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What Are the Different Types of Basement Pumps?

Typical residential basement sump pump.
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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
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There are four basic types of basement pumps and each has its own particular advantages. Pedestal pumps generally last much longer than other types, but can often be noisy. Submersible pumps are quieter, but typically wear out much sooner. Water-powered pumps require no electricity while floor suction pumps are appropriate for basements without a sump area. All the different types of basement pumps can be constructed of metal or plastic, and a check valve is usually needed to prevent a reverse flow of water.

A pedestal or upright pump is powered by electricity and is situated both in and out of the water. This type of pump consists of an inlet base and pedestal-mounted motor. The base lies beneath the water while the motor is kept dry. These pumps can be automatic or manually activated and tend to last much longer because the motor is not exposed to moisture. Pedestal basement pumps are usually less expensive, but can also make a lot of noise.

Submersible basement pumps are located entirely beneath the water and are also electrically powered. This pump variant features a specially designed, oil-cooled motor for durable underwater operation. The specialized cooling system permits the motor to run for extended periods of time without overheating. This type of pump can be ideal for basements that suffer from frequent flooding. Submersible basement pumps are typically much quieter than pedestal types, but generally have a shorter lifespan.

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Water-powered basement pumps do not require electricity for their operation and typically serve as a backup measure during a power failure. This type of pump operates off of the water pressure supplied by a home’s plumbing system. Water-powered pumps are automatically activated and typically used along with a conventional electric pump. Floor suction pumps, another variant, are intended for basements without a sump area. This pump is automatically activated and commonly utilized in basements that are subject to seasonal flooding.

Each type of basement pump is manufactured in both metal and plastic. Metal pumps are generally constructed from corrosion-resistant, cast iron material. Plastic basement pumps are not subject to corrosion, but can sometimes crack and split from frequent, heavy use. Plastic construction is generally less expensive, but metal is usually better suited for long-term applications.

Most basement pumps also require the installation of a check valve to prevent water from flowing back into the structure. This valve automatically closes when the pump is not in operation. Some pump models are equipped with a built-in check valve. Certain pumps also come with a battery backup mechanism to keep the system in operation during power outages.

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