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How to avoid clogging and ensure proper drainage for your sump pump


Considering the fact that sump pumps are the easiest to replace and/or repair, many users focus solely on the pump itself. While it cannot be denied that the sump pump has a substantial role to play, its efficiency depends directly on the ability of the sump to collect water and the pipes to remove it once the pump has pushed it upwards. In other words, the pump’s efficacy is a direct function of the efficiency with which water is drained into and out of the sump. Below we offer some tips for proper sump pump drainage that should enable you to maximize the pumping potential and hence the benefits of the sump pump regardless of the downpour occurring outside.

Sump Position and Diameter

Basement floors might contain holes for a number of reasons but many believe that the holes are present solely to act as a sump hole. Real sump holes, however, have a few distinguishing characteristics:

  1. Located at the lowest part of the basement
  2. Located in a corner, usually near one of the foundation pillars but not directly in contact with it.
  3. Is roughly cylindrical in shape.
  4. Does not have any materials located inside it.drainage for your sump pump

If the hole you’ve found in your basement does not fit into the above criteria, it is most likely not a sump hole and should not be used as one. You should instead drill one keeping the above points in mind. This would ensure that the water entering the sub-stratum of the basement flows naturally in the direction of the sump and percolates into it.

Speaking of percolation, it is important to ensure that the water does not rise above a certain level under ordinary circumstances. This level should generally be such that at least 1/4th of the sump remains dry. While there is no hard and fast rule for deciding what diameter should be chosen to ensure this, many areas have plumbing rules that are geared to this requirement. Further, inquiring about sump pump metrics from neighbors might provide a good idea about the ideal size of the sump.

Positioning of Pipes

Most pumps require a number of pipes to remove the water from the basement. One of the tips for proper sump pump drainage is to ensure that the pipes rise to moderate heights but then turn at right angles. Ideally, the maximum height of the pipes should not be more than 3/4th of the maximum head supported by the unit. If this rule is followed, the pump would have some surplus capacity left for handling heavy water flow and thus the risk of motor burnout would be substantially reduced.

Pipe connectors, on the other hand, must always be of the L or T-type as these help ensure that the pipes “turn” at right angles. Such turns reduce chances of backflow and valve failure leading to motor failure due excess workload. Of course, just because the pipes turn at right angles, they don’t have to remain parallel to the basement floor/ceiling. In fact, a slight downward slope might be useful for discharging water when the amount is not very high.

Drainage Outside the House

As we mentioned while discussing basement waterproofing techniques, it is vital that excess water does not collect around the building’s foundations. To ensure that sump water does not flow back to the foundations and thus undo much of the hard work put into waterproofing, it is important to ensure that the water drains at a sufficient distance from the house.

For most houses having no gradient around them, drainage at a distance of 10-20 feet should be sufficient to prevent backflow. If the house sits in a depression though, the distance should be increased to 30 feet or a safe distance from the edge of the depression, whichever is greater. If you find that your property’s dimensions do not allow for drainage at such distance, you should construct a special drain that ensures that water disposed of by the drainage pipe does not flow back towards your foundations.

What should the water drain into?

While some folks are content to allow the water to flow along the ground once it has been removed from the vicinity of the house, many plumbers decry this practice as harmful to the overall water table of the region. Further, such water tends to flow into local depressions and create swampy conditions.

The good news is that there are a number of alternatives. Let us look at the pros and cons of each:

  1. Flood drains:These drains are meant to remove large quantities of water from ordinary drains. They would typically drain into reservoirs, lakes or rivers, thus removing the water from the locality entirely. If your local laws permit, draining into the flood drains is your best option.
  2. Septic Tanks:If your area does not suffer from excess rain, you might consider draining the sump water into the septic tank. Note however that if there are signs of moisture around the tank, it is likely that the tank is already handling a lot of water (from rain or from other sources) and overburdening it would definitely not count among the tips for proper sump pump drainage.
  3. Sewer System:Unlike flood drains, sewer systems are not meant to handle a large amount of sump water. As such, draining into them is not recommended unless you have express municipal permission.
  4. Neighborhood lots:Some localities and cooperative housing socieities designate a certain plot for disposing their sump water. Such disposal is carried out with the express approval of the plot owner and the cooperative’s management. If your locality has such a provision, you might inquire as to whether you can avail of this service as well.

If your locality does not have such a system, you might discuss without your neighbors whether one of them would be willing to collect and dispose of your sump water in return for some benefits or payment. You should not, under any circumstances whatsoever, drain water into a neighbor’s lot without his/her permission.


While the above procedures may appear somewhat complex, you should keep in mind that they are one-time adjustments that you shouldn’t need to revisit unless there is an incidence of damage to the pipes or change in local laws. Of course, to ensure maximum dividends from such adjustments, you would need to carry out frequent cleaning of the sump pump and associated maintenance procedures. Combined together correctly, good maintenance and diligent following of the tips for proper sump pump drainage should be enough to ensure that the basement and foundations remain dry and thus, do not end up demanding far costlier repairs in the long run.

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Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump Reviews


While reed and float switches have established themselves as highly sensitive and therefore reliable, diaphragm switches are a new phenomenon which is beginning to challenge the hegemony of the older reed and float switches. Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump draws on this new technology, and combines it with state of the art building materials and a plethora of attractive features to offer a product that appears well rounded on paper.

However, users of older brands like Zoeller or Wayne might well question the ability of a comparatively new brand like Little Giant, and a new technology like the diaphragm switch. Therefore, it is imperative to analyze this product in detail to decide whether it truly belongs to the ranks of the best sump pumps available in the market today.

Little Giant 6-CIA

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  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Product Weight: 13 pounds
  • Type: Submersible Sump Pump
  • Decent 17’ maximum head
  • Motor: 1/3 HP, 115V, 50/60Hz
  • Power: 45 gallons per minute/ 2700 gallons per hour
  • Warranty: 1 year


The Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump comes with a limited one year warranty, which is slightly lower than what some of the competitors offer.


  • Small and compact architecture
  • High quality epoxy coated cold rolled steel motor housing
  • Motor housing has polycarbonate cover for easy servicing at home
  • Cast iron impeller for durable and efficient functionality
  • Motor housing is filled with oil for lifelong lubrication of the motor
  • Decently powerful 1/3HP motor with 2700 gallons per hour capacity at 0’ head
  • Decent 17’ maximum head for wide adaptability
  • Durable and wide handle
  • High precision diaphragm switch


  • Power cord could have been longer
  • Warranty is lower than that of some competitors
  • Diaphragm switch difficult to test without actual sump conditions

 Build Quality and Design

At first sight, the Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump appears to be significantly smaller than the average sump pump. The reason for its compactness is that the height required for the float switch to operate is eliminated courtesy of the much smaller diaphragm switch, which sits alongside the motor housing. 

This also eliminates the risk of an air pocket developing between the float and discharge, and thereby allows the discharge to be flatter and smaller. Finally, the sump pump has been provided with a set of short legs that serve to raise the product slightly for unimpeded impeller movement.

