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3 Benefits Of Upgrading Your Commercial Sump Pump System To Variable-Speed Motors

by Harvie Simms

If your business is upgrading its sump pump or installing one for the first time, consider a sump pump with a variable-speed motor. Variable-speed motors are rare in residential sump pumps, but provide a number of benefits to commercial spaces. Larger commercial buildings need to pump out larger volumes of groundwater compared to homes, leading to a need for more powerful sump pumps. The power of commercial sump pumps come with a few downsides that are minimized by purchasing a sump pump with a variable-speed motor. Here are the three biggest benefits that choosing a commercial sump pump with a variable-speed motor brings to your business.

1. Prevents Rapid Cycling and Overheating

The first is that a variable-speed motor prevents rapid cycling of your commercial sump pump. Commercial sump pumps are necessarily much more powerful than residential sump pumps in order to handle the increased demands of a large commercial space. Without a variable-speed motor, a powerful commercial sump pump will turn on at maximum power when it detects a high water level in the wet well. Once the water level has fallen, it will turn off again. During periods of light rainfall, a commercial sump pump may switch on and off several times per hour. This rapid cycling has the potential to damage your sump pump, as starting the motor generates large amounts of waste heat that can cause the components of your sump pump to overheat.

With a variable-speed motor, a commercial sump pump can operate at a lower power during times of low groundwater intrusion. This allows it to pump water out of your basement while running continuously – at a lower power level, water will enter the wet well and be pumped out at a similar rate. This prevents damage to your commercial sump pump caused by rapid cycling.

2. Minimizes Stress on Your Emergency Generator

The second benefit of a variable-speed motor in your commercial sump pump is that it's easier on your emergency generators. In order to fully protect your basement from water damage, you'll need a backup electrical system from your sump pump. The reason is that you need your sump pump system the most during severe storms, which is also the time your power is most likely to go out. If all of the commercial sump pumps in your business have single-speed motors, they will all turn on at maximum power when they detect a high water level in the wet well.

When the power is out and all of the sump pumps turn on at once, there's a sudden massive amperage draw on your emergency generator system. This requires you to oversize your emergency generator in order to handle the starting load of the sump pumps, which increases your capital costs. Commercial sump pumps with variable-speed motors start at the low power stage and eventually ramp up, which reduces the sudden power draw.

3. Provides a Constant Low-Volume Flow to Avoid Overwhelming Outdoor Drainage Systems

Finally, variable-speed motors prevent you from dumping too much water on the drainage system outside. The purpose of a sump pump is to pump water out and away from your basement, where your building's outdoor drainage system and the municipal sewer system can divert the stormwater away from your business. A number of full-power commercial sump pumps starting at once will pump a large amount of water into your outdoor drainage system, which can overwhelm it – this can lead to water escaping your drainage system and soaking into the ground, where it will soon return to your business' sump pumps to be pumped out again. Variable-speed motors provide a slower, more constant flow of water out of your place of business. This allows your outdoor drainage to divert water away without being overwhelmed.

Overall, commercial sump pumps with variable-speed motors offer a number of benefits over those with single-speed motors. If you're installing a sump pump for the first time, you should also note that variable-speed sump pumps can typically use shallower wet wells than single-speed sump pumps. This is due to the fact that most businesses install deep wet wells in order to prevent rapid cycling, which is not an issue with variable-speed sump pumps. A shallower wet well can make a sump pump easier and less expensive to install. Whether you're upgrading your current commercial sump pump or installing one for the first time, contact a sump pump installation professional for guidance along with wet well sizing requirements.

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