Why 1/2HP Sump Pumps Are Strong Enough For Most Basements

Bigger is always better – or is it? While this rings true for many things, when it comes to sump pumps, this actually isn’t always true.

Sump pumps are those pumps sitting in your basement’s sump pit that pump out the water that would otherwise flow into your living area. So they’re quite the important little devices for protecting your house’s infrastructure and many homeowners want to make sure it’s the right one. They may be tempted to get a super powerful one, but in this article we’ll go through some of the reasons why that may be a mistake. You see, larger sump pumps are less energy efficient and can also cost more to purchase and to install. So if you can do with a smaller, cheaper model, why wouldn’t you? 

To cut to the chase – 1/2HP sump pumps are strong enough for most home applications, but let’s get into some of the determining factors first which influence what type of sump pump you may need.

Factors that influence how powerful a sump pump you need

For homeowners living near large bodies of flowing water or in areas that are prone to frequent flooding, the topic of owning a sump pump can come into question. What size sump pump is sufficient for the average home?

There are a number of factors that come into play when deciding on which kind of sump pump to choose. Normally, the proximity to flowing bodies of water is the most important factor. Living downstream or close to any flowing body of water may make sump pumps a necessity to keep your basement dry.

You may also require a sump pump if the basement is below sea level if you are near a lake or ocean area. These are contributing factors to having a high groundwater level around the house. But just being close to a body of water isn’t the only factor. The amount of precipitation your area is also a big contributing factor.

So, now we know that building in lower-lying areas can lead to basement flooding. It may be wise to find out from the realtor if the basement has been prone to flooding during heavy rain periods. Regardless of the reason or frequency of flooding, owning a high-powered sump pump isn’t a necessity in most cases.

Why a 1/2HP pump can do the trick

For the average homeowner, a 1/2 HP sump pump will be efficient enough to get the job done. Larger pumps take up more room and use large amounts of that could be saved by opting to buy a 1/2 HP pump.

Large, higher-powered sump pumps are generally only needed if pumping water over long distances. Average to large-sized homes can be pumped efficiently enough with a 1/2 HP sump pump.

The two most practical options for a home will be a 1/3 HP and a 1/2 HP. Although purchasing a 1/3 HP pump will get some homeowners by, certain factors must be taken into consideration when deciding on the two.

If the home has a deep laying basement, the 1/3 HP may not push enough pressure vertically to fix the problem. The 1/2 HP versions have enough extra power to ensure the pressure is high enough to pump the water at a rate acceptable enough to continue a healthy flow. That’s why it’s important that you always check the gallons per hour a pump pushes out at the height measured from the bottom of the sump pump pit all the way up to the point where the pipe exits the house. Luckily, there are websites that provide the information on the gallons per hour of every sump pump, as you can see here.   

Homes located at the bottom of hills will be at a higher risk for flooding scenarios. The 1/2 HP pumps can pump larger amounts of water at a faster rate, leading to less chance of standing water in the basement or lower levels of the house.

Heavy rain scenarios can quickly lead to standing water and leaks in lower-lying areas. A 1/3 HP pump may not push enough power to clear the water needed to prevent flooding.

It is important to keep all of these factors in mind when deciding on a pump. Surprisingly, the difference in price between a 1/3 HP pump and a 1/2 HP pump is not that great. Leaking and natural disaster scenarios are unpredictable and by the time you realize you need more power, it could be too late. However, if you live in a relatively uneventful area when it comes to the weather, a 1/2 HP is very likely to be enough of a preventative measure to keep your home safe from future water damage.