Thankfully, this compact body is made of extremely high quality materials. The motor housing is made of cold rolled steel, which has been proved to be as effective as cast iron in defending the delicate internal components of the pump from the pressure of the water in the sump. Further, the housing comes with a layer of epoxy paint which guarantees immunity against corrosion.

The housing is connected to other vital parts using premium stainless steel screws, while the base is made of tough polypropylene. Together, they ensure that the sump pump retains its integrity and stability even under extreme water pressure and/or rapid movement of debris in the sump.

Major External Parts (Discharge, Power Cord and Handle)

As mentioned above, the Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump does not require a tall and bulky discharge, and therefore, we find Little Giant including a short 1-1/2” NPT dischargewhich ensures that while most standard PVC pipes can connect without difficulty, the discharge is never responsible for adding bulk or weight to the pump structure.

The power cord is fully sealedand therefore capable of being submerged without difficulty. Indeed, Little Giant has connected it directly to the switch assemblywhich helps reduce the size of the sump pump further. However, a few users complained that the 10’ power cord was surprisingly not capable of reaching distant outlets since the short size of the product and the curved design at the intersection of cord and pump ensured that a substantial portion of the cord was wasted in the pump itself, leaving insufficient amount of cord for connection to power outlets at the other end of the basement.

As our best sump pump reviews have shown, though the handle isn’t the most vital of pump components, having a large handle can make lifting and lowering the pump a much easier task. Thankfully, the product offers a durable stainless steel handle that stretches across the top diameter of the motor housing, making it ideal for being used as a means of raising and lowering the pump.

Motor and Sealing

The Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump comes with a 1/3HP motor which is the standard for this price range. More vitally, it is capable of pumping out 45 gallons per minute, or 2700 gallons per hour, which is marvelous considering the size of this sump pump. The secret behind this excellent output may lie in the fact that the motor housing is oil filled and therefore, ensures lifelong lubrication for the motor contained within.

Further sweetening the deal is the fact that the pump has a maximum head of 17’, which is decent in any price bracket. Lastly, unlike a number of other sump pumps, the motor is user serviceable (within limits of course), by means of a removable but sturdy polycarbonate top cover, attached to the motor housing by means of stainless steel joints.

Like all good sump pumps, the motor of the product is hermetically sealed using a hybrid seal with carbon and ceramic faces. This ensures that there is no possibility of leakage of the oil into the sump, or water into the pump.

Impeller and Switch

The product, like the Wayne ESP25 Battery Back Up Sump Pumpoffers a specially designed cast iron impeller that carries out the dual functions of effectively channeling water and protecting itself and the base of the pump from large/sharp pieces of debris that may be floating around in the sump.

The switch, as we mentioned in the introduction, is a diaphragm switch. As water rises, it exerts pressure on the diaphragm. When the water exerts pressure above a certain point, the diaphragm activates the switch and through it, the motor.

Given its high precision sensors, the diaphragm switch on the Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump offers extremely accurate responses to changes in water level, while the durable plastic construction ensures that even under very high pressure, the diaphragm does not break. However, some users complained that the diaphragm switch was difficult to test with the hand, unlike float switches, which can simply be raised to initiate a dry run.

Customer Reviews

A number of customers were skeptical about the new diaphragm switch system, but after using the product they became convinced that Little Giant has done a great job in providing a well designed, responsive and highly versatile product at an affordable price. The well oiled motor and the powerful impeller attracted especial praise, though many also mentioned the utility of the pump handle.

A few users complained of low warranty, though they admitted that they had no reason to avail this warranty or take the product to the service centre even after the warranty expired, since the product continued to offer sterling performance for years. Finally, few people associated with plumbing sales companies complained that the diaphragm switch could not be demonstrated to users, though actual users never had this issue since the switch worked fine in the sump.


The Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump may be using comparatively newer technology, but the attention Little Giant has given to the product ensures that it comes off as one of the best products in any price range. Combining the high quality materials that are the hallmark of its competitors with an innovative technology and still managing to maintain a compact form factor is no mean achievement.

Indeed, this more than compensates for the few shortcomings (such as warranty and power cord length) that have been reported. All in all, this product is a great choice for anyone who is seeking a small but powerful and highly efficient sump pump in the $100-150 price bracket.

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Sump Pumps Comparison Table

  • Zoeller M53 Mighty-Mate 1/3 HP Submersible Sump Pump
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/3 HP
  • Voltage:- 115 Volts
  • Warranty:- 1 Year
  • Liberty Pumps 257 Effluent Pump with VMF Switch
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/3 HP
  • Material:- Cast Iron
  • Warranty:- 3 Years
  • WAYNE CDU980E Submersible Cast Iron Sump Pump
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 3/4 HP
  • Voltage:- 100 Volts
  • Warranty:- 5 Years
  • WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled Sump Pump
  • Type:- Primary and Battery Backup Combination
  • HP:- 1/2 HP
  • Voltage:- 120 Volts
  • Warranty:- 5 Years
  • Zoeller M63 PREMIUM SERIES
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/3 HP
  • Voltage:- 115 Volts
  • Warranty:- 5 Years
  • WAYNE CDU800
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/2 HP
  • GPH:- 4200 GPH
  • Warranty:- 3 Year
  • Superior Pump 91250
  • Type: Utility
  • HP:- 1/4 HP
  • GPH:- 1800 GPH
  • Warranty:- 1 Year
  • Wayne Water Systems VIP50
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/2 HP
  • GPH:- 2500 GPH
  • Warranty:- 1 Year
  • WAYNE CDU790
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/3 HP
  • GPH:- 3800 GPH
  • Warranty:- 3 Years
  • Zoeller 57-0001 M57
  • Type: Submersible
  • HP:- 1/3 HP
  • GPH:- 2700 GPH
  • Warranty:- 1 Years


  • WAYNE ESP25 12 Volt Battery Back-Up Sump Pump System with Audible Alarm
  • Type:- Battery Backup
  • HP:- 1 HP
  • Warranty:- 1 Year
  • Zoeller 507-0005 Basement Sentry Battery Backup Pump
  • Type:- Battery Backup
  • Voltage : 12 Volts
  • Warranty:- 1 Year
  • WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled 120/12V 1/2 HP Primary and Battery Backup Combination Sump Pump System
  • Type:- Battery Backup
  • HP:- 1/2 HP
  • Warranty: 5 Years
  • Liberty Pumps SJ10 1-1/2-Inch Discharge SumpJet Water Powered Back-Up Pump
  • Type:- Water Powered
  • Accepts 20PSI up to 100PSI inlet supply pressure
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Zoeller 507-0008 Pre-assembled Sump Pump with Battery Backup and M53 Pump
  • Type:- Battery Backup
  • HP:- 1/3HP
  • Warranty: 5 Years


