CarKid1989 SuperDork
11/29/23 9:47 p.m.

Our house uses a sump pump setup and although it's not constantly running due to elevation and what not, when it rains it gets a workout.  Our neighbors have had crap pumps and issues and years ago several people had issues and pumps gave out and flooded basements. 
We currently have a Zoeller pump. M53 I believe.  It's got a battery backup system and a small backup pump too. 
I don't know when it was last replaced and we have been here for 5 years and I want to preemptively replace it. 

Should I get another M53 or upgrade to the M63 which had a few upgrades and all cast metal components?

Is there another comparable pump I should consider?

A good backup pump that's better or just something newer then I got?

Any upgrades I should be looking at since I'm replacing components?


mtn MegaDork
11/29/23 10:23 p.m.

Zoeller is the way to go. Can't help with the models right now but will ask my dad; he keeps 2 in the pit and 1 on the shelf, as well as an emergency pump.

Appleseed MegaDork
11/29/23 11:06 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

Cast iron housing, cast iron impeller, right? I believe that's the brand what I went with.

mtn MegaDork
11/30/23 10:26 a.m.

Asked Dad. He basically said that unless you have a specific reason to upgrade, the M53 is fine... But if the cost isn't a factor, there is a better warranty and other features that make the M63 worth it. 

Some things to consider: 

  • How often does it cycle on and off? The switch is probably the fail point, unless you have an iron ochre issue or similar
  • How long does it take to empty the pit? Make sure the 1/3hp is sufficient. It should be for most situations. We actually have explored adjusting the float so that it doesn't turn on until the pit is almost full - it only takes about 12 seconds to empty a full pit, so if we can reduce the number of times the switch is activated we'll extend the life of it
  • Dad cleans his every 3-6 months, because of the iron ochre issue that he has. This would be overkill for 98% of people, but taking a shop vac to the bottom of the pit every once in a while to clear out debris probably isn't a bad idea

To be honest, if you don't have a reason to replace your existing pump I wouldn't. Maybe add a 2nd or have a backup on the shelf, but if it ain't broke...

I personally have 2 pumps in my pit, on a battery backup. But the battery backup is only going to be good enough for about 8 hours, so if we have a power outage and serious flooding I have about 8 hours to get a generator or another battery in place. Keep that in mind. 

CarKid1989 SuperDork
12/3/23 12:52 p.m.
Appleseed said:

In reply to mtn :

Cast iron housing, cast iron impeller, right? I believe that's the brand what I went with.

Right. Thats the one. And the M63 has a few other upgrades too.

CarKid1989 SuperDork
12/3/23 12:58 p.m.

I hear you on the if its not broke dont fix it, my concern/ fear is that well get water in the basement due to a failed pump and Ill be out 10-20 large with rebuilding all the damage and then Ill be kicking myself over not spending $300.  I dont know the age of the unit thats currently in the pit. Of all the paperwork that came with the house, and it was extensive, there was nothing on the sump pump.

Ive spoken to our neighbors after the last big storm we had and pump failure caused many issues for them. Although to be fair, some didnt have a backup pump and others didnt have a battery backup. So its not the best most well rounded bit of info.


I think moving forward I would flush out the pit a bit as there is some silt and muck buildup down there and that cant be good for pump wear.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/3/23 4:32 p.m.

Here are my thoughts:  

1. Do you have a battery back up on your current sump pump?  I suspect you are more likely to experience flooding from power failure than you are to experience flooding from pump failure.  Heavy rain and wind event knocks down a tree somewhere and you dont have power for a day...basement fills up.  

2. Another option for backup pump is to stack the pumps.  Here is a well documented sample:  They build a structure:

I might consider less structure of making sort of a 3 leg table out of 3 metal legs and like a small Weber charcoal grill grate as the table top.  

Or, turn a wire trash basket upside down as the whole structure.  

Metal might rust.  If you can find one strong enough, an inverted plastic laundry basket:



mtn MegaDork
12/3/23 5:05 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

FYI, Zoeller makes a stand: Pump stand. Would still need to elevate it somehow to stack the pumps but it may be a good starting point. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/3/23 5:25 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

I think this picture is generally saying that PVC pipe, cut to length could be your 3 legs.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/3/23 6:10 p.m.

If you get the Zoeller battery backup system, cycle the battery powered pump every once in a while.  I didn't, and now that pump will not operate despite the battery being good and power getting to the pump.  Mine lives in a sealed crock due to radon issue so that might have accelerated development of this issue.  Now I have something else to fix over Christmas break ... 

Apexcarver MegaDork
12/3/23 7:04 p.m.

Not sure of brands involved, but multiple neighbors have had flooded basements during power outages multiple times. Ultimately, the battery backups didn't work. One of them put big money into an automatic on propane generator primarily for his sump pump. 


(I'm glad I have a crawlspace instead, it's flooded a few times, but not really a problem to fix after.)

Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
12/3/23 7:10 p.m.

I found this interesting- complicated and a waste of water but an interesting concept made by Zoeller. 

ggarrard GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/3/23 8:03 p.m.

Our backup system failed because the battery died even though it was connected to a charging power source.  Also found that the pump itself wouldn't have been strong enough to push the water up and out of the house.   We keep a new spare sump pump sitting on a shelf ready to install should the current one fail (it's at least 5 years old).

Instead of a battery backup system we rely on a generator to run the sump during outages.


P3PPY GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/6/24 11:38 a.m.

Adding onto this thread instead of starting a new one so their usefulness can be combined. 

We live at the top of a rise and have zero water issues. There are two dry holes into the ground in our basement. However, the basement drain is 4 feet up the wall and I'd hate to have a washer/humidifier/water heater failure go to the extreme. 

Are there any sump pumps out there that work fine without being first primed? The ones I've been finding want the air out before they work and that's not going to work well in our case.

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