What is a Sump Pump?

What is a sump pump? It’s a small pump with an electric motor that’s designed to efficiently pump water out of your basement, or crawl space, to prevent damage from flooding. Read on to learn more about sump pumps, how they work-- and how to choose the right pump for your home.

And you can see my best sump pump recommendation for homeowners: the Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump on Amazon.

As you know, a flooded basement can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your walls, floors, furniture and appliances. But having a sump pump positioned in a sump pit, or in the lowest part of your basement or crawl space, can help you avoid a flood. A sump pump uses its float switch to sense when the ground water level in your pit is rising, and it automatically turns to begin pumping the excess water out of your home.

I highly recommend the Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump with 1/3HP, on Amazon, as the best submersible sump pump value for homeowners.  

Here’s why: the 1/3HP motor size is the right power size for the average sized home & it makes little to no noise when it’s running. And this Zoeller M53 sump pump has a high quality cast iron switch case, motor and pump housing. 

The Zoeller M53 will pump a maximum of 2,580 gallons per hour. It’s a workhorse!

Check Amazon’s price on the Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

what is a sump pump

When someone asks, what does a sump pump do?, I always say that a sump pump is just a centrifugal pump with a electric motor, and when it’s turned on, the motor turns the impeller of the pump. The impeller forces water through the outlet pipe and out of your house.

And the outlet pipe usually has a one-way check valve, near the pump, to keep water from coming back into the basement.

So a sump pump prevents flooding in your basement or crawl space.

What is the Best Sump Pump to Buy: Pedestal Sump Pump vs Submersible

There’s an on-going debate about what is the best sump pump to buy:  pedestal sump pump vs submersible models.

Pedestal sump pumps are installed on top of your basement floor while submersible pumps are installed in your pit – with only their top lids showing above your basement floor level.

Personally, I prefer the submersible sump pumps because they’re reliable, competitively priced and they’re quiet. I hate it when you can hear loud pump all over the house.

Here's my handy sump pump comparison chart:

Since submersible pumps are submerged, down inside the sump pit, their running noise is dampened.

Yes, submersible sump pumps may cost a few dollars more than a pedestal pump, but for those of us who hate the annoying noise of a running pump, it’s worth it.

And I do want to mention that submersible sump pumps are the most popular style sold to homeowners, which is something you should take into account when considering a pedestal sump pump vs submersible pumps. For my money, a submersible style sump pump is the answer to “What is the best sump pump to buy?”

And you can see my best sump pump recommendation for homeowners: the Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump on Amazon.

And then there are pedestal style pumps, which some people still prefer. A pedestal model stands on your basement floor – completely out of the sump basin. They work very well, too, but because the motor and pump are above the water, they are louder.

I can recommend the Flotec FPPM3600D 1/3 HP Pedestal Sump Pump on Amazon.

This pedestal style sump pump will pump up to 3,480 gallons per hour (GPH), is designed with a non-clogging impeller and has a top screen inlet with 1.25” discharge. The Flotec FPPM3600D has both thermoplastic and cast iron construction with an 6 foot, 3 prong cord/plug.

And you can check Amazon’s price on the Flotec FPPM3600D Pedestal Sump Pump.

Now you have a quick list of pros and cons to compare a pedestal sump pump vs submersible sump pump.


New Answers on this 'What is a Sump Pump" Page:

What is an automatic sump pump?

What is a sump pump motor?

What is a sump pump warranty?


Automatic Sump Pump vs Manual Sump Pump

What is a sump pump, that’s automatic or manual, mean? When you’re learning about what is a sump pump, remember that you can choose between a manual or automatic sump pump. Honestly, automatic sump pumps are incredibly convenient and they’re much more popular than manual sump pumps.

You can find manual sump pumps, and you might save just a few dollars, but what if you’re not home – or don’t notice - when flooding occurs? Then you’re going to have a lot of $ of flood damage.

That’s why an automatic sump pump is best: it will pump out the water in your basement - whether you’re home, asleep or away.  

And you can see my best sump pump recommendation for homeowners: the Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump on Amazon.

What is a Sump Pump Motor and Sump Pump Warranty?

And you’ll have to decide how much horsepower, in the sump pump motor, you really need. For homeowners, I always recommend getting a sump pump motor with 1/3 to 1/2 horsepower (HP). This will be more than enough power for almost all averaged sized homes, but it’ll still be priced within a competitive price point.

And don’t forget to look for the sump pump warranty from the manufacturer. It’s easy to forget this step, but I always feel that I shouldn’t invest in anything unless the manufacturer really stands behind their product with a good sump pump warranty. Most sump pumps have manufacturer’s warranties of 1 to 3 years.

Zoeller M53 Review

diagram of M53 sump pump

You might have heard of the Zoeller Mighty Mate M53 and wondered if this was the right sump pump for you.

The Zoeller Mighty Mate is a best selling sump pump for homeowners. It's a submersible sump pump, so it's very quiet, and you won't here it all over your house.

And the Zoeller Mighty Mate is rated at 1/3 horsepower (HP), which is enough power for most averaged sized homes.

If you want to read my in-depth review of the Zoeller M3 Mighty Mate, so you can decide if it's the right pump for you, Click Here.

And are you interested in learning more about sump pump installation and what is a sump pump? Then check out http://www.wikihow.com/Install-a-Sump-Pump

sump pump backup system

Unfortunately big storms can bring a lot of rain -- and cause a blackout that will keep your sump pump from working. What to do? You'll need the best battery backup for a sump pump, to keep your basement dry, even if your power is out.

The best battery backup for a sump pump is designed to automatically kick-on if your power fails, your primary sump pump breaks - or if you're primary sump pump is overwhelmed.

When your battery backup for a sump pump starts up - a flooding disaster is averted.

I can strongly recommend the Basement Watchdog BWE Emergency Back-up Sump pump on Amazon.

When your primary sump pump fails, is overwhelmed, clogs or wears out, the Basement Watchdog BWE  automatically starts up to pump up to 1,000 gallons per hour (GPH) at 10 ft lift and 2,000 GPH at 0 feet lift! It stands watch over your basement to make sure it doesn’t become a swimming pool.

What I REALLY love about the Basement Watchdog is that it has a unique LED control panel that actually tells you what’s wrong with your primary sump pump – and what to do to fix it! Genius.

And you can check Amazon’s price on the Basement Watchdog.

And if you want to read my full, detailed review of the best battery backup for a sump pump, Click Here.

You’ll be able to choose wisely now that you know what is a sump pump.