  • Liberty Pumps 287 280-Series Automatic Submersible Sump Pump with VMF Switch
  • Item Weight : 29 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 10 x 10 x 13 inches
  • Switch Type : Integral Verticle Float
  • Customer Reviews : 71+
  • Simer 2305-04 Geyser II 1/4 HP Submersible Utility Pump
  • Item Weight : 8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 7.5 x 12.8 inches
  • Material : Plastic
  • Customer Reviews : 193+
  • Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump
  • Item Weight : 13 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 10.3 x 10.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Size : 2760 GPH
  • Customer Reviews : 93+
  • Wayne VIP50 1/2 HP Thermoplastic Portable Electric Water Removal Pump
  • Item Weight : 7.6 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Horsepower : 1 HP
  • Customer Reviews : 415+
  • Superior Pump 92330 1/3 HP Thermoplastic Sump Pump with Tethered Float Switch
  • Item Weight : 9.1 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 7 x 7 x 13 inches
  • Voltage : 100 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 196+


  • In/Outdoor High Water Alarm w/ Pilot Light and Horn for Septic / Sump / Pond & Other Applications
  • Item Weight : 2.1 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 3 x 3.5 x 3 inches
  • Voltage : 120 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 19+
  • Glentronics, Inc. BWD-HWA Basement Watchdog Water Sensor and Alarm
  • Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
  • Product Dimensions : 1.2 x 3.2 x 4.2 inches
  • Power Source : Battery Powered
  • Customer Reviews : 752+
  • Basement Watchdog BWC1 Basement Watchdog Dual Float Sump Pump Switch with Controller
  • Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 12 x 9 x 4 inches
  • Color : Blue and Black
  • Customer Reviews : 234+
  • Zoeller 10-1494 A-Pak Indoor Alarm System
  • Item Weight : 2.8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 7.5 x 4.5 inches
  • Power Source : battery-powered
  • Customer Reviews : 15+
  • Control Products FreezeAlarm Homesitter Temperature, Water, Power Alarm HS-700
  • Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 2.5 x 8 x 11 inches
  • Wattage : 9 Watts
  • Customer Reviews : 175+


  • Flotec FPPM3600D-01/09 1/3 HP Pedestal Sump Pump
  • Item Weight : 11.3 Pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 33 x 6 inches
  • Voltage : 100 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 66+
  • Wayne SPV500 1/3 HP 3,100 GPH Pedestal Sump Pump, Cast Iron
  • Item Weight : 21.8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 8 x 8 x 34 inches
  • Voltage : 100 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 23+
  • Superior Pump 92301 1/3 HP Cast Iron Pedestal Pump
  • Item Weight : 25 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 8.5 x 8.5 x 36 inches
  • Voltage : 100 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 20+
  • Zoeller 84-0001 Old Faithful 84 Pedestal Pump, 1/2 HP, 115V
  • Item Weight: 23.3 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 9.5 x 9.5 x 32.5 inches
  • Voltage : 115 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 3+
  • Do it Pedestal Sump Pump
  • Item Weight : 28 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 9 x 6.5 x 34.3 inches
  • Voltage : 100 Volts
  • Customer Reviews : 16+

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How To Avoid a Frozen Sump Pump in Winter


Folks living in the colder climes often find that carrying out the sump pump testing procedure produces some movement in the sump water but no discharge from the pipe. While it is possible that there may be debris inside the pump that is causing the blockage or the sump pump itself has frozen, most such cases occur because the water in the discharge pipe has frozen and thus blocked the exit. While minor blockages can be mildly annoying, complete blockages are dangerous.

Firstly, such blockages force the pump to run continuously without removing any water and can thus cause pump burnout. Further, as water collects in the sump, the pump may overflow and flood the basement. To ensure your basement and pump don’t fall prey to frozen pipes and the pump itself doesn’t freeze, we’ve provided a short guide for learning how to avoid a frozen sump pump.

frozen sump pump

  • Make Use of the Gradient

Freezing occurs mostly in the section of the pipe that sits outside the house and is thus exposed to the elements. While such exposure is inevitable, its effects on the water inside the discharge pipe are magnified if the water is not allowed to exit the pipe easily. This happens when the pipe’s angle does not match that of the slope of the ground.

If you are learning how to use a sump pump, you can simply attach the pipe in a manner that obeys the gradient of the ground around your house. If you have already installed the pipe, you may need to disconnect the pipe and then choose one that is capable of following the slope correctly.

  • Use a wide/large pipe

When you disconnect the old pipe, you may consider using a large/wide pipe ie one with greater internal diameter, as the replacement. Ideally, this enhanced diameter should be much higher than that needed to remove even the highest amount of water during the monsoon. If you’re wondering how a large pipe is linked to learning how to avoid a frozen pipe, let us add that a large pipe is never likely to be full of water.

As such, even if the water is not drained out at any point of time and freezes due to the cold weather, it would not create a complete blockage. Further, because water tends to flow out of any possible opening, the very fact that the pipe never completely fills up with water at any point acts as a means of ensuring that any water that is left over flows out of the pipe over time instead of freezing inside the pipe itself.

frozen sump pump

  • Keep Workload Low

While it may not be possible to reduce the sump pump’s workload in emergency situations, it is possible to take precautions beforehand that ensure that in cases of freezing inside the discharge pipe, the pump does not have to work itself to exhaustion. This is all the more important because when the pipe is partially blocked, pumping out the same amount of water requires greater effort and this can put undue pressure on the pipe even when the water in the sump appears to be well within operating limits.

  • Some of the means of reducing pump workload are:

Carry out regular sump pump maintenance to ensure collection of debris does not reduce the efficiency of the motor.

Consider using a backup sump pump in addition to the primary one.

Keep the maximum head (height to which water is raised) low so that the pump can remove water faster and with less effort.

  • Heat the Sump Water

In case of freezing in the pipe or in the sump itself, it is advisable to use a heating rod to heat the sump water to a lukewarm temperature.

  • To do so:


  • Disconnect the sump pump power supply.
  • Remove the sump cover and note whether the sump water’s surface has completely frozen over. In case it has, use an ice pick to break the ice.
  • Ensure that the sump pump has proper electrical insulation and grounding. If either is absent, follow the alternative steps outlined after this set of steps.
  • Lower the heating coil/rod into the water. Ensure that it doesn’t rest against either the sump boundary or any sump pump component. Ideally you should hold the coil in place.
  • Connect the coil’s power supply and start it. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water in the sump.
  • When the water temperature has risen by about 20-30 degrees Celsius, stop the coil and remove it
  • Reconnect the sump pump power supply and wait for a while. The hot water would melt the ice in the sump and the pipe and this in turn would make water flow normal, at least for the time being. If your pump is not properly insulated, DO NOT lower the coil into the water.
  • Instead: Heat water in a bucket using the coil.
  • While the water heats, break any ice that may be lying on the top of the water in the sump.
  • Once heating is complete, unplug and remove the coil.
  • Pour the hot water from the bucket gently into the pump until about 1/4th of the sump remains above the water level.
  • Start the sump pump and wait for the hot water to melt the ice.
  • Once the sump pump has removed some of the water, pour out some more hot water. You may reheat the water still in the bucket if it has become cold.

  • Important notes:

Avoid pouring water too fast. If too much hot water interacts with cold water, excess steam may be produced. While not harmful, such steam may reduce visibility and force you to stop the process.

There is no need to empty the bucket into the sump. Once you feel the pump is able to remove water at a normal pace, it is time to stop the process.

