Upgrading Your Pipes

3 Considerations to Make Before Installing a New Sump Pump

Sump pumps are essential items for many homes, but they're one appliance that you don't want to think about too often. These devices play a vital role in keeping your basement dry and your home free of damaging moisture. When a sump pump fails, it can leave your house vulnerable to flooding and create an opening for unhealthy mold.

Like many home appliances, sump pumps last for about a decade. Because of their importance and the potential issues that can arise from a failure, it's usually a good idea to install a new pump before your old one stops working. If you think it might be time to toss your old pump to the curb, then keep these three considerations in mind before contacting an installer for a new one.

1. Consider Upgrading

Sump pumps are available for various applications, but most homes use one of three standard sizes: 1/3 HP, 1/2 HP, and 3/4 HP. While these sizes are typical for home units, both smaller and larger sizes exist. More powerful sump pumps can handle pushing water up a higher vertical lift and typically have higher gallon-per-hour (GPH) or gallon-per-minute (GPM) pumping rates.

If your old pump worked fine for your purposes, then there's no harm in replacing it with one that has similar power output. On the other hand, this is also the perfect time to consider an upgrade. Moving up to a more powerful unit is a great way to address issues your old pump may have had, such as an inability to clear its basin during heavy flooding events.

2. Add a Backup Pump

Standard sump pumps rely on home electrical power. This design can be inconvenient during storms (a typical time for flooding), but it's a necessary trade-off for higher-powered units. Smaller pumps with battery backups can operate when the power goes out, but at a reduced capacity compared to corded tanks. For this reason, battery-powered pumps work best to supplement a more powerful wired pump.

When deciding to add a backup, don't forget to consider your home's electrical situation. If you have an emergency standby generator, then a backup pump will likely be unnecessary since you can continue to run your main pump during outages.

3. Install a Water Alarm

If you're replacing an old sump pump, then there's no better time to install a water alarm. These simple devices range from relatively cheap "dump" units to much more sophisticated alarms that pair with home automation systems. A water alarm can alert you to moisture on the floor, helping you quickly recognize flooding events that may be too much for the pump to handle.

Sump pumps may be out of sight and out of mind, but you should never ignore them. If your pump is getting a little old, then it's time to start thinking seriously about a new sump pump installation.