How Much Water Does a Water-Powered Sump Pump Use?

The amount of water that water-powered sump pumps use is less than you think.

Water Commander water-powered sump pump and sump
Water Commander™ water-powered sump pump

A very common question people ask when they learn about water-powered backup sump pumps is, “How much water does it use?” This is a great question, since unlike other emergency backup pumps that use batteries, water-powered pumps rely on your home’s water pressure to generate their pumping power. You don’t have to worry about using electricity or batteries, but it does use some water.

We can’t speak to other water powered sump pumps, but we can give you an idea of how much water our Water Commander™ water-powered backup sump pump uses.

1 Gallon of City Water Pumps 2 Gallons From Your Sump

Water Commander™ uses approximately 1 gallon of city water to pump 2 gallons of water from your sump pit. This ratio improves slightly if you have higher-end pressure (70+ PSI). (See exact water usage figures for our model MG22 or model MG36).

Once the water-powered sump pump is activated, 1 gallon of city water will flow through the pump and draw out 2 gallons from the sump, discharging a total of 3 gallons outside the home.

How Much Water Does It Use In One Hour?

While Water Commander will pump as often as needed, a typical frequency during a heavy storm could be one cycle per minute. Using 3 gallons of city water to remove 6 gallons of sump water per cycle, the pump would consume 180 gallons of city water in one hour. (3 city gallons/min x 60 minutes).

Do Water-Powered Sump Pumps Use Too Much Water?

You might be wondering, is this too much water? Well, let’s look at some statistics to gain perspective. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s fairly insignificant compared with how much water most people use during a normal day.

Typical Annual Water Usage: Equal to Running Sprinkler for One Hour

Lawn sprinkler using water
Annual water usage of a water-powered pump equals 1 hour of using a sprinkler.

Your average electrical power customer in the US in 2018 experienced an average of 6 hours of power interruption during the year according to the EIA. If, during these outages, your water-powered sump pump uses 180 gallons per hour (heavy storm scenario), this would mean the pump uses a total of 1,080 gallons of city water a year (6 hours/yr x 180 city gallons/hr = 1,080 gallons/yr).

A water-powered sump pump’s total annual usage of water of 1,080 gallons is comparable to running your sprinkler for only 1 hour, which uses 1,020 gallons. So an entire year of typical usage for a water-powered backup sump pump equals just 1 hour of watering your lawn!

Severe Scenario: Equal to Running Sprinkler for Four Hours

Let’s look at a worse case scenario—heavy rain for 24 hours while the power is out. The sump pump is running once per minute for 24 hours. Even at the 180 gallons per hour rate we cited earlier, that would only be 4,320 gallons over the course the entire day.

Using the sprinkler comparison again, that is roughly equivalent to running a standard sprinkler 4 hours over the course of a week. Remember, water-powered sump pumps aren’t keeping the lawn looking good, they are keeping homeowners from incurring thousands of dollars of expenses due to a flooded basement.

Water-Powered Sump Pumps Use a Relatively Low Amount of Water and Only in Emergencies

In reality, water-powered sump pumps are emergency backups. Most of the time, your main electric sump pump is keeping your sump empty of water. However, during a power outage or primary sump pump failure, your backup pump becomes crucial until power is restored.

Battery backup pumps often fail due to a dead battery or their limited run time. Water-powered sump pumps, however, will never run out of power. If you have to use a couple thousand gallons of water once a year (equivalent to running your sprinkler for several hours) in order to save your basement, this is well worth the small cost. According to one source, a flooded basement could cost you between $3,000 and $10,000!

Looking for a backup sump pump?

Water Commander Model MG22
Water Commander™ backup sump pump

If you are currently looking for an emergency backup system for your sump, check out Water Commander™. Water Commander™ is a water-powered backup sump pump that runs on your home’s municipal water pressure. Since it doesn’t use any batteries or electricity, it won’t unexpectedly lose power during a storm and will run whenever you need it to. Learn more by visiting the rest of our website. If you have any questions, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you out.