Sump pumps are not designed for working with extremely hot water. Heating water too much might ruin the internal components of the sump pump.

Do not touch the water with your hand while the coil is in the sump. In fact, you should wear rubber gloves while lowering the thermometer or use a non-conducting stick to check the temperature. If you don’t adhere to these requirements, you may get a nasty electrical shock!

  • Freezing of Internal Sump Pump Components

Freezing of the sump pump itself is extremely rare since the oil inside the motor chamber is insulated from changes in outside temperature and freezing in the discharge or impeller can be removed using the above method. If you do suspect freezing of the core components of the pump or wish to learn how to avoid a frozen sump pump, you can:

Remove the pump from the sump after disconnecting the power supply.

Check for frozen water inside the impeller or discharge. Use an ice pick or similar instrument to remove such ice or frozen debris. If nothing is frozen, you can check for blockages that might freeze over during the winter.

Move the float gently to ensure that there is no jamming due to freezing. If it does not move easily, remove ice or debris from the shaft and/or the float itself till movement becomes normal.

Note whether the insulation of the motor compartment has been damaged anywhere. Such damage may have led or in the future may lead to the motor lubricant oil or coating oil freezing over.

Leave the sump pump in a warm area for some time. You can also leave it near a heat source that does not involve flames. Even if there is no actual freezing, this step would help melt any blockages within the pump that might freeze later .Replace the pump in the sump and check whether the pump is working normally.

Note: Never try to heat the pump or any of its components directly as this may lead to the motor exploding or the lubricating oil catching fire.


Freezing is not included among the most common sump pump issues and solutions because it affects only those in particular climatic situations and that too, not very often. However, if you do find your sump pump or any of its components frozen, it is advisable carry out the above procedures and so ensure that as and when the rains come, your pump is ready to handle them. On the other hand, if you believe the pump can freeze sometime in the future and would like to learn how to avoid a frozen sump pump, you should assess the possible threats to your pump and discharge pipe during the autumn or early winter so as to give yourself adequate time to carry out the necessary procedures.

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Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump

When the company is Zoeller, buying a sump pump can be extremely hard, primarily because of the unbeatable quality and value for money that Zoeller ensures is characteristic of each and every one of its products. The Zoeller M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump is no exception to this, offering an excellent mix of features and quality build at an unbeatable price. However, it is also true that each of Zoeller’s products is unique in its own way, and a mere glance through the specifications does not fully bring out the specialties. Therefore, it will be necessary to study the unique features of this product with the help of a detailed review.

Zoeller M53 Mighty-Mate Submersible Sump Pump Reviews


  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8 x 10.3 inches
  • Product Weight: 27.1 pounds
  • Type: Submersible Sump
  • Pump Discharge: 1 ½ inches
  • NPT Motor: 0.3 HP, 115 volts
  • Power: 2580 GPH at 5′, 2040 GPH at 10′, 1140 GPH at 15′ head
  • Maximum Speed: 3450 RPM
  • Warranty: 1 year


The Zoeller 57-0001 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor which requires the user to take the product (or ship it via courier) to the nearest service center for removal of defects.


  • Almost entire pump made of high quality cast iron, no sheet iron used
  • Epoxy coating ensures excellent product resistance against corrosion
  • Perfectly sized discharge capable of passing small spherical solids
  • Long power cord usable in dry and wet conditions
  • Powerful 1/3HP motor with good pumping capacity
  • Thermal switch protects pump against overheating
  • Neoprene square ring for hermetical sealing of motor
  • Efficient two poles float-operated switch.


  • Switch guard could have been made of cast iron
  • Average maximum head

Get more information about the Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Sump Pump here

Design and Build Quality:-

Like the Zoeller Mighty Mate M53 Submersible, this product belongs to the highly popular Mighty Mate Series 50, and hence, is made of high quality cast iron that is both corrosion resistant as well as capable of resisting high pressures. In case you are wondering whether “cast iron construction” refers merely to the external housing, let us add that Zoeller has made virtually all the parts (with some minor exceptions, as we shall see below) with the same cast iron that the housing boasts of.

This imparts greater cohesion to the body of the sump pump, and in the process, ensures that there is never any chance of water seeping inside through linkages between parts made of different materials. It also ensures that sheet iron, which is notorious for being leaky and prone to corrosion, is virtually absent from this high-quality machine. Complementing the quality construction materials is the great design.

Zoeller has stuck to the somewhat unattractive but highly efficient submersible sump pump structure with the cylindrical motor assembly, the float and switch assembly, the impeller and the discharge being the most distinctive features.

Those parts (notably the motor housing and the discharge) which are exposed to the water for the greater part of their lifetime, have been provided with an epoxy coating, which buttresses the cast iron’s natural corrosion resistance to a point where the product does not rust even when it remains under water for months on end.

Major External Parts (Handle, Power Cord, and Discharge):-

We noted that there are a few minor exceptions to the complete cast iron construction of the sump pump. One of the exceptions is the handle, which is made of stainless steel which has not been coated with epoxy paint. While this does make the handle more vulnerable to rust, we may surmise that Zoeller chose steel because of its comparatively light weight, since a heavy cast iron handle would be bulky and difficult to lift.

Furthermore, being made of high-quality stainless steel, the handle is never at risk of being broken or dislocated during the installation of the sump pump. The discharge is the standard 1-1/2” NPT unit found in the best of Zoeller’s offerings. Being in constant contact with water, the discharge is well insulated from the internal components of the sump pump. Furthermore, it is capable of passing spherical or near-spherical solids of ½” diameter or less, which may be present in the sump water.

This impressive capability ensures that the sump is never choked with small pebbles and other dirt particles, but neither are the discharge pipes of the Zoeller M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump blocked and pierced by large and irregularly shaped solid bodies. Finally, the different discharge size ensures that there is never any need for the use of screens, which are utilized in some sump pumps to block out unwanted particles, but which tend to get clogged easily, thereby retarding the functioning of the pump.

Finally, the power cord is of sufficient length and can operate under dry and wet conditions alike, thus ensuring that the sump pump never demands costly electrical rewiring of the basement.

Motor and Sealing:-

Zoeller has given the Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump a 1/3HP motor, which is quite standard for this price range. What is exceptional, however, is this motor’s capability to pump water at a rate of 2850 gallons per hour at 5’ head. Coupled with its ability to pump a good 1140 gallons per hour at a maximum 15’ head, this makes the product one of the best sump pumps as far as the sheer pumping power is concerned.

Some users complained that the maximum head of 15’ was a bit on the lower side, but they added that what matters is the gallons pumped at the maximum head rather than the maximum head itself since most basements do not require a pump with more than 15’ head. Finally, the motor can function efficiently at temperatures 130 degrees F (or 54 degrees C), which is again one of the highest in the industry.

This powerful motor is hermetically sealed using a neoprene square ring, thereby ensuring that the oil from the motor does not spill out into the housing, nor does the water from the exterior find its way into the motor.

See more product description of Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Sump Pump Here

Impeller, Switch Assembly, and Switch Protection:-

The Zoeller M57 comes with a specially engineered cast iron impeller that can work efficiently even under high water pressure. Being of cast iron, the impeller is not liable to suffer damage from large pieces of rubble that may come in with the sump water. Indeed, this feature sets it apart from some cheaper products that use vulnerable plastic impellers.

