Pros and Cons of Water-Powered Sump Pumps

Understand the key advantages and disadvantages of water-powered backup sump pumps.

Water-Powered Backup Sump Pump Illustration
Water Commander™ water-powered sump pump

If you’re considering a water-powered backup sump pump, it helps to know the pros and cons of water-powered pumps compared to battery backup sump pumps.  Below, we’ve compiled a list of the major benefits and disadvantages.

Our comparisons are specific to Water Commander™, the water-powered backup sump pump that has unmatched pumping speeds and quality compared to other water-powered brands. (Learn more about Water Commander™.)

Always has power & the same pumping ratesRequires municipal water
No batteries to replace
Will operate reliably at full power for 20+ years
Low maintenance
High pumping rates (unique to Water Commander™)

Pros of Water-Powered Sump Pumps

One of the main benefits of water-powered backup sump pumps is that they will never lose power or experience reduced pumping rates due to battery drain. During a power outage, battery backups have a finite run-time (with a fresh battery, usually 4–7 hours of continuous use), while water-powered pumps will keep pumping as long as they are needed. Now if the battery in the backup sump pump system is several years old, it will have reduced power capacity and a much shorter run-time as a result. Homeowners often think they are protected by their battery backup, only for it to die a couple hours into a power outage during a heavy rain storm. (See our YouTube video showing how long a backup sump pump battery lasts, and why Water Commander™ is a better solution.)

Because water-powered sump pumps do not use any batteries, this provides significant cost savings over the life of the pump. If you own a battery backup sump pump, you should be replacing your battery around every three years. Each battery can cost around $200 including the battery acid (which is typically bought separately). However, water-powered backups don’t have any batteries or other components to replace, which means you spend significantly less money than you would with a battery backup system.

Water-Powered Backup Sump Pump Installation

Water-powered pumps have a simple design and few moving parts, therefore they require practically no maintenance and can reliably operate for many more years than battery backups. The heart of the pump, the ejector jet, has no moving parts at all and won’t wear down with use. It is recommended you test out your water-powered pump a couple times a year to ensure everything is in proper working order, but that is the extent of maintenance needed. Battery backups require regular upkeep, especially to maintain battery performance. For example, wet-cell batteries require you refill the cells with distilled water on a frequent basis. And when the battery begins to lose power capacity, you have to replace the entire battery or risk a flooded basement.

Using only your home’s municipal water pressure, Water Commander™ can pump at rates equal to or higher than a high-end battery backup. Unlike other cheaper water-powered sump pumps, Water Commander™ model MG22 can pump up to 1,800 GPH (gallons per hour) at a 10 foot lift, while our model MG36 can pump up to 2,830 GPH. For comparison, at the same 10 foot lift, typical 1/4 HP backup sump pump will pump around 1,000 GPH, while a higher-end 1/3 HP can pump up to 1,800 GPH. Not only do water-powered sump pumps provide all the benefits we’ve already discussed, but with Water Commander™ you can have the protection of fast pumping rates as well.

Cons of Water-Powered Sump Pumps: Needs Municipal Water

Water-powered sump pumps require municipal water and therefore will not work if your home is on a well after you lose power. Home’s with well water generally lose water pressure once the power goes out (assuming there is no generator), and in this scenario the water-powered pump will not run. Since water-powered sump pumps are designed only as emergency backups and not as the primary sump pump, they must have constant water pressure even during power outages. For homes on a well, the best option is a battery backup or a standby generator to power the primary sump pump.

Want to Learn More?

Water Commander Backup Sump Pump
Water Commander backup sump pump

Water Commander™ is a water-powered backup sump pump in a class of its own. Unlike other water-powered backups, it can pump more than a high-end battery backup while never losing power. You don’t have to worry about the headache or cost of replacing batteries, while still knowing your basement is well protected.  Learn more by visiting the rest of our website.  For example, our Installation page features photos from actual installs and configuration diagrams. If you have any questions, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Live demonstration of a water-powered backup sump pump.

Looking for a quality backup sump pump?

Water Commander™ is the best backup sump pump system available on the market today. It’s non-electric, can out-pump your electric sump pump, and will run at full power for years to come.

It is more reliable than battery backups and is the perfect solution for homes with municipal water.

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