How Big of a Sump Pump Do I Need?

One of the most common problems that can affect your home and its value is water damage from flooding, which is why it’s important to make sure that you have a sump pump installed in your house. It can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you have a house with a lower floor.

This is because you can prevent the damage caused by flooded basements by keeping water out of the walls and floors. The sump pump prevents this from happening, and it’s also an important safety measure, as it helps reduce the risk of drowning in case of an emergency.

You should get a sump pump that is as powerful as possible. This will ensure that the pump can handle large quantities of water in case of a flood or other emergency. You can check your sump pump’s specifications to determine the correct size for your house.

What size sump pump do I need? 6-Step process

Buying a sump pump is kind of like going to the doctor. You don’t really know what you’re getting until you see the seller take a physical specimen from you, inspect it, test it and explain the results. There are so many options out there, it can be hard to figure out what’s the best fit for your particular needs. That’s why I put together this easy-to-follow, 6-step process that will guide you through every step of the sump pump selection process… and make sure you end up with the best pump money can buy!

1. Determine the Purpose of Your Sump Pump

Sump pumps are an important part of homeownership and should be selected with care. They are designed to prevent basement flooding, but they can do this in a very noisy manner! The main thing you need to consider when choosing a sump pump is how much flow it has. If you have a large amount of water coming into your house, you should get a sump pump with a larger capacity. However, if you have a small amount of water coming into your house, you should get a sump pump with a smaller capacity. It’s a balancing act between having enough power to remove the water and not making so much noise that you wake up the neighbors!

2. Define the Expected Flow Rate

The expected flow rate of your sump pump should be based on the size of your basement or crawl space. You can find the size of your sump pump by measuring from the floor directly below the outlet (or lowest point) of your sump pump. Most home improvement stores have a formula that can be used to determine the size of your sump pump needed. However, it is always best to have a professional plumber install a new sump pump for you. This will ensure everything is sized properly and you get the maximum life out of your new pump.

3. Calculate the Required Size

While your average sump pump size will vary depending on the type of soil you’re dealing with, you should always be aware of your local laws regarding the amount of water that can escape from your home.

You need to know how much water your soil can hold before it starts flooding, and the best way to do this is by conducting a soil test.

This way, you’ll know the exact amount of water that your sump pump is able to pump out, and you won’t have to keep replacing your sump pump every time the soil gets wet.

When deciding on the right capacity for your sump pump, there are a few things you should consider:

Size of the house – You should decide whether or not you want a smaller, more compact unit, or a larger unit that is easier to install and maintain.

The number of people living in your home – If you have children or pets, you’ll probably want to choose a larger sump pump.

Water flow – The amount of water flow you need depends on the size of the house and the volume of water from any leaks.

A larger sump pump will be able to handle a higher water flow, but the size of your house will also determine the size you need.

4. Understand the Size (HP) Requirements

This is perhaps the most common question asked by homeowners who are getting ready to buy a sump pump. This is especially true for people who live in areas that experience heavy rainfall. Sump pumps come in many sizes and it is important to know what size you need before you even begin your search. The three main sizes are:

  • 1/2 HP – for up to 6 feet of water
  • 1 HP – for up to 9 feet of water
  • 2 HP – for up to 12 feet of water.

You can also get sump pumps with more power if your home gets really waterlogged. However, this isn’t necessary, unless you have a really huge basement or mudroom that needs constant pumping.

5. Keep in mind the Vertical Lift

Another important consideration when you are shopping for a sump pump is how high it can lift water (also called “vertical lift”).  The longer the distance between the pump and discharge point, the more force your pump will have to use to lift the water to the top. You should make sure that your pump is strong enough to lift the water all the way to the top of the tank. It should be able to handle the weight of the entire system without breaking.

The static head/vertical lift is important because many houses have a sump pit that is only 6-inches deep. If your sump pump can’t reach all the water in that 6-inch pit, then you could be facing some major water damage problems. Look for a sump pump with a vertical lift of at least 12-inches.

6. Consider the Friction Head

The amount of friction (friction head) a sump pump creates is very important. The head should be as close to the bottom of the sump as possible without touching it. The closer the head is to the bottom of the sump, the less resistance the pump will have to overcome when pushing water out. This means less energy is needed to get the job done, and the motor will last longer.

If the head of your sump pump is too far away from the bottom, the motor will have to work harder and that means it will burn out faster. If it burns out before the water reaches the top of the sump, you will have flooding problems instead of a sump pump problem.


If you own a home with a basement, you already know how important it is to have a well-working sump pump. But, chances are, you also know a few things about sump pumps that need to be clarified. That’s why I wrote this FAQ document.

What size sump pump do I need for my fish tank?

A common question from our readers is what size sump pump they need for their aquariums. The short answer is – it depends. The long answer is – it really depends on your tank, the amount of water you add to it, and various other factors. If you are adding a lot of water to your tank (like fish food or saltwater change), then you might want a bigger sump pump. On the other hand, if you are only adding a small amount of water every once in a while (like for a freshwater change), then you probably don’t need a sump pump at all. It all depends. You should talk with your local fish store, or an expert in water filtration and bio-control, to find out what’s best for your specific needs.

What size sump pump do I need for my crawl space?

A sump pump that is not big enough will not be able to drain your basement quickly, and you might end up flooding your crawl space or basement. It’s also advisable to have a backup sump pump in case the main one fails, but a lot depends on your environment and how old your home is.

What size sump pump do I need to drain a pool?

The amount of time it takes for your sump pump to drain your pool depends on a few different factors. The size of your sump pump, the size of your pool, and the power of your sump pump all factor into how long it will take. If your pump gets clogged with debris, or if there’s any sort of mechanical failure, it might take much longer than usual to drain your pool. So, to ensure safety, you should have enough time to get yourself and/or your family out of the pool before the water level gets too high.

What size generator do I need to run a sump pump?

A 10 HP (7.5 kW) generator should be more than enough to operate your sump pump. The amperage draw of your sump pump will depend on a few different things, like how long it has been since your pump was last replaced, and whether or not it is a self-priming or an electrically-actuated type.

What size battery backup do I need for a sump pump?

A battery backup of 10 amps will ensure that your sump pump works when power is cut off. If you need to use the pump for more than 10 minutes, then you can always install a larger battery backup.
What size breaker do I need for a sump pump?

READ MORE: 6 Best Sump Pump with Battery Backup.

What size breaker do I need for a sump pump?

The size of a circuit breaker you need depends on your local codes. In some cases, you may need to install a sub-panel or an additional breaker box. You can contact your electrician for more details.

In conclusion, when you’re buying a sump pump, it’s important to know exactly what you need. There are two common types of sump pumps: open and closed loop. Open-loop pumps operate by sucking the water out of the pit and into a system, then pumping the water back up to the surface. Closed-loop pumps are also called recirculating pumps because they have a closed system that pumps the water back up to the surface. The size of your pump depends on how much water you’re removing from the pit. You need a larger pump if you’re removing more water from the pit.

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