The switch assembly consists of a two pole automatic switch, triggered by a shaft that connects the high-quality polypropylene float to the body of the sump pump. When the level of water rises, the float rises and triggers the switch, thereby starting the pumping procedure. This assembly is defended by a switch guard, which ensures that boulders and other floating effluents do not damage the precision switch. Interestingly, Zoeller has used AISI 1215 cold roll stainless steel for the switch shaft and guard.

While this steel is one of the best variants available in the market today and the necessity of making the shaft light enough to move accurately would justify the use of steel, the guard could have been made of cast iron. That said, though, none of the customers who bought the Zoeller M57 Sump Pump complained about the quality of the switch guard.

Customer Reviews:-

Users of Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump noted the solid build quality of the product, which gave it the ability to survive years of heavy usage. The switch assembly was praised for being highly sensitive, while the motor was commended of handling massive storm flooding without problems. However, a minority of users believed that the motor could have had a better maximum head, while a still lesser number complained about the switch guard being made of steel.


The Zoeller 57-0001 Sump Pump is similar to other Zoeller products in some areas (epoxy coating for instance), but it has some unique points as well, including the almost total use of cast iron, the square neoprene sealing of the motor and the well-designed cast iron impeller.

Having been developed by Zoeller’s experienced engineers, these features coordinate well to pump water out with an efficiency we’ve come to expect of Zoeller. Considering all these points, it would not be wrong to say that this product is one of the best sump pumps for any house or commercial establishment that has a moderate to high flooding threat and does not want to burn a hole in the pocket purchasing a very expensive commercial pump.

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Basement Watchdog BW4000 Sump Pump Reviews

Combinations of primary and backup sump pumps are not new per se, given that reputed manufacturers like Wayne have come up with units like Wayne 1/2 HP Battery Backup Sump Pump System. However, Basement Watchdog is a comparatively new name, and one can have legitimate fears that in trying to create not only a rare pump design but also one with novel features such as backup pump diagnostics, the company has overlooked certain vital pump specifications.

To lay such fears to rest, we need to undertake a detailed analysis of the Basement Watchdog BW4000 to understand its utility better.

Basement Watchdog BW4000 Reviews


  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 11 x 18 inches.
  • Product Weight: 26 pounds
  • Type: Combination Primary and Back-Up Pump
  • Discharge: 1-1/4.”
  • NPT Motor: 1/3HP for primary sump pump
  • Power: 3200GPH at 10’ head for primary, 1730GPH at 10’ head for backup
  • Warranty: 2 years warranty


The Basement Watchdog BW4000 comes with a two-year warranty on all parts and labor.


  • Dual pumps with polycarbonate design for durability and efficient functioning.
  • Standard discharge system to tackle heavy workloads.
  • Excellent pumping capacity of both primary and secondary pumps.
  • Automatic diagnostics forewarns against possible risks.
  • Reed switches ensure sensitivity, small footprint.
  • Sturdy impeller allows for maintenance of excellent water output.


  • No battery included with the product.
  • The product is somewhat heavy and is difficult to move in the absence of a handle.

Find out more Features and Specifications here:-

Build Quality and Design:-

Unlike the Wayne unit referred above, the Basement Watchdog BW4000 takes a radically new approach to product design. The backup sump pump has been placed midway along the housing of the primary pump, and the peripherals have also been placed on the same level. The discharges of the two units, on the other hand, have been merged and placed at the top of the housing of the primary pump. Together, these produce a somewhat novel but interesting design that does not create a huge sump footprint and can work efficiently by allowing the backup to complement the primary in case of heavy water load, etc.

The build quality, on the other hand, is conservative. Tough polycarbonate and polypropylene have been used to make the product’s exteriors and individual functional parts. These make the use of powder coating redundant and also provide a decent amount of protection against debris flux in the sump. Further, some sturdy steel holders have been placed at various critical points to ensure that there is never any issue with looseness.

Major External Parts (Discharge, Power Cord, External Battery):-

The Basement Watchdog BW4000 has a common discharge for both the backup and primary sump pumps, and this is connected to a PVC pipe using the metal brackets provided with the unit. Like all good units, this product’s discharge also offers the standard 1-1/4” NPT diameter, thus making it compatible with standard plumbing. One of the critical steps in installing a sump pump is to find a power source that is somewhat close to the location of the sump. The alternative to this is to find a long power cord, and Basement Watchdog takes no chances, providing users with a large power cord with water repellent properties.

More interestingly, the product uses a battery-backup sump pump system, and for this, any major sump pump battery can be employed. Batteries and battery fuel, however, are not included as part of the package. On the plus side, one does get a battery case that can accommodate a broad range of batteries easily.

Motor and Sealing:-

As one would expect, there are two sets of motors with the primary one being rated at 1/3HP. This translates to a healthy 3200GPH at 10’ head for the main pump. The secondary pump, in comparison, manages 1730GPH at the same head. While this may look weak compared to the primary pump, one has to remember that the function of this unit is to work only when there is an outage or when the level of water is so high that the primary pump cannot handle it on its own. The latter feature works automatically, thus ensuring that the sump pump never gets overwhelmed.

Another exciting innovation concerns the automatic diagnostic system of the unit, which allows users to know through a system of beeps and flashing lights when something is wrong with their unit.

While the manufacturer does not reveal the exact procedure through which such diagnostics take place, users have commented that this unique feature often warned them of impending problems in advance by pointing out small problems. Lastly, both the motors come with hermetic sealing that allows the unit to survive the harsh flux of the sump without any damage occurring to the motors.

Check out Performance and Power of BW4000 pump:-

Switch and Impeller

The benefits of using a sump pump are directly proportional to the sensitivity of the switch. The Basement Watchdog BW4000 achieves this by providing a pair of highly sensitive reed switches that can detect minute changes in the water level without any difficulty. Further, these reed switches take up less space as compared to the float switches, and this translates into a compact unit.

The polycarbonate impeller, on the other hand, is sturdy enough to handle heavy water flux. This is all the more important because the backup and the primary sump pumps have a common impeller, and when both work together, an enormous amount of water is removed, thus putting pressure on the impeller. Thankfully, the excellent design of the base prevents the influx of large debris into the blades of the impeller, thus allowing the impeller to work with water and small debris only.


It takes a lionhearted manufacturer to try out intensive innovations without establishing a firm reputation in the market. With the Basement Watchdog BW4000 though, the company not only helps customers avoid the debate over which type of sump pump to choose, but provides excellent value for money by offering a range of features along with unique ones like diagnostics.

While a separate backup sump pump may, of course, be installed should one feel the need for it (courtesy the small footprint of the unit), this pump can act as a one-stop solution for a majority of home and commercial establishment owners facing medium to high water volumes.

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Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump Reviews

Those familiar with our how to install sump pump guide would know that a substantial part of the procedure involves creating and preparing the sump. Now while many homes come with ready-made sumps, the presence of sump liner, etc. often cannot be taken for granted. Enter the Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump, which comes with an external shell made of foam that makes such liner unnecessary.

