Sump pumps are not only for your basement and crawl space. If your backyard – or other piece of property – is flooding or has problems with standing water you need an exterior sump pump.
Before you start installing a new exterior sump pump there are a few things to address like what pump is best for your yard, pump basins, how to install and how to deal with freezing temperatures! There are a few good backyard pumps on the market but they vary in pump power and price so it is important to do your research before shopping.
The team of plumbing and yard sump pump experts at Sump Pump Problem put together a list of recommended pumps, a 7 step in ground sump pump installation guide – plus 5 tips to prevent freezing in Winter 2023!
Exterior Sump Pump Benefits
- Does not freeze outside
- Prevents entering of water
- Prevents flooding
- Easy installation
Best Exterior Sump Pump – List of Top 5
The 5 Best Exterior Sump Pumps
Superior Pump 91250
Exterior sump pump needs to be dependable and able to withstand the elements – especially extreme cold. That is why we picked the Superior Pump 91250 as our top backyard pick!
- Works well in hot summers and cold winters
- Thermoplastic design is rugged enough for the outdoors
- Lower flow rate than other pumps
Zoeller M53 Mighty Mate
You can never go wrong with the M53 Mighty Mate from Zoeller. This pump is made of cast iron steel and has no problems with cold temperatures or rust and corrosion. We recommend this pump for large yards with flooding problems!
- Pumps large volumes quickly
- Powerful and well constructed
- Air hole can get clogged, so you’ll have drill a weep hole
- Vibrations can be loud
If you need a pump more powerful than the M53 and are loyal to Zoeller we recommend the M57. This cast iron sump pump offers a more powerful motor which makes it a good choice for larger ponds, lakes, and areas that receive heavy seasonal flooding. This pump has the same dark green cast iron shell as other Zoeller pumps and works well in areas with lots of particles in the water.
- Well constructed and powerful
- Easy to install and quiet
- Smallest chance of pump failure
- Switch can fail if left on for long periods of time
Another top pick with homeowners on a budget that need a pump that will last more a few years is the Wayne WaterBUG. This pump sits low to the ground which helps it remove ALL the water in your yard or under your mobile home. One of the biggest concerns when shopping for an exterior sump pump is the ability to withstand cold and hot weather. The WaterBUG has no problem during hit summer floods or near-freezing temperatures.
- Can run for long periods of time without overheating
- Does not turn off automatically
- Low quality body
If you have a large amount of water or a head height above 10’ you will need a powerful pump. The ECO-FLO ECD50V is a good choice because of the 1/2 HP motor that can pump up to 4,400 gallons of water per hour and can handle solids up to 3/4” thanks to the internal impeller. This model is designed to work underwater and is activated by an external float switch.
- Runs very quiet
- Easy to install
- Top rated pedestal pump
- The motor can overheat if turning on and off simultaneously
Exterior Sump Pump Basins
The best place to install your basin is at the lowest point of the yard – ideally in an area that slopes towards the basin. The most common sump pit is a plastic barrel but some have built-in drainage line attachments to help with yard drainage to help prevent basement water damage!
The best place to install your basin is at the lowest point of the yard – ideally in an area that slopes towards the basin. Most basins are plastic barrels with but some have built-in drainage line attachments! Another common option that many creative homeowners install is a french drain or pvc pipe to move excess water away from the home and prevent a flooded basement.
Best Sump Pump for Yards with High Water Tables
If your yard has a high water table it it important to have a backyard sump pump that can handle the waterflow and is designed for exterior usage. Our pick for the top sump pump for a high water table is the Wayne WaterBUG – it is small, but powerful enough to handle a high GPM and designed for outdoor use!
Exterior Sump Pump Installation
Most exterior sump pumps drain into the street or attach to the sewer line. We put together step by step instructions to help install your basin and in ground sump pump plus set up the proper drainage lines!
Step by Step Installation Guide
- Find the Low Spot – Start by finding the low spot in the yard where groundwater is pooling. This is the spot you will want to install your outdoor sump basin.
- Find the Sewer Line – Next, find the sewer line so you can install the check valve and discharge pipe
- Dig a Basin Pit – Dig and install a basin, make sure to place it below the water table
- Run Electrical Connections – After the pit has been dug and the basin is in place install the electrical connection and battery backup
- Install the Submersible Sump Pump – Next, install the pump at the bottom of the basin
- Attach Drainage – After the pump is in place attach the drain lines and check valve
- Test System – Once everything is in place full a few buckets of water and test the pump system to simulate a rainstorm and make sure everything is in working order before the next heavy rain
Five Ways to Prevent Exterior Sump Pump Freezing
Exterior sump pumps risk freezing in cold temperatures. It is important to take proactive measures to protect your pump when the temperature drops below freezing. Outdoor pumps can take a beating but hard freezes can cause serious problems! We recommend taking the following steps to prevent permanent damage to your pump and cause permanent drainage problems.
Extra Protection Tip
If the weather forecast calls for heavy snow a sheet or blanket might not be enough. Covering the basin with a camping tarp will provide extra waterproof protection and keep your backyard drainage system working while the snow melts!
1. Cover the Basin
One of the easiest ways to prevent damage and keep your pump from freezing is to cover it with a sheet. This might not seem like it would make a big difference – especially if you have a basin cover – but even a light sheet can make a difference. If you do cover your basin make sure to clear snow and ice off the top every few hours.
2. Drain Standing Water
Standing water in the bottom of your exterior pit is at risk of freezing when it gets cold. The more water around your pump that can turn into ice the bigger the risk to your pump. Remove as much standing water as possible before the cold weather sets in. Your pump should do most of the work but you can always dump out the basin or use a shop vac on your dry well.
3. Bring the Pump Inside
If a blizzard is on the way you may want to bring the pump into your garage. When the weather is well below freezing all the water near the surface will be frozen so there is no need to worry about draining the yard. Keeping the unit inside will protect it from ice damage and keep water out of the electrical system.
4. Remove Ice
Ice will often build up in and around the pump. The best way to warm up your pump is to keep ice away. You can use a small shovel or even your hands to remove ice and snow from the pump basin. Remember – if your pump gets too cold it will not be able to work when the snow melts!
5. Check the Drains
Frozen drains mean your pump has nowhere to push water. Make sure your drainage system and sewer lines are not frozen shut by pouring hot water down the lines to make sure they drain. If the lines are frozen shut warm them up with boiling water or manually remove the ice in time to stop a flood or broken pipe!
How to install a Zoeller Sump Pump