Can Sump Pumps Be Submerged All the Way Under Water?

Sump pumps are installed inside a sump pit, or sump basin, to remove unwanted water from areas such as basements or crawl spaces. These pumps come in a variety of types with different capabilities and limitations.

Water Pouring From a Faucet
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Types of Pumps

Most sump pumps fall into one of two types, the pedestal style and the submersible style pump. They are quite different in construction, but serve the same purpose.

Pedestal Pump Construction

A pedestal sump pump has the impeller mounted within a small casing which sits on the floor of the sump pit. The motor sits atop a pedestal and powers the impeller by way of a drive shaft/rod running through the pedestal. The pump is activated by a float mounted on the side of the pedestal.

Submersible Pump Construction

A submersible pump is constructed all within a single housing and is quite short and stubby. The pump is activated when the water reaches a pre-set depth. The entire pump sits on the floor of the sump pit.


A pedestal pump can only have the lower portion underwater; the actual motor is not sealed, and should in no way be submerged in water. This will result in a serious safety risk and potential damage to the motor as well.


A submersible pump can be completely immersed in water without risk of damage to the motor or electrical failure. The pump is sealed and design to operate underwater. This makes the pump more versatile and normally more expensive.