Sewage Pump Buying Guide

If you are looking to buy a sewage pump, there are several important things you should know before buying. Regardless of whether you are trying to buy a new one for your new home or replacing an old one since that is causing problems.

Even the names that are used interchangeably can create confusion. And I will clear out the differences so that you know which one applies to what situations.

Worry not. Here in this detailed sewage pump buying guide, you’ll learn about the important factors you should know before buying.

But first, let’s clear out the different naming confusion.

Difference Between Effluent Pump, Submersible Sewage Pump, Sump Pump, Sewage Grinder Pump, Septic Tank Pump

Already confused? Right?

Yes, there are so many names for sewage pumps, and they’re often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences between the functions and applications.

Effluent Pump Vs Sewage Pump

Even though, sewage pumps are often called effluent pumps; they are not the same.

The key difference between an effluent pump and a sewage pump lies between the size of “black water” or “gray water” (means dirty water) solids.

An effluent pump can handle solid waste size up to half an inch in diameter whereas a sewage pump is designed to handle larger sewage materials and human waste of up to two inches in diameter.

Compared to an effluent pump, a sewage pump is more powerful and has a higher flow rate capacity.

Sewage pumps are often used in areas where municipal sewer access is not an option. Sewage pumps are usually in rural and suburban residential areas.

Sewage Grinder Pump

A grinder pump is just an industrial or commercial version of the sewage pump which is even more powerful and comes with a grinder that grinds larger debris and wastes present in the black water.

Typical use cases for grinder pumps are in food processing stores, bars, dishwashing companies, laundry, hotels and mini shops, public toilets, etc.

Septic Tank Pump

A septic tank pump is a submersible small electric water pump that is often installed either inside the final chamber of a septic tank or near a septic tank.

Sewage Pump vs Sump Pump

Despite their similarities, the key difference is that sewage pumps are typically two to three times more powerful and have greater capacity in discharging water waste than a normal sump pump.

And one other major difference is in what they are designed to do. A sump pump is less powerful and cannot handle larger debris and solids whereas a sewage pump is powerful enough to process such heavy-duty work. A sump pump is meant to pump relatively clearer water without too many large solid wastes.

Key Features to Consider Before Buying a Sewage Pump

Now, we’re clear on the naming and functional differences on some of the most common names and types of pumps. We should draw our attention to some key features that you should consider before buying a sewage pump.

Following are some of the key features you need to consider before buying a sewage pump:

Power – Horsepower (HP)

Power is one of the most important things to consider when buying a sewage pump.

The thing to consider is how many occupants are in the house and how frequent the pump needs to cycle. If you have less than 3 people in the household, a pump with 0.5 horsepower may suffice.

One good thing to remember is that the greater the power of the sewage pump, the more water waste it can move, and the faster it can do the task. Which in turn, makes the pump work less frequently. Also, the longevity of the pump is directly related to how often it needs to cycle and how hard it needs to work.

As you may already know how hectic and gross it may be to get it repaired if the pump fails, therefore, going with a cheap one might not be the best option in the long run. Invest in a good high powered pump that will save you time and money in the long run and also prolong the longevity of the pump for years to come.

Flow Rate – Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

The flow rate for a sewage pump is an extremely important thing to consider. As the flow rate, often measured in GPH or gallons per hour, is the measurement of how many gallons of waste matter the pump is capable of transporting in an hour. GPH is directly related to the pump’s power rating and also depended on Head Pressure* (see below for head pressure).

For instance, a GPH at 5 ft. of head = 2400 means that the pump can move 2400 gallons of water per hour when the height distance between the sewage basin and the septic tank is 5 feet.

Construction Material

As sewage pumps are submerged in some of the most polluted and dirtiest matter around them, these need to be made of some of the most durable construction materials such as cast iron or high-grade thermoplastic.

Cast iron made pump offers greater longevity and durability but is a bit more expensive than thermoplastic pump tends to be more economical yet offering good service.

Head Pressure

The head pressure is a factor that most people tend to ignore despite it being one of the most important factors.


Because it is directly related to the flow rate of the pump. Flow rate is the amount of water you need going back into the tank.

A sewage pump will need to pump water wastes through some heights of plumbing lines and a few elbows as well. Which in turn reduces the flow rate to quite a bit.

What does it mean?

A Pump with a flow rate of 500 GPH will only yield about 250 GPH or less due to head pressure, the weight of the materials and for some turns in the piping system.

Therefore, calculating the head pressure of your plumbing is so important. Once you do that, you need to then compare it to the flowchart of your pump that you’re considering.

Safety Features

As sewage pumps need to work a lot continuously and over an extended period, these often get overheated. And therefore, you should consider looking for features like Thermal Overload Protection. This feature is one that you need to prolong the lifespan of your pump. As it prevents the pump from getting overheated by automatically switching off when the internal temperature of the pump’s motor rises to a threshold critical point.

How to Select a Sewage Pump

Conclusion of Sewage Pump Buying Guide

So in a nutshell, before you intend to buy a sewage pump, there are few key questions you need to ask yourself and find the answer to it.

If you can answer the above questions, you should be able to choose a sewage pump that is suitable for your need and will last longer and offer you peace of mind for a long time.

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