Should I upgrade sump pump?

redfoxcindyJuly 27, 2011

I live in Chicago area. We had the biggest rain last week which made our sump pump overwhelmed (it got activated almost non-stop) and shut down itself during the peak of the storm! We had to rely on the back up sump pump and also manually remove the water to the sewer sink to avoid flooding at 3am in the morning. The sump pump we have now in our basement is Barnes SP33 by Cranes, 1/3 HP, 1.5" dischage pipe. Our sump pit is 36" deep and 16" in diameter. The plumber suggested us to upgrade to a more powerful sump pump, like 2/3 HP, or even 1 HP to handle our water issue. However, we're not sure if that's the right solution, because we don't know if the discharge pipe can handle so powerful a pump. The discharge pipe is about 10 feet horizontally and about 8 feet vertically in the basement, and outside the house it's about 50~60 feet long, the size is always 1.5", most of it is the rigid white PVC pipe, but the final 15 feet are the black flexible pipe. Normally when the sump pump pumps out the water, we can hear some gurgling sound in the line, it seems to us the remaining water in the pipe has a hard time coming back to the pit. Can any sump pump experts answer our questions below please?

1. Is the discharge pipe too small or/and too long for the current 1/3 HP pump?

2. Which is the appropriate solution to our issue -- to increase the size of the pipe outside the house, or to upgrade to a more powerful sump pump?

3. There are a lot of small gravels at the bottom of our sump pump. Can they potentially clog the sump pump?

4. The sump pump is plugged to a wall outlet which is not GFCI. Is that a potential issue? Can we use a outlet board with surge protection for the sump pump?

Many thanks in advance...


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Check the output connection on your sump pump. Nearly all sump pumps have a 2" discharge port and they put a 2"x 1-1/2" reducer in to attach an 1-1/2" line.

While the pumps are rated to use either size you must keep in mind that a 1-1/2" line only has 1/2 the capacity of a 2" line. By increasing the line to 2" it will reduce the operating time by nearly doubling the discharge capacity and also reduce the friction head load on the pump.

If your house electrical system is properly grounded you could remove the standard duplex electrical outlet where you have it plugged in and replace that outlet with a GFCI outlet. That would be a fairly simple DIY job and the GFCI outlets are relatively cheap (approx $10 +/-)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 3:45PM
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in the past 8 years I have replaced 2 pumps and in the booklets, they explicitly stated it was not advisable to use the pump on a GFCI circuit. I respect your opinions and consider your information to be top notch stuff. Would you please help me understand why I should use a GFCI circuit?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 6:09PM
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In my jurisdiction it is a code requirement

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Can he get away with no GFI if it is a dedicated circuit? That would be my choice if possible. A nuisance trip that floods the area will be a really big nuisance.

OP, if flooding there will so a lot of damage, my personal choice would be to have a second pump with a second set of pipes as a fail-safe.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Using/not using a GFCI on sump pumps, refrigerators, freezers always causes a hot debate. These appliances are prone to nuisance tripping just by their nature. GFCI's are intended to save human lives and the consequences of a nuisance trip are trumped by human life as far as the NEC is concerned. If in doubt or if a GFCI is required in your area I suggest installing an auto reset GFCI, at least you'll have some chance of diverting damage.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 9:18PM
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I finally got back my password and am able to log on again. Thanks every one for giving me suggestions. Based on your comments, we will not use GFCI outlet for the sump pump. We'll see if we can do anything to change the discharge pipe. The Village suggested us to fix the grading problems of our yard, which I think will greatly reduce the amount of water that the sump pump has to deal with during a storm. Again, big thanks to every one!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 1:24PM
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