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Adding a New Sump Basin? Size Matters…

If you live in an area where your sump pump runs all the time, now would be a great time to replace your small diameter sump basin with a new larger diameter basin.

A lot of plumbers and home owners ask me “What is the biggest problem you have with sump pumps?”. They are surprised when I tell them it’s the size of the basin or sump that the pump is put in that is the problem. Most new homes built in Wisconsin an Illinois receive a standard 18″x22″ basin that only holds 1 gallon per inch. The typical draw down or pump cycle is 4-6 inches. So that means each time the pump runs it’s only removing 6 gallons at best.

If you increase the basin size to 24″ in diameter you could double output per cycle to 2 gallons per inch, or 12 gallons per cycle. Your pump switch, which is what most people think is the biggest problem in a sump pump, should in theory double the life of the pump. If you could go to a 30″ diameter basin your cycle would be 3 gallons per inch and subsequently triple the life of your switch and pump.

Most pump manufacturers recommend the 18″x22″ basin as a minimum size for drainage sumps. So that minimum has become the industry standard. Which is fine if your pump seldom runs, but if you live in a high water table area that’s bad.

A lot of folks think a bigger pump will solve their sump pump problems. The bigger pump will only eject the water faster, the pump cycle will actually be the same as a smaller pump unless you can adjust the length of the cycle. Here too you are limited by the depth of the basin and the space for the adjustable floats to work properly.

A larger basin will allow a larger pump to cycle longer. It’s better to allow your pump to get 10-20 seconds of run time. The larger basin will also accommodate a secondary pump or a battery back up system and will allow for a better installation, where the switches will not interfere with each other.

If you are building a new home in a high water table area, ask your builder or plumber to install a larger basin, your sump pump will last longer.

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