Usually, when people are asking for the difference between a submersible and a pedestal sump pump, they want to know which of these two options is the best for their home situation. Maybe your sump pump needs replacement, or you’re just a new homeowner that wants to secure his or her basement against water damage. In this article, we’ll explain to you what the difference between these two varieties is, so that you can figure out yourself which of the two options is most suitable for you.

The most crucial distinction between pedestal sump pumps and submersible sump pumps lies in where the motor of the pump is located. A submersible pump is constructed such that it can be submerged enitirely and still function, while a pedestal pump’s motor is located above the water and should not be covered in water entirely. Consequently, they look different. Pedestal sump pumps stand on a pedestal (a pole), while submersible sump pumps are less tall and usually a bit broader. Pedestal sump pumps tend to be cheaper and last longer; submersible ones are more powerful.

While submersible pumps are typically stronger and consequently more appropriate for pumping water over large distances, the latter is better for removing excess groundwater at short distances, since pedestal sump pumps tend to be less powerful. The submersible pump handles more significant water volumes during a given period than the pedestal pump. Some models are designed for pumping water continuously, but usually they’re only required to run at a certain interval, namely when the sump pump pit fills up with water.

How (both pedestal and submersible) sump pumps work in general

How sump pumps work is pretty straight forward. They collect water that is collected in a resevoir between your basement floor and the ground on which your house stands. This is called the sump pump pit (or short: sump pit), and all the water from around and underneath your house flows towards this pit. That’s true for properly constructed houses, anyway. From this pit, the sump pump then collects the water and pumps it away.

The water is pumped from the bottom of the basin into a cylinder through an inlet pipe. The outtake pipe connects to a discharge pipe. At this connection a check valve must be installed, to prevent water from flowing back into the pit. From there, finally, the water is discharged far away from the foundations of your house. While most sump pumps can handle up to 500 gallons per minute, in some scenarios you’ll want a pump that can pump more water out, for example if you live in an area with flash floodings. Generally, though, you shouldn’t get a sump pump that’s unnecessarily strong, since it’ll cost more energy to run.

The submersible pumps also have a permanent seal to prevent any leaks. Given that the motor is completely under water, this is quite crucial. Compared to pedestal pumps, which often extend above the sump pit into the visible area of your basement, submersible pumps are usually installed on the bottom floor of your sump pit. Some industrial models are designed to be able to deal with heavy pressure that is present at depth, but for domestic uses most submersible pumps don’t need extraordinary pressure resistance, since the sump pit isn’t that deep.

Choosing a submersible or a pedestal sump pump

It is important to know the difference between submersible and pedestal pumps before making a decision on which one to get. One advantage that a submersible pump has over pedestal pumps is that the former requires less maintenance. This is because the pump is is more capable of handling solids such as small rocks and stones. Most pedestal pumps can’t tolerate anything else than water and will get stuck once debris can be found in it. So if you live in an area with lots of erosion, you may be best adviced to get a submersible sump pump that can handle large solids.

It can be tricky for homeowners to choose the right pump. With a submersible pump, you will need to consider several things before making a final decision. The foremost thing is that your pump should actually fit inside your sump pit. Moreover, you may want to take the price into consideration, as these vary greatly between pedestal and submersible pumps.

Another good thing to take into consideration isthe material out of which a pump is constructed. Pedestal sump pumps tend to be made from thermoplastic, while submersible sump pumps are usually made from durable cast iron. Finally, it is necessary to consider the type of warranty that comes as a part of a submersible pump. These vary greatly between sump pumps, and also between the two types of pumps. While some companies offer a one-year guarantee, most others offer warranties ranging between two and three years.

A submersible pump is considered by many to be the safest of all the pumps, as they run by the water’s pressure and not it is suction. Submersible sump pumps are less likely to burn out or corrode than pedestal pumps because they do not use suction to force water into the pump and cause corrosion or wear. Pedestal pumps are usually noisier and more likely to corrode than submersible pumps because of the noise they make.

A submersible pump’s cost depends on the pump’s capacity and how much debris it can remove per hour, and on the brand. Pump capacity is determined by the gallons per hour of moving water the pump can produce. If your basement is not that deep, it is best to get a smaller pump. Bigger pumps will cost more to operate since they will be utilizing much more electricity to do the job.

The most important consideration when purchasing a submersible sump pump is the longevity of the pump. A person would want to find one that will last for many years. There are even pumps that are resistant to corrosion. You should check the average lifespan of a each sump pump you’re interested in, as these will vary greatly. Funnily enough, while pedestal sump pumps are on a whole considered to be slightly worse than submersible sump pumps; they do last a lot longer on average.

Another difference is found in how quiet they are compared to other pumps. A submersible sump pump is designed to run quietly underwater, so a person will not have to deal with annoying sounds. The water surrounding it also serves as a near-impenetrable barrier for any sound the motor will make. The pump is enclosed in a waterproof plastic tube that is exceptionally durable. So These types of pumps are also much quieter than pedestal models.

Finally, it would be best to look at how easy it is for the pump to handle debris. A submersible sump pump is specifically designed to handle debris. A person will have no trouble cleaning up if a person should accidentally finds themselves in a situation where debris is present. On the other hand, pedestal pumps are not designed to handle debris.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the decision to go for a pedestal or a submersible sump pump is up to you. You now know that a pedestal sump pump is cheaper but makes more sound than a submersible sump pump. You’ve also learned that submersible sump pumps are better equipped for handling small rocks in the water and other solids. Conversely, pedestal sump pumps tend to live longer, so they do not need as frequent a replacement as submersible ones.

And those, my dear readers, are the differences between submersible and pedestal sump pumps!  

Author Bio:

Eric Muller is a sump pump expert and has experience with installing, repairing and selecting sump pumps for domestic use. He also likes fishing and any type of home improvement project – of which he does a lot. 

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