With the freeze-thaw cycles of winter, and as the spring rainy season approaches, to some this marks the time of year filled with doubt and anxiety about flooding and wet basements. But, one of the most overlooked mistakes made in the basement is proper sump pump selection and installation. It also remains one of the easiest to rectify problems a homeowner can deal with.

Sump pumps historically have arrived in a myriad of shapes, sizes, color, capacities, and of varying performance specification from the days of huge, heavy cast iron pumps to modern-day advanced systems with text and email alert systems. Most pumps today are an amalgamate of plastic and steel, although cheaper pumps generally are constructed of pot metal and stamped alloys and high-quality pumps being cast iron. Majority of all residential sump pumps operate off of 110-120 line voltage and are compatible with standard wall outlets and circuitry. Some pump systems are designed for 1.5-inch discharging and bigger models for 2-inch piping (and it goes up from here depending on your home’s original piping schematics).

One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make isn’t the size or performance of the pump, but rather the quality and brand. Often, uninformed homeowners attempting to replace their sump pump find themselves at the local home center or big box retailer and are schmoozed by the temptations of fancy warranties and colorful photos on the box. Severe low prices are an added attraction to the rationale of homeowners shopping big box retailer or home centers. The reality of these decisions, in essence, is that you are buying junk that will leave you frustrated as you stand in a flooded basement. The average cost of a sump pump purchased in big box retailers is around $125, some much cheaper. Another marketing trick deployed by big box retailers is to offer lifetime warranties, which basically makes you return to the store – the idea is getting you back in the store for “product exposure” even if at the dismay of a failed product.

Quality, brand name sump pumps sold at plumbing supply houses and dealers, however, will run you around $225 to $265. With this higher price tag, you will get a mid-range pump designed for years of continued operation and backed by strong manufacturer and dealer support. Pumps manufacturers such as Liberty, Zoeller and Hydromatic are gold medal winners in the sump pumps industry, are available in just about every state and country, and have superior reputations to those of big box retailers. Top performers such as these mentioned don’t need fancy marketing or bogus lifetime warranties, and you can expect 10 or more years from them. After all, what good is a “lifetime warranty” from the big box retailer if your pump fails you year after year, and to what end will you achieve in saving money now only to spend thousands in chronic flood damage?

Another top-quality sump pump system is made by Glentronics and produced as their Pro Series pumps. American made and packed with state of the art features, quality and amazing customer service, these combination systems will leave you with 100% peace of mind. Most models are a dual pump design which gives you a strong primary pump that operates on electricity, and also a backup pump that runs from an attached 12-volt marine battery system in the event of a power failure. They come complete with a charging and diagnostic station, alarm panels and high-water alarms. To take it even further, some of these pump systems use wifi inside your home to monitor battery life and condition, or to alert you in the event of a power outage or other failure. Expect to pay between $600 to $1200 for these high end models, but enjoy your vacation with peace of mind in knowing you won’t come home to a destroyed or flooded basement.

Lastly, another huge benefit to buying from a dealer is the sales experience you can expect to receive. Most dealers have a reputable staff that are factory trained and knowledgeable in selling you the proper pump system for your application. Too small of a pump and you can expect to the burn the motors of from over-use. However, the opposite is true as well in that, if the pump is too powerful, the motor will short cycle and never achieve equilibrium thus burning out just as quick. Giving your dealer the size of your basement, the dimensions of the piping and the location and distance of the discharge will ensure they sell you the proper pump system. Plainly put, you are not subjecting the largest investment of your life – your home – to the mercy of some aisle clerk peddling junk at the home center.

For questions on pump systems, models, and pricing, please contact us at 216-245-5579 or email us at sales@girardconstruction.com.