Water Powered Sump Pump Advantages And Disadvantages

Water Powered Sump Pump Advantages And Disadvantages

Your sump pump can fail anytime without giving you a prior warning due to mechanical issues or power loss. The good news? If you have a water-powered sump pump on standby, it’s possible to keep your basement dry even without access to electricity. So then, what are the pros and cons of installing this system?

Besides protecting your basement from flooding, a water-powered sump pump has several advantages over other pumps. This is perhaps because it does not use batteries or electricity to operate but water alone. Now, without further ado, let’s look at a water-powered sump pump’s advantages and disadvantages, how the system works, and some FAQs.

How Does Water Powered Sump Pump Work?

As the name suggests, this is a backup pump powered by your home’s municipal water supply. This means it does not run on batteries or electric power. Therefore, you must connect it to the water line in your house along with a discharge and suction pipe. But how does the pump work? 

The pump operates by harnessing the city water supply in your house to generate powerful suction. So, once your chief sump pump stops functioning, the water level in the sump pit usually rises. This opens the valve of your water-powered unit, letting in city water. As a result, the pump quickly empties any water in your sump pit, preventing basement flooding.

Water Powered Sump Pump Advantages And Disadvantages

Are you interested in getting a water-powered sump pump? If yes, perhaps you would like to know its advantages and disadvantages. Read on to find out the pros and cons of a sump pump.


Compared to other types of sump pumps, such as battery and electric-powered, a water-powered sump pump offers several advantages. These include:

Excellent backup sump pump

An electric-powered sump pump can only operate when there is power. So, in case of a power cut and you don’t have a backup generator or power inverter, the pump will go off. Battery-powered sump pumps, on the other hand, can only run for several hours during a power outage.

The good news? Your water-powered sump pump will run for as long as necessary when there is no electricity. The system just requires lot of pressure to ensure efficient performance. 

Minimal maintenance

A water-powered sump pump has two main components, including the valve and pump jet. Inside the pump jet and valve, there are no moving parts. Therefore, you can rest easy knowing that the pump will not break down over time. Even better, the pump does not have a motor that may burn out or fail. So, maintenance is only necessary after every few months.


Your water-powered sump pump will run continuously as long as there is adequate city water. So, once you buy the pump, that’s it. There are no other extra fees to worry about over the life of your pump, such as battery replacement costs.

Even better, the cost of buying a water-powered sump pump is lower compared to its electric counterpart. This is because the estimated cost is $120 to $400, while electric sump pumps are between $600 and $2,000.

Automatic activation

You don’t need to manually activate your water-powered sump pump in case of a power outage. This pump features an automatic ejector jet, valve, and float assembly. So, once the water level hits a particular point, your pump will automatically turn on to eject water out of the pit.


A high-quality water-powered sump pump can last up to 20 years or more depending on maintenance and upkeep. But overall, the average lifespan of most of these pumps is 10 years. That said, pumps made of premium-quality stainless steel materials are more durable than their PVC counterparts. 

Excellent pumping rates

High-end water powered sump pumps can pump at rates equal to or even higher than premium battery backup sump pumps. Some water-powered units can pump between 1,200 and 1,800 gallons per hour and others up to 2,700 GPH. 

Relatively easy to install

If you have basic plumbing skills and tools, you can install a water-powered sump pump yourself. The installation may take you 2 to 3 hours to complete with access to easy-to-follow instructions. You only need to know how to correctly position the unit above the primary sump pump. Then, connect it to the water supply and install the drain line.


Another advantage of a water-powered system is that most models work with any existing brand of primary sump pump. So, you don’t have to get a unit from the same manufacturer as the principal pump. 

Water-Powered Sump Pump Disadvantages

Water Powered Sump Pump Disadvantages

Even with their many benefits, water-powered sump pumps have a couple of drawbacks. Let’s check them out.

Needs high water pressure

A water-powered sump pump requires lot of pressure to operate efficiently. If your water pressure is barely 40 psi, the pump may not remove all the water in your basement.

Only operates on municipal water

If your house uses water from the well, a water-powered sump pump will not work. This is because during a power outage, well water lacks enough pressure. However, the municipal water pressure usually stays constant whether or not there is power.

High installation fee

If you hire a professional to install the pump, the estimated cost will be around $45 to $200 per hour. This is relatively on the higher side since the installation can take up to 3 hours or more.

Are Water Powered Sump Pumps Good? Why?

Yes, because the reliability of water powered sump pump is better than most sump pumps. This is because these systems don’t use batteries but only water. Therefore, the units are a good choice as backup sump pumps rather than primary ones since they can work even during a power outage. The best part about these units is they are easy to maintain, thanks to their simple design.

More so, water-powered sump pumps are cost-effective and boast long-lasting performance. This makes the pump a good investment once you connect them to municipal water with high pressure.

Related post: Water-powered sump pump vs battery backup?

Some Water Powered Sump Pump With Good Quality

Undoubtedly, you will come across many good quality water-powered sump pumps. If on a budget, you can find some good quality units capable of pumping between 1000 and 1,200 GPH. A good example is the Zoeller 540-0005 FLEX Series, B Burcam 300400ZN, and Basepump HB1000-PROWater Powered Backup Sump Pump.

On the other hand, there are high-end quality water-powered sump pumps, featuring exceptional pumping rates of up to 2,700 GPH. Some good examples are Water Commander Model MG36 and Water Commander Model MG22.


Now that you clearly know the pros and cons of a sump pump, check out these frequently asked questions.

How Well Do Water-Powered Sump Pumps Work?

These pumps run on municipal water once the power goes off. As such, they will work throughout until power comes back, even if it takes several days to prevent basement flooding. The pumps typically connect to the waterline of your house using a discharge and suction pipe.

How Much Water Does A Water-Powered Sump Use?

A quality water-powered sump pump uses a single gallon of your municipal water to pump out 2 gallons of water. So, if your unit has a pumping rate of 1,200 GPH, it will use 6,000 gallons of water. While using 6,000 gallons, it can empty 12,000 gallons of water from your flooding basement.

Are Water Powered Sump Pumps Illegal?

Yes and no. These sump pumps are illegal in states like Illinois because on grounds that the pump wastes a lot of municipal water. In addition, the city of Ohio has called out on these pumps for the same reasons. But in other states, these pumps are legal to install in your home.


Looking at the water-powered sump pump’s advantages and disadvantages, this system seems like a worthwhile investment for emergency backup. After all, you never know when your primary sump pump may stop working due to a power outage. Besides being long-lasting, a water-powered sump pump is also cost-effective, easy to maintain, and install.

The best part is that even if you are on a budget, you can find a good quality pump. Of course, there are also expensive models boasting high performance and pumping rates. The main drawback of this pump is that it cannot run on low-pressurized municipal water.

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