Water Powered Sump Pump Disadvantages

This water-powered sump pump is being marketed as the answer to all our problems. But is this really true? So, you are here to find out the water powered sump pump disadvantages if any.

Waking up to a flooded basement seems like something out of a horror movie. Any homeowner who relies on a sump pump is no stranger to the anxiety that comes with a power outage during a storm. But this can be a reality you’ll experience if you don’t have a functioning sump pump.

So manufacturers have come up with a way to beat the flood at its own game: a water-powered sump pump. But, before we go into the disadvantages of a water-powered sump pump, let’s talk briefly about the types of sump pumps there are.

Types of Sump Pumps


There are different types of sump pumps that cuts across those powered by elctricity, those powered by batteries and also water-powered sump pumps. [1]

  1. Submersible Sump Pumps

As the name implies, this pump is submerged inside the sump pit. Most sump pumps usually stick out of the ground consuming more space and looking less visually appealing. Submersible sump pumps typically have a high-powered motor that can pump thousands of gallons per hour. [2]

This pump begins to pump water immediately after it detects water. Once it pumps water all the water out, it shuts off.

This pump is very appropriate for areas with heavy rainfall, but they are more costly and have less life expectancy than their counterparts.

  1. Water-powered Sump Pumps

These pumps may seem like the least popular, but they are unique. They function using a municipal water source, creating a vacuum that sucks water out of the sump pump. Thus, they don’t rely on electricity to operate and are very handy, especially during a power outage.

Water-powered pumps have no motor, battery, or moving parts. Instead, they operate on the principle of the Venturi effect. When the float/sensor for the backup pump is activated, it will open a valve connected to the municipal water supply.

The municipal water now flows through a constricted part of the pump ejector, which increases the water velocity and decreases the water pressure.

This creates a suction/negative pressure that draws sump water through a drain line and discharges it outside. They also don’t require maintenance because they have a long lifespan. But this pump will cost more because you’ll need excess water to create sufficient pressure for the pump to function.

  1. Pedestal Sump Pumps

They are also known as upright pumps because they have an exterior motor supported on a column attached to the pump’s casing. This motor is placed above the sump pit, so it doesn’t come into contact with water. An extension of the shaft reaches down into the pit. This makes accessing the motor quite easy during maintenance or repair.

This type of pump usually lasts 25 to 30 years. They are also ideal for small pits that don’t have enough space for the pump and its pipes. However, pedestal sump pumps don’t produce a lot of horsepower; hence, they cannot move large volumes of water and can be a problem for a low-level property. They also make more noise than submersible pumps.

  1. Battery Backup Sump Pumps

These pumps are also handy when there is a power outage. Battery backup uses electricity but it also has a stored battery that can also power them when there is a power outage. However, some backup units are solely battery-powered, while others are simply submersible pumps with a separate battery pump that operates when the power goes out.

This pump is also space-friendly, and it’s quite easy to fit into a small pit. But this pump can’t perform as well as the main sump pump.

This is because the battery can’t produce as much horsepower as an electricity-powered pump. This pump can usually pump water from a sump pit for up to 12 hours without a recharge.

  1. Combination Sump Pumps

This is the most reliable sump pump on this list. They are the most effective and efficient for the prevention of floods and water damage in homes. This kind of pump features two pumps and two types of power sources. The larger pump supplies the primary pumping and power, and it also runs off AC power.

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Water Powered Sump Pump Disadvantages

Sump_Pump_Running But_Not_Pumping.jpeg

As you should know by now, a water–powered sump pump is powered by well, water! Water from your city is what will be used to create a suction that will pull the sump water up a discharge pipe.

The dirty and clean water then discharges somewhere else, either into your yard or the street. Looking at all this, this pump seems rather ideal. But, what about the water used to create a suction?

I’m going to highlight a few disadvantages of the water-powered pump below;

  • The water that is used to create suction is clean, drinkable water that you will, of course, be billed for. Yes, the water is NOT free! These pumps usually use one gallon of clean water to pump out approximately 1-2 gallons of sump water at 60 PSI and between 8/10 ten foot head(these ratios are those you will get from a good manufacturer, but it can get worse with cheaper models).
  • If the water pressure should fall for any reason, your water-powered pump will be unable to meet the workload. A drop in water pressure could also cause dirty water to be siphoned back into your clean water supply. But some of these pumps do have a built-in check valve that prevents this from happening; in the city of Ohio, you must also install a backflow valve.
  • Water-powered pumps are complicated to install. This is because the pump should be correctly joined directly to the water supply piping in your home. Any improper installation may fail when faced with heavy rainfall.
  • Water-powered sump pumps cannot be used in houses with wells. Why? Because the water-powered pump relies heavily on water pressure to operate. It is only good for homes with the required water pressure to pump the sump water out, and homes with wells lack that water pressure.
  • Water-powered sump pumps are also prone to be overwhelmed when faced with large amounts of water at a quick rate, and this may force the sump pump to fail. This occurs because when the water level in this kind of pump gets to a certain level, the pump will struggle to control the flooding water. Also, the device may become clogged by dirt and minerals.
  • It uses about 2 gallons(7.6 liters) of fresh water to pump out 1 gallon(3.8 liters)of sump water, and this water consumption will reflect on the water bill. So if there is a malfunction and the float gets stuck in the ‘on’ position, you will end up with a very high water bill.
  • The water-powered sump pump is more expensive than all the other types of sump pumps.
  • If you’re an environmentalist, the idea of utilizing clean and drinkable water to pump out dirty sump water will not be quite palatable.

Read Also: Sump Pump Battery Backup Beeping

Final Thoughts

Although there are a few disadvantages to using a water-powered sump pump, this has proven to be among the best backup choices to protect your basement from flooding. In addition, this pump will clearly come in handy during a power outage.

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