Your sump pump protects your home from rainwater and groundwater flooding, which can cause severe damage to your home. They are an essential piece of equipment for any homeowner living in a wet area and can help you avoid expensive repair work to your property.
Choosing the right type of sump pump is essential. There are two main varieties, pedestal and submersible, and there are benefits to each. In this guide, we'll give the full breakdown of a pedestal sump pump vs. submersible so you can better understand the pros and cons and choose a sump pump that suits your home.
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Pedestal Sump Pumps: Overview & How It Works
A sump pump usually has a sump basin at the lowest part of your basement so that water flows into one place and can be pumped out.
Submersible sump pumps sit within the sump basin, but a pedestal sump pump sits above it, usually level with your basement floor. They’re then connected to the basin and your drains to pump water away from your home.
Pedestal sump pumps are simpler to install because they stand alone. They allow homeowners easy access for maintenance and repair work and are easier to keep in working order.
They also tend to last longer because they are out of the water and experience less wear and tear. The disadvantage of pedestal sump pumps is that they take up more space in your home and are much more noticeable. They also have less power and take longer to remove water from your home.
Pedestal sump pumps are well suited for homeowners who don't have too much flood or groundwater to deal with and those who don't mind having a visible pump in their basement. You can pick up a pedestal sump pump for under $250, so they're a great option for homeowners on a budget.
Pros & Cons
Submersible Sump Pumps: Overview & How It Works
Submersible sump pumps can be located inside or outside your home, but they are always situated underground.
They're often within the sump basin itself and are designed so they can be surrounded by water all the time. They are often designed for continuous operation and can quickly remove large volumes of water from your home. This makes them well suited for homeowners who often have flooding or ground swells.
Submersible sump pumps are more complicated to install because they are located underground.
This makes submersible pumps more expensive to buy and to install as there will generally be more work involved to fit and maintain them, and you may need professional assistance more often. Submersible sump pumps aren't as long-lasting as pedestal sump pumps because they’ll experience more use and greater wear and tear.
Submersible sump pumps take up very little space in your home and can be hidden or covered very easily. They run quietly and will deal with water more effectively than pedestal pumps. They’re a more expensive option but run efficiently, so you'll spend less energy to power them. These pumps are well suited for homeowners who appreciate a quiet and effective pump which is especially useful in smaller homes.
Pros & Cons
Pedestal Vs. Submersible Sump Pumps: Key Differences Explained
We've given a quick breakdown of the two different sump pump types, but you still may not be sure about which to choose. To help simplify your decision, we've provided some of the key differences between the pumps so you can decide which is best for you:
Pedestal sump pumps are designed to sit outside your sump basin and away from direct contact with the water. They won't run continuously and will be triggered to switch on and off once certain water levels are reached. They will take longer to turn on and pump water out, so they're better at dealing with smaller volumes of water. The other key difference with pedestal pumps is that the motor is located above the water. This protects the motor from water damage but means it takes longer for the pump to have an effect.
Submersible sump pumps are designed to sit within the basin itself and can run continuously while covered in water. Once triggered, it can pump quickly and remove water from your home fast, which is perfect for homes with regular flooding. The design of these pumps makes submersible pumps better for wet areas.
The capacity of your sump pump is the amount of water it can pump. This is usually measured in gallons per hour (GPH) or gallons per minute (GPM). The higher the GPH, the more water it can pump out and the higher volume it can handle. Submersible pumps almost always have higher GPM and are designed for more significant volumes, but it's worth checking the specifications of the specific model before purchasing.
The effectiveness of a sump pump is usually determined by the engine's power, and this is measured in horsepower (hp). A 1/3 horsepower sump pump will be sufficient for most homes, but you can find some larger models if you have a very large home. Submersible sump pumps tend to have greater horsepower and are designed to pump water more quickly out of your home. Pedestal sump pumps take longer to work and have smaller motors, so they are less effective at pumping large volumes of water.
Submersible sump pumps are actually designed to be more durable than pedestal sump pumps as they sit in the water. However, they tend to see a lot more use and will be exposed to more water and debris, so they won't last as long as a pedestal sump pump. Submersible pumps will last 5-7 years on average, whereas pedestal pumps can last over 10 years because there's no risk of the motor experiencing any water damage. Pedestal pumps offer greater longevity and better long-term value for money.
Installation & Maintenance
Pedestal sump pumps are standalone units located above ground in your basement or crawl space. This makes them easier to install without disrupting your home and will cost less if you're getting a professional involved. Similarly, it's easier to access a pedestal sump pump to carry out maintenance, so upkeep is more straightforward.
Submersible sump pumps are located underground and are therefore more complicated and challenging to install. You'll generally have to carry out construction work to have them fitted, and a professional will charge you more. Maintenance is also more difficult because you will have to remove it from the sump basin to undertake any serious work. However, because submersible sump pumps are more powerful, they can better handle small debris without it blocking the system, so you won’t need to unclog it as often.
Pedestal sump pumps are cheaper and easier to install and maintain, so they are better suited for homeowners who prefer an easier route.
Unit & Installation Cost
The cost of sump pumps does vary from model to model, but it is noticeably more expensive for submersible models. Typically for a submersible sump pump, you'll pay $400-$1500 for the pump itself and $500-$1500 for installation costs. A pedestal sump pump will typically cost $150-$400 for the unit and $200-$600 for installation. If you have a tight budget, then a pedestal sump pump will better suit you.
The amount of space in your home will determine which sump pump is best for you. Pedestal sump pumps sit above ground and will take up floor space in your home. This can be an issue if your basement is a liveable space but is less of a problem if it's only used for storage. In comparison, a submersible sump pump is entirely underground, usually within your sump basin, so it won't take up any space. If you live in a smaller home, you may benefit from having a submersible sump pump.
Sump pumps can be noisy, and if they are running regularly, this can become an issue. Pedestal sump pumps tend to be louder because they are located above the ground level and will therefore be more noticeable than submersible pumps. If you have a smaller home where sound travels more easily, you might decide a submersible pump is worth the extra cost.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can I replace a pedestal sump pump with a submersible sump pump?
Yes, you can change the type of pump you have installed, but it will require some extra work to install it below ground.
How do you install a pedestal sump pump?
Your sump pump is installed just above and next to your sump basin. It needs to be connected to a pipe going into your sump basin to draw water out, and then connected to your drain line to remove water from your home. It also needs to be connected to an electricity supply so it can function. This is usually straightforward with pedestal pumps, but if you're inexperienced with DIY, you may want to hire a professional.
Does a submersible sump pump have to be submerged?
Yes, your submersible sump pump should be submerged before it's turned on. You can technically run the device when it isn't submerged, but it will quickly overheat, and the fans may even melt. Your submersible sump pump should be installed so that it only switches on when it's submerged.
Submersible sump pumps are more effective at their job and will remove more water from your home quickly. However, they are more expensive and more complicated to install. If you know you're dealing with high volumes of water, then you should go for a submersible, but if you don't need to use the sump pump as regularly, you should consider a pedestal sump pump as they are almost always cheaper.
Hopefully this guide has helped explain the key differences, and you now feel you can decide which sump pump is suitable for your home.