especially when compared to noisy "floor-suckers" and pedestal sump pumps.

To ensure the maximum noise reduction, make sure the discharge and intake lines are large enough for the water being pumped through. An airtight lid should also be installed around the intake line on the sump pump lid.

Water-Powered Sump Pump System Lifetime Cost

A water-powered sump pump system is longer-lasting than "floor sucker" pumps as well as pedestal sump pumps and shorter-lived than submersible pumps.

At a lower cost, they are a better value than many sump pump models. They use no electricity -- however, they do use 3-5 gallons of water for each gallon of groundwater discharged.

"Floor Sucker" Pump Lifespan

A "floor sucker" sump pump can last for several years, but only because they only run when your basement is flooding at its worst.

A floor sucker cannot compete with a normal pump system when it comes to actual hours of operation, and they should not be counted on to last during heavy volumes, when they're needed most.

"Floor Sucker" Pump Reliability

A floor sucker sump pump will only turn on when the basement floods, making them the least reliable way to keep your basement dry of all models.

Even when a "floor sucker" is on and operating, it will not remove all water in your basement. A 1/8" layer of water, at least, will always remain after the pump completes its operation.

"Floor Sucker" Capacity

"Floor Suckers" are not known to be powerful, high-capacity sump pump systems.

During significant floods and heavy rains, these pumps are likely to be overwhelmed by flooding water, which will rise faster than these pumps can remove it.

"Floor Sucker" Noise

"Floor Suckers" are the noisiest sump pumps of them all -- even louder than pedestal pumps.

These pumps operate directly on your basement floor, discharging through a common garden hose. The literally suck the water from the floor, creating noise from the motor, suction, and through the discharge line (garden hose).

"Floor Sucker" Lifetime Cost

"Floor Suckers" the least expensive sump pumps on the market. They install with no need to create a sump pit or drainage channel, making them fast and inexpensive to install.

However, if you're paying to keep your basement dry, you've come to the wrong place. These are notoriously low-end pumps that can't keep up with heavy rains, and they will never last long.

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