What Factors Should Be Reviewed?
There are eight major factors to consider when comparing sump pumps: mechanism causing the sump pump to operate, material used in construction, operational capability, dimensions, size of discharge, protection against spherical solids or sludge, energy consumption and manufacturer's warranty.
1. Mechanisms Causing the Sump Pump to Operate
What Are the Different Types of Mechanisms?
Sump pumps operate when water triggers the mechanism that activates the pump.
- Tether floats hang freely from the side of the pump. As the water raises so does the float which triggers a switch that activates the pump. When the water level drops the float lowers to the side of the pump.
- Vertical floats have a ball that moves up and down on a vertical rod. As the water surrounding the pump raises, the float also raises and triggers the switch and hence activates the pump. When the water level lowers the ball lowers.
- A diaphragm is a membrane, located on the side of the pump, which is sensitive to water pressure. As the water level raises, the water pressure increases and the diaphragm becomes concave, activating the switch to the sump pump. When the water level drops, the switch turns off.
- A probe is sensitive to water pressure and the pump is activated electronically.
- The tether float gets obstructed from movement easier; the switches require more frequent replacement, however, the pump is cheaper.
- The vertical float is protected against obstruction of movement; the switch requires more frequent replacement than a diaphragm or probe but less than the tether float. Some brands offer the ability to change the sump pump fom the pit.
- A diaphragm and probe are very dependable and require less service.
What Are the Different Materials Used?
- Thermoplastic: Outer casing is made of a hard, durable plastic.
- Cast iron and stainless steel cast iron and cast aluminum: The outer casing and bolts are made of metal.
- Plastic weighs less and is cheaper.
- Cast iron, stainless steel and cast aluminum last a lifetime, weigh more and are constructed to handle heavy duty usage. This material is more expensive.
What Are the Volumes at Which Pumps Can Discharge Water?
- Generally the Higher Power (HP) is the volume of water that can be moved by minute (or hourly) at a specific height.
- HP ranges from ¼, 1/3, 4/10, ½, and ¾.
- High horse powered pumps keep up with heavy flow or water into the pit.
- Low horse powered pumps use less electricity.
- Each sump pump has unique measurements.
- A sump pit with an 18 "diameter basin or larger provides the greatest flexibility in selecting a sump pump.
- A tether float requires a larger diameter-based pit than a vertical float or diaphragm pump.
What Are the Different Sizes?
- Some are garden hose or 1 ¼ inches in diameter.
- The standard size is 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- The smaller the discharge port diameter the smaller HP the pump should be.
- A size or 1 ½ inches is required to handle heavy volumes or water.
- Most pump cages are built with a bottom that concaves causing particles to run off.
- The capacity to handle spherical solids varies by pump: ¼ inch to ½ inch.
- Some sump pumps are registered as energy efficient.
- Other manufactures are redesigning their pumps to be more energy efficient.
What Manufacturer's Warranties Exist?
- No warranty
- One to five years
- Lifetime limited
- Full lifetime
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