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Looking for the best submersible sump pump

Sump pumps are available in different shapes and sizes, and UK consumers generally know them by the name submersible sump pump, dirty water sump pump, cellar sump pump, domestic sump pump, water sump pump, small sump pump, or portable sump pump

Although the submersible drainage sump pump goes by many names, every model in fact operates in almost the same way. They are all designed to drain excess rainwater in order to prevent flooding in your house.

Rainwater accumulates in the lowest part of the house, usually in a cellar or basement or crawl space. The hole in which the water is collected is called a sump. Hence the name ‘sump pump’, as the pump is placed inside the sump.

How does a sump pump work?

When it rains and the water in the sump reaches a certain level, the pump switches on automatically, with the water entering it through the suction grid. Inside the pump is an impeller, which moves the water to the pump’s delivery connection, the outlet, where it can exit the pump. From there it is transferred through a discharge hose or pipe to a location where it can be easily discharged, such as an empty well, a communal drainage point, a pond, or a stream. The water level required to be reached before the pump switches on and switches off varies per model. 

Major considerations when selecting a pump

Which pump is most suitable in your situation depends on a number of aspects.

  • Type of water: All sump pumps are suitable for pumping relatively clean water, which includes rainwater. If you are dealing with mud or water that contains solid matter, you will need to select a pump that is capable of handling solids. Please ensure that the water is still liquid and does not consist of thick or solid mud, because sump pumps are unable to process this type of matter.

  • Capacity: This refers to pump power and how many litres of water it can process per hour. If the pump is used for large quantities of water, it is better to choose a high-capacity model. It is important that the pump capacity is in line with the quantity of water that needs to be processed.

  • Delivery head: There is usually a difference in height, because water in most situations needs to be carried from a cellar or basement to a location away from the house. Backpressure may occur if a sump pump needs to transport the water upwards, which requires more power. Therefore, always check the distance between the pump outlet and the location where the water is discharged. Select a pump that can handle a higher delivery head.

  • Prolonged use: If you plan to make frequent use of the sump pump and for a prolonged period (more than three consecutive hours), you are advised to opt for real quality. DAB sump pumps have been designed specifically for this purpose. If you are faced with a tough job, we recommend opting for a high-quality pump. It will provide the optimal long-term benefit.

Automatic activation and deactivation of a sump pump

A sump pump usually features a float, which floats on the water and ensures that the device switches on automatically when the water level rises and reaches a certain height. The pump switches off as soon as enough water has been discharged. 

Floats come in the following types and shapes.

  • A float arm: This is a rod that is attached to the pump and moves up and down in accordance with the water level. Please make sure there is enough space for the arm to move freely.

  • A float cable: This is a cable that moves around the pump, up and down with the water level. It is important that the cable does not become stuck behind anything. The switch-on and switch-off levels can be manipulated by connecting the cable to the pump.

  • A sensor: Sensors are usually integrated in the pump, and therefore require little space. However, a sensor might become dirty and stop working efficiently. Therefore, do not use this type of float in combination with heavily contaminated water.

  • Built-in float: Some pumps are fitted with a different type of built-in float. Saving space is a big advantage here.

Discharge hose or pipe

A sump pump should be able to discharge water without getting too much backpressure. One of the most common reasons for backpressure is that the discharge hose or pipe connected to the pump is too narrow. A rule of thumb is that the hose diameter should at least be the same as (or preferably larger than) that of the pump outlet. For many of our sump pumps, this means the hose should be at least 25 mm in diameter.

Avoid frozen sump pump pipes

A sump pump absolutely cannot withstand frost. If water in the pump freezes, it will expand and may damage the pump or even cause your pipes to burst. Therefore, make sure you take adequate measures to prevent this from happening. For example, install the pipes at least 22 inches below the surface and insulate them. Furthermore, we recommend closing any gaps in the outside wall where the pipes pass through in order to minimise draught or cold air that could result in them freezing. In addition, a heating cable can be installed along the pipes, and can be switched on when frost is expected. 

Regular maintenance and inspection of the sump pump before the winter months will ensure that any potential problems are detected and dealt with early, thereby further reducing the risk of freezing. 

Collecting and recycling rainwater

You can also opt to collect rainwater in a reservoir instead of discharging it. You can make excellent use of this water to flush a toilet, hose down your patio or car, or even use it filtered to run the washing machine. A water pressure pump or a well pump can be used to transfer rainwater to these applications.

What to do if a sump pump is running but not pumping?

If the pump is running but not pumping any water, there may be air trapped in the pump body. This can be dealt with easily by placing the pump at an angle in a container of water so that the pump body can fill with water and any air can escape. The following video demonstrates how this is done. Make sure as well that there are no kinks in the hoses or pipes so that the water can move through freely.