Tried and Tested – Why Pumps Have Hardly Changed in 50 Years

Sump pumps are usually impeller submersible pumps and are float operated. This combination has not really changed in 50 years because it just works – sort of like the wheel. There are, however, many homes that still use pedestal pumps because they were more popular until submersible pumps became more reliable. Here we’ll look at the difference between pedestal and submersible and look at the general pump industry over the last 50 years.

If you look at the pump page on Wikipedia¬†you’ll see that there are over 20 kinds of pumps. That is because some are slightly better at doing specific things than others. And as the engineer on a job you’d have to optimise for the things you want picking the pump that suits the task best. And for a sump pit it happens to be a submersible impeller pump. They’re affordable, durable, small and can manage decent flow rate.

Just look at the most popular sump pumps and you’ll see that most are the submersible type. Zoeller being the most popular brand. Over the last 50 years, the main change with the pumps has not been in working design, it’s been in manufacturing technology and materials affordability. So companies can offer a better quality pump (both in material and manufacture) for less cost. So given the market is there for a $150 sump pump, you can get what used to be a $1000 pump for your home.

Looking into the future, over the next 50 years, I see computers and electrics coming more into the control side of things. So I think these pumps will be “smarter”. They’ll be able to tell you when they need servicing and they’ll be able, maybe, to even book in over the internet the spare parts they require if they about to break down.

Pretty cool.

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