Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "What's the difference between a vertical and tethered float switch?"
A.Using a float switch with your sump pump ensures that the pump activates when water levels reach a certain height, thus protecting your home from flooding of groundwater. The tethered switches offered with DuraMAC pumps are attached to the top of the pump with small brackets, allowing you to adjust the length of the switch as needed. Alternatively, you may attach it to your discharge pipe, as shown here. Tethered float switches generally take up more space, and so are more appropriate for larger diameter, deeper sump pits. Because they aren't locked in place the way a vertical float switch is, they allow the pump to be off longer between cycles. The pump has more time to cool completely, which can sometimes reduce your overall power usage and lengthen the life of your pump. In contrast, a vertical float switch is somewhat locked into place on the side of the pump. This makes these types of switches very useful for a narrow or shallow sump pit. Using a vertical switch means your pump will run more often, but water levels will remain lower. Ultimately, the type of switch you choose will depend upon the space available to you and style of pump you choose. Don't forget there are electronic switch options available too!
Q. "What is a check valve and do I need one?"
"Do any of the DuraMAC models come with check valves?"
A.A check valve is a one-way valve that prevents water from running back down the discharge pipe and back into the sump pump. Thus, the pump does not have to re-pump water that it has already handled, saving on electricity costs and extending the life of your pump. The DuraMAC Submersible Sump Pump Pre-plumbed Package offered above does come with a check valve and discharge pipe already assembled for easy installation.
Q."What is a split capacitor motor?"
A. Split capacitor motors are becoming standard in most pumps now because they offer greater energy efficiency without sacrificing pumping power. It takes more energy to start the pump than it does to keep it operating. Essentially, this type of motor starts your pump with one capacitor and runs it on another, turning the starting current off once the pump begins running. This means you aren't continuously using the high volume of electricity required to start the pump for the entire time the pump is running. Once the starting current has been turned off, the motor uses only the lower volume of energy to keep the pump running.
Q. "Which is better? A thermoplastic or cast iron sump pump?"
A.There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Both thermoplastic and cast iron pumps are designed to last you a long time and the materials are comparable in function. Cast iron sump pumps are naturally somewhat stronger, which may be important depending on the your specific pump needs and the location of the pump.
Q. "What does it mean when you say the pump is thermal protected?"
A. Pumps can overheat when their motor is overloaded and the motor windings overheat which can cause the pump to stop and fail to start up again. Pumps can get overloaded when they are kept running but there is no longer any water to pump or the water level gets below the point where it no longer helps to cool the motor. Heat sensing devices are placed inside the motor to detect when excessive heat is generated and signal the pump to turn off to keep the motor from burning up. This overheating protection is referred to as thermal protection. Once the motor has cooled down the sensor system will reset automatically to allow the pump to start up again. If this happens you should check to see what caused the pump to overheat because there could be some obstruction to the water intake of the pump or there is no water flow.
Q. "What is total dynamic head?"
A. Total dynamic head is the combination of static head and friction loss. Static head is calculated by measuring from the minimum water level the pump can operate (where the water enters the pump) to the highest point of the discharge piping. Friction loss is the resistance to the flow of water caused by the discharge piping material, type of valves and number of directional fittings used like 90° or 45° elbows. The more 90° or 45° elbows used the greater the friction loss which could increase your total dynamic head calculation. The static head and friction loss must be added together to determine the total dynamic head.