At the same time, the unit is capable of providing drainage and durability similar to the who’s who of the sump pump market. However, one may wonder whether the unit is really that durable, or whether the inclusion of an outer shell has led to some corner-cutting. A detailed review will address such concerns.

Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump Reviews


  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 13.8 x 12.4 inches
  • Product Weight: 18.2 pounds
  • Type: Submersible sump pump
  • Discharge: 1-1/2.”
  • NPT Motor: 1/3HP
  • Power: 1620GPH at 10’ head
  • Warranty: 1 year


The Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump comes with a 1-year warranty on all parts and labor.


  • Sturdy outer shell and excellent thermoplastic design allow for a durable producSupport for multiple PVC pipe diameters, default PVC pipe provided with the package.
  • Excellent motor capacity with remarkable shut-off point.
  • Double protection for the motor in the form of hermetic sealing and external shell.
  • Sturdy impeller and fixed nature of unit contribute to enhanced impeller efficacy.


  • Fixed size of the external shell may make the unit difficult to use in tiny sumps.
  • Lack of handle makes unit difficult to move.

At its core, the Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump comes with a standard thermoplastic housing and a somewhat elevated base that allows the impeller to avoid scraping against the base of the external shell. A standard plastic float is located to one side of the unit, such that the unit can be activated when 1/4th of the shell has been filled with water.

Coming to the external shell, we find that it has been made of a durable hard foam that keeps the water at bay while ensuring that fungal growth does not take place. The top of the shell can be completely open, or if used in certain other situations, closed and feature two sets of pipes, one bringing in the water to be removed and the other removing it. In either position, though, the core parts are well protected by the shell, while the shell design ensures less accumulation of debris, thus reducing the frequency of sump pump maintenance procedures.

While some people contend that the presence of a large amount of foam and plastic in the unit makes it vulnerable to damage from floating debris, one has to remember that sump linings are made of the same foam as the external shell, and the use of thermoplastic has become increasingly prevalent in the industry. Indeed, the durable thermoplastic allows the unit to withstand water temperatures of up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Major External Parts (Discharge and Power Cord):-

The unit comes with a standard thermoplastic discharge with a width of 1-1/2” NPT, though pipes with a width of 1-1/4” are also acceptable courtesy of a unique design modification. Interestingly, because the base is elevated, the amount of pipe needed to move the water out of the sump is marginally lower than what normally would be necessary. Further, unless one wants to make specific modifications, one can use the pipe provided by the manufacturer, and then connect this pipe to the outer PVC pipes of the basement. Lastly, the excellent design, coupled with these features, allows the unit to remove solid spherical debris with diameters of 1/8th inch or less.

The power cord, on the other hand, is designed to handle constant water flux and is, therefore, durable and water-resistant. However, the fact that it curls around the top of the unit when it comes out of a dedicated opening in the cover of the external shell, (not to be confused with the sump pump cover, which sits at the mouth of the sump) shortens the effective length of the wire. However, since the cover will rarely be used in sump settings, this is not a criticism that extends to its core sump pump functions.

Motor and Sealing:-

The Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump comes with a 1/3HP motor similar to that used in market leaders like the Zoeller M53 Sump Pump. In the case of this offering by Simer, such power translates into an impressive 2880GPH at 0’ head and 1620GPH at 10’ head. With a shut off point of 18’, this unit is capable of draining the vast majority of basements.

Such efficiency, of course, can only be achieved when the motor is housed in a safe environment, and this is obtained by providing a hermetically sealed, oil-filled chamber for the motor to work in. Coupled with the enhanced security offered by the external shell, this allows the motor to stay insulated from even the worst debris flux.

Find out more Powerful Performance of Simer 2925B model here

Switch and Impeller:-

The Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump avoids carrying out any unnecessary innovations when it comes to the switch, offering a traditional float switch with a sturdy switch connector above it. The location of the switch, as mentioned above, allows it to activate the unit when water has filled about 1/4th of the shell, and this allows the motor plenty of time to remove the water.

The impeller has been afforded plenty of space courtesy of the heightened base, and this lets it use its sturdy thermoplastic blades to maximum effect. Further, since the pump is affixed to the base of the shell, there is never any risk of instability, and this helps improve the water removal power of the impeller manifold.


While some bells and whistles are being added to sump pumps by manufacturers, the key features of the best sump pump no doubt include sufficient water removing capacity and a design that allows for large operation and external flux without suffering damage. The Simer 2925B Sump/Laundry Sink Pump excels in these departments, and also, provides a unique external shell design that provides added stability and protection. While this external shell also brings with it a few minor issues, the overall combination of an excellent pump and an equally durable shell make this unit ideal for a broad range of situations.

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Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump Reviews

Back-Up pumps are meant to work under extreme conditions where the primary pump fails or is unable to work due to cutting off of electricity, e.g., when a thunderstorm or hurricane strikes. It is, therefore, mandatory that you choose the very best back-up pump available. Now Liberty Pumps has one of the best reputations in the industry when it comes to such pumps, and the Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump offers the perfect mix of useful features and specifications.

However, given the vital importance of a back-up pump in the house, it is never safe to judge one simply by noting specifications on paper. Instead, it is necessary to understand just how each of these features fits in with the others to provide uninterrupted service when you need it most.

Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump Reviews

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  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 5.1 x 21.6 inches
  • Product Weight: 5 pounds
  • Type: Water Powered Back-up
  • Pump Inlet: ¾ ‘’ NPT, Outlet: 1 ½ ‘’
  • NPT Motor: 19.8 gallons per minute (with the head height is 4 foot)
  • Warranty: 2 years


  • Light and compact design
  • Tough yet light PVC construction
  • An efficient motor that can remove 19.8 gallons per minute, or 2 gallons per 1 gallon of water used.
  • Magnetic precision switch
  • Inlet and Outlet compatible with wide range of pipes
  • Excellent warranty with two years


  • Suction shaft valve (foot valve) prone to occasional malfunction
  • Cannot be used with water supplies that are prone to be shut off periodically (e.g., wells)

Design and Build Quality:-

As far as back-up sump pumps go, the Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump is one of the most compact and light, which helps it fit in with even older, bulkier sump pumps that may take up a lot of space in the sump. Of course, this compact and light structure is ensured by using PVC plastic as the primary construction material.

This is a significant difference with primary sump pumps such as the Zoeller M53 Sump Pump, which comes with a cast iron body. However, it should be borne in mind that the SJ10 is not a submersible pump in the sense of the motor being under water. As such, the PVC construction is good enough for the pump to work regularly and consistently without risk of water flowing into the internal components.

The design itself consists of the motor, with two openings– one on each end of the motor. Extending vertically downwards from the motor is a float which connects to the motor through a magnetic weep hole (explained below) and a suction shaft. Since the back-up pump assumes the existence of a larger primary pump, the two downward projections have been kept close to each other, while not being so close as to interfere with each other’s functioning.

