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Old 08-22-2010, 12:45 PM   #1
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Sump pump questions


Please excuse the length of my setup description here. My home has a fairly steep hill to the west side and when it rains hard, the weeping tile that enters the sump pit from that side of the home, flows like a fire hose. I have a Flotec 1/2hp plastic submersible (3680gph) that usually has no problem keeping up with flow and can drain my fairly large sump pit in a matter of seconds. In a heavy downpour, it will cycle on/off every 30 seconds or so. Last night, for the first time ever, it was barely keeping up with the incoming water, was on continuously and I was afraid it was going to burn out or that the incoming water was going to win the battle (my wife and I started bailing the pit to help it out). I also have a water-powered back-up pump. In my area, the sump pump discharge line is connected directly to the city's storm sewer system.

My questions are:

1. Should I not be worried that the pump may stay on continuously in heavy flow? I have read that it may actually be better that it runs for longer times rather than on and off.

2. My Flotec is approaching 3 years of age and although it has been excellent, I want to get a better pump and throw it on the shelf as a backup. It seems everyone recommends Zoeller, but what other brands are recommended in case I can't get a Zoeller, and should I increase the horsepower to 3/4?

Thanks again and sorry for the length.

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Old 08-22-2010, 12:59 PM   #2
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You may want to consider a commercial pump, which would be one with a cast iron body, ability to run continuously in a dry condition, and one capable of handling 1 or 1.5 inch solids. That is what I use. I had a Barnes 0.4HP commercial pump, lasted about ten years, which is good for a submersible. I now have a Zoeller 3/4 HP pump, cast iron, 1.5 inch solids handling capability, will run continuously dry (this is an emergency condition which can occur if the float sticks open).

The Flotec is fine, but is not quite commercial grade, and certainly you would be doing well to get 5 years out of it. The biggest problem is that pumps tend to quit during rainstorms, so it is almost always less expensive to replace them on an basis of years rather than wait for them to die. Unfortunately, I know of no way to test a pump for incipient failure, mine died in a rainstorm and the basement flooded, but this occurred because there was a partial power failure that reduced voltage, which apparently burned out the pump.

As for the pump running continuously, mine has done that during prolonged periods of very heavy rain, such as the tropical storm we had up here some ten years ago, got about 12 inches of rain in 24 hours. That was a mess. There is nothing wrong with running a pump continuously, they are designed for that, however all pumps have a certain number of on off cycles before they die, and a certain number of run hours, they die when they hit either their cycle limit or run hour limit.

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Old 08-22-2010, 01:24 PM   #3
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You might want to consider regrading that hill on the west to add a retaining wall with drainage pipes that will carry the water away from your house.

Also, if your pump is actually pumping water out, the chances are less likely that it'll burn out compared to if it was pumping dry.

If you think about it, your sump pump probably runs only when it rains, and it's not raining every day. I've heard of people who've had pumps for much longer than you have had yours.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post
You might want to consider regrading that hill on the west to add a retaining wall with drainage pipes that will carry the water away from your house.

Also, if your pump is actually pumping water out, the chances are less likely that it'll burn out compared to if it was pumping dry.

If you think about it, your sump pump probably runs only when it rains, and it's not raining every day. I've heard of people who've had pumps for much longer than you have had yours.
Unfortunately, we have an above ground swimming pool in that location and regrading would be impossible at this point.

I went shopping today and these are the brands in the major stores around here:

1. Red Lion (made in Taiwan)
2. Burcam (made in Canada)
3. Rigid (made in USA)
4. Flotec (made in China)

Nobody sells Zoeller around here. I'm going to check for online sales.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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You'll have to go to a plumbing supply or pump supply house for zoeller, I've used Gould's pumps for awhile, never had any issues with them. Used liberty in the past. They were a bit cheaper, but didn't seem as well built as zoeller or goulds
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:42 AM   #6
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Just a followup: I have contracted Basement Systems to install a Zoeller M98 1/2hp sump pump and a complete battery backup pump with an alarm/monitoring system. My current Flotec 1/2hp pump does 45gpm @ 10ft and the Zoeller will do 61gpm so, I'm hoping this is the extra oomph I need. Plus, I'll sleep a little better knowing that the battery backup will be there to take over in a power outage or primary pump failure. I'm also going to install some pvc pipe on the Flotec and keep it beside the pit for an easy swap-out just in case something were ever to happen to the Zoeller.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:26 PM   #7
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Something to consider-- Do you have room to install both pumps in your pit? This way you would have one on standby, ready to go instantly.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
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Something to consider-- Do you have room to install both pumps in your pit? This way you would have one on standby, ready to go instantly.
I don't think so as it is only an 18" wide pit. One of the options the company presented me was their "triple safe system" comprised of 1/3hp & 1/2hp Zoeller pumps, plus the battery back-up. It involved installing a larger sump pit (thus breaking the basement floor). The cost was over $3200 and not within the budget at the moment.

I'm going to ask them to make sure the check valve/rubber coupler is installed above the floor so it's just a matter of unscrewing the clamps, taking out the existing pump, and inserting the backup. Hopefully, my Zoeller lives up to its reputation and gives me many years of reliable service so I won't have to resort to this plan.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:40 PM   #9
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Audioquest - Thanks for taking the time to come back and post the solution you chose. It's always interesting to hear people's issues, see their research and find out what option they have decided to follow. Love to know what you thought of the folks at Basement Systems when your installation is complete. Thanks and have a great day!

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