Why a Wye?

Why (or why not) a Wye?

We were recently doing a little research on our competitors, calling around to find out what they offer, and how they price their products. I was struck when one company told me “a wye fitting is an absolute joke, you’ve got to have two separate discharge pipes if you have a backup system…” First, a little bit of background on what he meant, and then we’ll get to what it means for you.

Y-Fitting - The Sump Pump Company
Ensures the most Direct path for unrestricted and redirected flow

A “wye” fitting looks just like it sounds – it’s a pipe fitting shaped like the letter Y, which is commonly used to connect a primary pump and a battery backup pump to a single pipe which carries the water away. A backup pump can be connected to the same pipe as the primary, or a completely separate pipe can be installed.

It’s true that having a separate pipe for the backup pump affords extra protection. If something clogs a single discharge pipe downstream of the wye fitting, BOTH pumps would be unable to function. While there is little doubt that two pipes are better than one, does that mean you should be losing sleep if you DON’T have a second pipe for your backup??

The short answer is, probably not. In our experience, we’ve seen only a very few instances where a discharge pipe problem stopped a pump from working. In one case, the check valve disc broke free and clogged the pipe, and in a couple of other cases, the pipe froze outside because it was not sloped properly and held water. These are not common issues.

In my own home, the pump discharge goes right through the side of the house to a storm drain. Adding a second pipe would be absolutely trivial, but I haven’t done so, because I’m just not that worried about it!

Depending on the cost, you may decide it’s worthwhile to add a second discharge for the extra protection and peace of mind it brings. That cost can vary quite widely depending on the situation – for example, it may be quite easy in an unfinished area, or very difficult in a finished basement.

At the end of the day, having two discharge pipes is better, but in our experience it’s NOT one of the more important factors. Having a good backup pump system is the best thing you can do to protect yourself!

If you do decide you’d like a second discharge pipe, we’re happy to help. Because every installation is unique, we have to view your situation in order to provide pricing. Feel free to call us at The Sump Pump Company at 847-967-PUMP (7867) or contact us through the web site to schedule an appointment.

– Dave


To GFCI or not to GFCI When Installing a Sump Pump …

GFCI-outlets – thesumppumpcompany.com

Yes, that really is a good question. But first, let’s make sure you all know what I’m talking about when I say “GFCI”. The acronym GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. You’d probably recognize a GFCI protected electrical outlet – it’ll have the little black and red TEST & RESET buttons… The purpose of a GFCI device is to protect people from electrocution. They have very sensitive current monitors, and when any current fails to return to the outlet (such as current that is electrocuting a person), the device trips off almost instantly. Great for protecting people, but not so great at protecting your home when the GFCI outlet trips off for no good reason. Which is exactly what happened to me yesterday!

There is somewhat of a debate over whether or not to use a GFCI outlet for a sump pump. Some would argue that since we’re plugging equipment into an outlet, and that equipment is going to be SUBMERGED IN WATER, that it’s a good idea to have a GFCI to protect someone in case that submerged device has a problem. Many local codes require GFCI outlets in basement mechanical areas, while some prohibit GFCI outlets for sump pumps. Some pump manufacturers recommend using a GFCI outlet, while others recommend against using one. My local plumbing inspector in Gurnee is upset that our codes require GFCI – his personal opinion is that they should be prohibited.

Why is it such an issue? NUISANCE TRIPPING is the reason. GFCI outlets tend to be sensitive, and sometimes they trip off for no apparent reason. I have one in my master bathroom, and about every 20th time I turn off the bathroom lights, I hear a “click” and the GFCI has tripped off. No more lights until I push the reset button! That’s not such a big deal when you’re talking about a bathroom light, but it IS a big deal when you’re talking about the power source for your sump pump equipment!!

The bottom line is, no matter what kind of electrical circuit you have, YOU NEED A BACKUP PUMP SYSTEM! Once again, my trusty Pro Series 2400 battery backup saved the day yesterday. The GFCI tripped off (who knows why), my pump system sensed it, it alerted my home security company, and they called me (I think they’re actually getting tired of all the recent pump alarms, but what can I say, MY SYSTEMS ARE WORKING JUST LIKE THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO!)  Then, it ran to pump the water out and keep my basement dry. Twice this month, my backup pump system saved me from a flood!

Don’t fall victim to the inevitable failure of your primary sump pump. Make sure you have a good backup system, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from NOT worrying about flooding!

– Dave

My Sump Pump failed.

Yes, MY sump pump failed last week!

I guess it happens to the best of us… Last week (Friday the 13th to be exact), we finally had a storm up at my house in Gurnee that dumped over an inch of rain in a short time. The ground was extremely dried out after what seemed like months without rain, so the water soaked into the ground and inundated my sump basin very quickly. I was surprised by how much mud and debris washed in – I think the fact that it was so dry had something to do with that.

Battery Backup Sump Pump System
Battery Backup Sump Pump System

Well, a pebble or something got stuck in the impeller of my main pump, and it wouldn’t run. No problem, since I have a Pro Series 2400 battery backup pump system in my basin! That baby fired right up, pumped the water out, AND alerted my home security company, who called to say I’d had a sump pump alarm. Since I knew I had power, and since my 2400 can run indefinitely when it has AC power (unlike most other backup systems, which run off of their BATTERY, whether or not AC power is available), I wasn’t worried at all.

Maybe I’m not worried enough, because it’s nearly a week later, and I still haven’t put my main pump back in the basin! Whatever was in the pump must have fallen out when I removed it from the basin, because it spins perfectly now. I just need to find a couple of minutes to reinstall it.

I’m going to use this opportunity to change pump switches – I’ll be removing my DFC2 controller and dual-float switch, so I can try the new USC3 “Ultimate” sensor and controller. This thing has no moving parts at all, and supposedly it doesn’t get fouled by buildups of debris over time, so I’m excited to see how it works. I’m probably going to beat it up pretty good (wonder how it’ll react to a layer of peanut butter)…

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens once the dry weather ends, and the rains come back. I think we’re likely to see a LOT of pump failures, so you’d better be sure you have a battery backup pump system, or you may find yourself wishing we were back in the drought!


Welcome to The Sump Pump Company.



Greetings, and thanks for checking out our blog.  This is the spot to find all sorts of useful information, most of it related to sump pumps of course…  Please take a look around, and feel free to comment, or send us an email if you prefer.  We’d love to hear suggestions for future topics, so if you have a question you’d like answered, please let us know.

Enjoy our website and our blog, and as always, feel free to contact us any time if you have questions or would like to schedule a sump pump installation.  Call us at 847-967-PUMP (7867), or click the contact link on the website to send us a message.

Remember to check back regularly – we’ve already compiled a pretty good sized list of blog topics, and we’ll be rolling them out soon.

Thanks for visiting The Sump Pump Company, and have a great day!

– The Sump Pump Company