Major External Parts (suction shaft, inlet, and outlet):-

The suction shaft has been made with heavy duty PVC so as to ensure that it does not bend or crack under heavy water pressure. There is a screen placed within the shaft that ensures that particulate matter does not enter the shaft and block it. Further, placed a little within the shaft is a check valve (also called suction shaft valve or foot valve) which makes sure that the water which is supposed to go up and out of the pump is not drawn down by gravity into the sump again.

Though the quality of this valve is decent, the valve can sometimes malfunction, leading to reduced efficiency of the back-up pump. However, the tip of the suction shaft can be screwed off to remove the defunct valve and replace it with a quality alternative that is easily available on the market.

The inlet is the small opening (3/4” NPT) which usually does not come with an attached pipe. It is, however, compatible with pex, copper or CTS CPVC type pipes, so any of these recent models can be used as the inlet pipe. There is also a check valve at the inlet, which ensures that water does not flow into the pump when it is not needed. The pipe from the inlet should be connected to a source of water supply that is separate from the water that is to be drained.

The supply can be any supply (though you would usually use the municipal water supply). More pertinently, the water supply must be active at all times, and as such, those who use wells, etc. cannot use the Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump.

The outlet comes with a 1-1/2” NPT connector that can be utilized with any standard PVC pipe to prepare a channel by which the water that is pumped out can be expelled from the basement. To make matters convenient, Liberty Pumps has made provision for this outlet to be the same as that of the primary pump, so one does not have to create two separate channels for the two pumps.

Motor and Sealing:-

The motor of the Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump functions using the water pressure from the inlet. If installed properly, the SJ10 pump is capable of pumping 19.8 gallons per minute when the head height is 4 foot, which is one of the best as far as back-up pumps are concerned.

Further, the pump can work with pressures ranging from 20PSI to 100PSI at the inlet, thus ensuring that the pump keeps working almost without regard to the fluctuations in inlet pressure. Last but perhaps most importantly, the motor can remove 2 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of water used.

As mentioned above, the motor does not become submerged and therefore does not need to be hermetically sealed. Indeed, the motor runs on the pressure of the water at the inlet. However, the circuitry of the motor is carefully segregated from the rest of the pump, so that even when pressure is very high, water does not reach areas of the pump that are not tolerant to water.

Switch and Float:-

As mentioned above, the Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump comes with a PVC float that runs parallel to the suction shaft. Made of sturdy yet light PVC, the float is connected to a narrow shaft that in turn attaches to the motor through a magnetic hole. This hole is configured in such a way that as the float rises, it triggers the magnetic mechanism in the shaft. This mechanism triggers a magnetic switch that is located inside the motor.

As the switch is activated, the diaphragm blocking the inlet water is opened and water flows in, allowing the motor to generate power and draw water using the suction shaft into the outlet. Quite naturally, such an arrangement requires no electricity, and further, it works using the water pressure, so there is never any discordance between the level of water and the working of the pump.

Warranty of this Product:-

The Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump has been provided with a manufacturer warranty of 2 years, which is perhaps the best available in the sump pump market.

Price of the product

The Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump retails for a well-justified price tag that is slightly above $200. However, Amazon is currently offering a limited period bargain that pegs the price at less than $150, thereby implying an amazing 33% discount. What’s more, Amazon is offering free shipping on this product.

Liberty SJ10 Radon Install


Given the high standards that sump pumps need to meet, it is surprising how well the Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered Back-Up Pump lives up to expectations. It is compact yet sturdy on one hand, while on the other it is capable of working with variable inlet pressure to deliver excellent water pumping efficiency.

If the valves, the magnetic switch and the screen be considered alongside these, it can be said with certainty that the SJ10 is a great product that is capable of providing more than adequate service to households/commercial establishments that need a reliable but affordable back-up pump for emergency situations.

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How To Test a Sump Pump

It is a sad fact that most homeowners will wait until the middle of the rainy season or the occurrence of a major climatic event like Hurricane Sandy before they take the trouble of finding out whether their sump pumps are up to the task. This practice may make sense for household appliances that run every day or at least once a month, and hence, are tested during usage anyhow. Sump pumps, however, tend to remain inactive for months on end, and if during this time something goes wrong, even light rains can lead to a flooded basement. Learning how to test a sump pump and applying these skills, on the other hand, is a simple and highly risk-mitigating task. We’ve made it even easier by dividing the multiple testing methods into two – a quick test and another, thorough professional inspection process.

The Quick Testing Process:-

Before going into the more exact test procedure, it is important to know how to run a 2-minute test when the rains have already begun, and puddles are forming around the exterior of the basement.

To run this test:

Raise the sump cover a little and remove it if the discharge pipes do not hinder such removal. Disconnecting the pipes is neither necessary nor advisable since this might render the pump non-functional for some time and increase risks of flooding. Use a flashlight to quickly note if there are any bugs or worms in the sump. If there are, wear hand protection and apply some pest control measures.

Lower your hand till you find the float.

Raise the float a little and note whether the pump begins to run. The float should move freely, and you should be able to place at least two fingers between the float and the wall of the sump. Among the things you should remember when learning how to test a sump pump is never to push or pull the float too much as this might break it. If the float doesn’t move, it is probably jammed. If the float moves but the pump still does not start, either the switch arm is malfunctioning, or the motor is suffering from problems. Contact your plumbing contractor immediately.

How To Test a Sump Pump

For sump pumps that do not have a float:

After removing the sump cover, take note of the amount of water in the sump. If the water is low or non-existent, pour a 5ga bucket’s of water into the sump pit and see if the unit works.

Note : The second method can be used for sump pumps with floats as well but not only is it more cumbersome, but can also lead to flooding if it turns out that the pump is not working since the water will continue to sit in the sump until such time as it is either scooped out or the pump is replaced. For water-based backup units and any others that do not have a float, though, it is the only testing procedure.

The Thorough Testing Process:

Thorough testing should be carried out only on sunny days when no rain has been predicted for at least the next 48 hours. Protective clothing, including eyewear and gloves, must be used during such testing. For convenience, we’ve divided the procedure into two parts – pump testing and peripherals testing. Note that highly experienced professional inspectors will sometimes open the sump pump housing and check internal components. This however, requires knowledge of electrical circuitry, and if you do not have such knowledge, it is best not to try to open up the housing.

To proceed with testing:

Remove the sump cover and disconnect all power to the sump pit. Check for any insects or worms in the sump.

Disconnect the pipes and take out the sump pump. If your pipes do not have union connectors or other easily removable connectors, you may have to cut through the pipe to take out the pump. Once you have learned how to test a sump pump, you would need to replace the cut pipes with new PVC units and necessary connectors. This makes the procedure costly, but since it is a one-time task, the chances are that you would be thanking your foresight the next time you need to take out the pump.

Clean out any debris that may be sticking to the pump. You may clean out the dirt and fibers sticking out of the impeller, but this is a time-consuming process and not strictly necessary part of learning how to test a sump pump.

Leave the unit to dry out.

In most cases, the pump’s discharge should have a length of PVC pipe still connected to it, this being the part that connects the discharge to the check valve. Place the pump in a large bucket and put the power cord in a manner that the ends are not exposed to water.

Fill the bucket to the height of the pipe.

