There are two different kinds of pumps used in the home today – each of them with their own unique purpose. One of them is used for the removal of ground water. The second is used to remove sewer waste from areas that are not served by a gravity sewer. These pumps are known as a sump pump and an ejector pump respectively. The sump pump can only move clear water that has no waste in it. The ejector pump is designed to move sewer water that contains human waste and paper.
Now to distinguish between the two different kinds of pump designs – the submersible and the pedestal…
The first – the submersible pump – is the more common of the two. That means that the pump and the motor as well as the switch all sit submersed under the water. Both sump and ejector pumps are made in the submersible design. Submersible pumps have been around for nearly a century but they have only been used in the home since the mid 1960’s and happened to gain popularity in the 1970’s as an inexpensive alternative to the vertical or pedestal pump.
The vertical, or pedestal pump as they are called by plumbing professionals, was the original style of pump that was installed in the home for both sump and ejector use. It is very uncommon to see a pedestal pump nowadays, though, since they are typically more expensive than the alternatives. The benefit of the pedestal pump, however, is that the motor and switch are both located out of the water. This design gives the pedestal pump a much longer life than that of a submersible pump. The average pedestal pump will last from 30 to over 40 years whereas a submersible pump averages between 5 and 7 years. You may wonder how the performance compares. The average submersible pump can pump between 25 and 40 Gallons per minute. The average pedestal pump will pump 120 gallons per minute.
So, back to our original question: “Why do so many people flood even though they have a pump?” The reason is that you most likely have a submersible pump, which can’t keep up with the torrential downpours we experience here in Chicago (especially this summer!). As a family business in the plumbing and sewer industry since the Great Depression (the first Great Depression I might add), we have seen many a house flood because of a submersible pump that could not keep up with the speed of water.
If you plan on being in your home for any significant amount of time, it makes the most sense to install a pedestal pump that has a long lifespan and you won’t have to worry about replacing it for few decades. If you are interested in learning more about pumps or would like to have one installed, please call our professional staff and we would be more than happy to design a system that will keep you safe, dry, and will last a very long time.
Subscribe to Baethke Plumbing's Blog