Different Types of Sump Pumps: A Comprehensive Guide

Seattle area Sump Pump in basin. - Northwest Drainage

Sump Pump Introduction

A reliable sump pump is essential for safeguarding your home against basement flooding and water damage. Living in the Pacific Northwest, where heavy rainfall and damp conditions are common, choosing the right sump pump becomes even more critical. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of sump pumps available and their ideal applications. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, understanding these options will help you make an informed decision to protect your property.

Submersible Sump Pumps

Different types of sump pumps: Zoeller 53 submersible sump pump 1/3hp - Northwest Drainage
  • Description: Submersible sump pumps are designed to be fully submerged within the sump pit. These are the sump pumps that are typically used here in the Greater Seattle area.
  • Advantages:
    • Powerful: These pumps have high-powered motors capable of moving large volumes of water quickly.
    • Debris Filtration: Submersible pumps can filter out debris, preventing clogs.
    • Aesthetically Appealing: Since they sit within the pit, they don’t affect the visual appeal of your basement.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Cost: Submersible pumps are more expensive than other types.
    • Access Difficulty: Replacing or servicing them can be challenging due to their location within the pit.
    • Shorter Lifespan: Expect a lifespan of 5 to 10 years.
  • Best For: Areas with heavy rainfall and low elevation.

Pedestal Sump Pumps

Dayton pedestal sump pump - Northwest Drainage
  • Description: Pedestal sump pumps have motors mounted above the sump pit.
  • Advantages:
    • Affordable: These pumps are budget-friendly.
    • Easy Access: Their design allows for straightforward maintenance and replacement.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Less Powerful: Pedestal pumps are less efficient than submersible ones.
    • Visual Impact: The exposed motor may affect the basement’s aesthetics.
  • Best For: Narrow or shallow sump pits.

Battery-Backup Sump Pumps

Different types of sump pumps: batter backup Zoeller sump pump - Northwest Drainage
  • Description: These pumps operate on battery power during electrical outages.
  • Advantages:
    • Reliability: Ensures continuous operation even when the main power fails.
    • Peace of Mind: Protects against floods during storms or power cuts.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Battery Maintenance: Regular battery checks and replacements are necessary.
    • Limited Runtime: Batteries have a finite backup duration.
  • Best For: Ensuring uninterrupted pumping during power failures.

Water-Powered Sump Pumps

Different types of sump pumps: Northwest Drainage water powered sump pump - Northwest Drainage Seattle area
  • Description: These pumps use water pressure from your home’s supply line.
  • Advantages:
    • No Electricity Needed: Ideal for areas with frequent power outages.
    • Simple Installation: No battery or electrical connections required.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Lower Flow Rate: Water-powered pumps move less water per minute.
    • Higher Water Bills: Increased water usage.
  • Best For: Backup in emergencies when electricity is unavailable.

Combination Sump Pumps

Combination Sump Pumps installed and maintained by Northwest Drainage
  • Description: Combination pumps integrate features of both submersible and battery-backup pumps.
  • Advantages:
    • Versatility: Operates on main power and switches to battery backup during outages.
    • Best of Both Worlds: Combines the power of submersible pumps with backup reliability.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Cost: Typically more expensive.
  • Best For: Comprehensive protection against floods and power failures.


Different types of sump pumps have different types of drainage purposes. Choosing the right sump pump depends on your specific needs, budget, and local conditions. Here in the Northwest, Puget Sound area, most homes and businesses go with a Combination Sump Pump system. A main sump pump with a battery backup pump. Often times falling trees take out the power, and abundant rain hits at the same time. This is a reason why many folks go with a gravity drainage system, gravity never runs out of power.

As always, our suggestion is to consult with a professional drainage company to assess your requirements and select the best sump pump for your property. Remember, investing in a reliable sump pump is an investment in your peace of mind and the safety of your home. Stay dry, stay protected! 🏠💧