Connect the power cord to a powerpoint. The unit should start running immediately, pumping out water from the stub PVC pipe. While it is not possible to measure the rate of water removal (especially since the water would be falling back into the bucket), the intensity of the water’s flow should be a good indicator of the vitality of the pump.

Cut the power and remove the sump pump from the bucket.

Observe the float and switch assembly and gently raise the float a few times. There should be a soft click sound every time. If the operation is not smooth, move the float sideways a little before trying again. If the motion is still not smooth, you may need to carry out sump pump repair. Next, use a flashlight to observe the impeller carefully. Try to rotate the axle of the impeller gently and see if the movement is erratic or unbalanced. Any rusting, bending or damage to the blades must be corrected through replacement of the impeller by a qualified professional.

Lastly, take note of the bearings of the unit and the epoxy coating (if present). Any signs of wear and tear or rusting should also be a cause of concern.

Replace the sump pump in the sump and reconnect all connectors and PVC pipes.

Reconnect power and change the sump cover if you wish to check only the sump pump. If you want to carry out a complete check, though, you would need to test the various peripheral units as well. To do this, you need to check the following components:

GFCI: A GFCI is a circuit component that prevents electrical shocks. If your sump pumps have a GFCI installed, ensure that it is properly connected to the sump pump circuit and furthermore, that there are no signs of wear and tear.

Power Connectors: Sump pumps draw huge power during operation and hence, it is important that their insulation is in top shape. Check the outer insulation of the power cords to ensure there is no damage. Further, make sure the power cord and the adapter/plug are properly connected, as improperly connected units can make the basement prone to fire hazards.

Sump Pit (should be carried out before replacing the pump in the pit): Use a flashlight to note the relief of the base of the pump. Not all debris is removed by the impeller and the ones that remain collect at the bottom. You can use a shovel to remove this debris and make the base plain. Also, check the sides of the pump for any damage or rat holes.


As the above guide to learning how to test a sump pump would suggest, testing is not merely the task of checking if the pump itself is working properly. Indeed, inspectors are expected to test the sump, the external electrical components and sometimes, even the external drainage pipes involved. Here, we’ve simplified the procedures to allow novice users to run tests like professionals and keep their basements safe while saving the money that you would normally have spent on the plumbing inspector.

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Simple Steps For Maintaining a Sump Pump

Sump pumps malfunction due to two primary reasons – falling into disuse due to long periods of inactivity and suffering from clogging and damage due to debris. Further, even if the pump itself does not malfunction, the stagnant water in a sump can lead to the growth of insects and worms, thereby undermining the overall hygiene of your basement. To avoid these, it is important to know how to maintain a sump pump. The good news is that if you know how to use a sump pump, maintenance is an incredibly simple procedure.

maintain a sump pump

Preparing the Sump Pump for maintenance:

Before you learn how to maintain a sump pump, it is vital that you make it for maintenance. Please note that maintenance should not be carried out if there is a chance of the pump being used within two hours of the maintenance being completed. Hence, sunny days when chances of rain or snow are minimal are ideal for carrying out much-needed maintenance.

To prepare the sump pump:

Switch off the power supply in case of a primary sump pump. Remove the water or battery connectors in the event of backup sump pumps. In the case of water-driven backup sump pumps, allow the sump pump to remain at rest for about 15 minutes. Remove the sump cover and use a flashlight to see if there are any snakes/insects in the sump. Unscrew the check valve that connects the PVC pipe to the discharge. If there are multiple check valves, begin with those farthest from the sump pump and move towards the sump pump. Keep a bucket ready before unscrewing the last valve as some water may fall out. Following the reverse of what you did while installing the sump pump, remove the sump pump from the sump. Some water will come out along with the sump pump.

If you have an another sump pump installed, ensure that removal of the sump pump does not disturb the float switch or any other trigger mechanism that the other pump may have. Indeed, it would be a good idea to pour some water quickly into the sump and reconnecting the power source of the backup pump, see if the sump pump is working well. If it is, replace the sump cover and take the sump pump you wish to perform maintenance upon to a nearby table.

Steps For Maintaining a Sump Pump:

Before learning how to keep a sump pump, there is one final task to be completed – put on a pair of goggles and a pair of gloves, as these would be needed to protect your eyes and hands from any dangerous debris or insects that may still be present in the discharge of the sump pump. Inspect, the exterior of the sump, pump carefully before looking through the release with a flashlight. Search for signs of damage (dents, peeled off paint, etc.), blockages or debris presence and build-up of insect cocoons or rust. Wipe all possible surfaces of the sump pump thoroughly using a piece of cloth. Once they are all dry, wipe the surfaces with a dry cloth dipped in petroleum jelly or kerosene oil. Most dirt and insect matter should be removed in this step.

If there is rusting, rub the surface with sandpaper till the rust has been removed. Most of the best sump pumps would not have exposed bearings or rivets. In case your sump pump is old or follows a design that requires such exposure of vital connecting parts to water, the chances of rusting of such parts is increased manifold.

If some parts are rusted to the point of becoming brittle and weak, it is not a good idea to continue with them. Dispose them and replace with new parts so you don’t have to repeat the steps in this how to maintain a sump pump guide again at short notice. If oiling/greasing of any parts is required, follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding the oiling process. The user manual should also contain the time intervals at which oiling should be carried out. If the time span is less than six months, you should perform maintenance at each oiling interval.

Once these steps are completed, you may run into one of the common sump pump issues – a slightly dislocated float. To avoid having to fix the float within the sump, take a bucket of water and place the sump pump inside it before connecting to the power source/water source. Note that because you haven’t connected a pipe to the discharge the water in the bucket won’t be drained, but the overall effect should prove whether the pump is working or not. If the float is dislocated, the functioning would be impaired. Take out the pump, fix the float by moving it gently upwards or downwards and then test again.

Post-Maintenance Checking Processes:

Replace the sump pump in the sump and reconnect the check valve and then power connection. Reconnect any other valve/pipe connectors that you may have removed. Now disconnect the power connection of any other sump pump that may be present in the same sump. Empty a bucket of water into the sump such that the float switch is completely submerged.

Ask someone to turn on the power/water connection when asked. Go outside to where the sump pump outlet is. When the person turns on the power/water supply, carefully watch how the water present in the sump is drained out. If there is any coughing or spluttering involved, you should have the sump pump turned off, take apart the final section of the PVC discharge tube and see if any problems or blockages exist.

Reconnect and Retest:

When all processes have been run without any problems, it is safe to carry out the last step of how to maintain a sump pump – checking and cleaning the sump cover and replacing it on the sump.


Sump pumps are extremely sturdy warhorses and on the outside, have precious little that the user is supposed to or can do. Given that you must never dismantle a sump pump without supervision or proper expert skills, we can say that maintenance is by its very nature a simple and short process. However, given the importance of draining your basement and the difficulties of repairing a severely damaged sump pump, it makes good common sense to carry out regular maintenance. While there are companies that will provide trained personnel to carry out such maintenance, the answer to how to maintain a sump pump is simple enough for you to be able to conduct by combining an hour of your time with the steps we have outlined above.