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When should you replace your sump pump?

It’s simple enough to replace a sump pump, but when is the best time to do so? Do you wait until it fails or do you replace it when it reaches a certain age? Toronto plumbers from Anta Plumbing frequently attend to sump pump emergencies, and when someone asks “When should you replace your sump pump?”, our master plumbers agree: Before the next big storm!

If you have a sump pump in your basement or crawl space, and it doesn’t kick on when water levels rise, or if it is older than 10 years, now is the time to install a new sump pump.

Selecting a New Sump Pump

When buying a new sump pump, you may want to consider buying a similar model to the one you had, provided it worked well for the most part, and that it had a reasonable lifespan. There are two main types of sump pumps:

1. By Type

Submersible Sump Pumps

Submersible sump pumps sit in holes in the floor of a crawlspace or basement. It forms part of the interior French drain system. The motor, on the other hand, is contained within a waterproof, sealed housing. During a storm or flood, the water levels will activate the sump pump, turn on the pump and flush the water out of the house through an external piping system.

Pedestal Sump Pumps

Pedestal sump pumps place the motor on a stand, a few feet above the water, while the impeller remains in the pit below. The motor does not get as wet, and should therefore last longer.

However, a good quality submersible pump should be made from cast iron, which will generally outlast its plastic counterpart. Cast iron sump pumps are heavy duty and fully sealed. The water will cool them down to prevent excessive wear when the sump pump is in use for significant periods of time.

2. Cost & power rating

A standard 1/3 horsepower sump pump goes for anywhere from $100 to $200 and is powerful enough to handle a significant flood (1,800 to 2,200 gallons an hour). In extreme flood zones, or if it needs to pump 10 feet or more vertically to the outside of your home, you need a 1/2 horsepower sump pump that can handle 3,000 gallons of water. This will cost anywhere from $150 to $350.

A 3/4 horsepower sump pump is for super-duty use, and can pump 5,000 an hour.

3. Power Options

An electrical sump pump will be worthless if the flood leaves you without power, unless you consider a battery powered system. A backup sump pump may have a built-in battery backup system that will switch on automatically in the event of a power outage. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a backup pump in the event of pump failure at a critical time, or if you need extra help during an extreme flood.

A water powered sump pump eliminates the need for a backup system, and there’s no battery that runs out of juice. Instead, it uses a simple mechanical valve. The only downside is that a water powered sump pump moves less water, but it is still sufficient for lower flood-risk zones.

While it is simple to swap around sump pumps, it is usually best to hire a professional plumber who can recommend the best pump for your needs. They can also identify issues with damaged or worn components. Get in touch with Anta Plumbing if you need help replacing a sump pump.

Written by Tanya Klien

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