Zoeller M53 Sump Pump Review. Best Value, Clog Free, Reliable

Plumbers and professional basement waterproofing companies prefer the Zoeller M53 (Zoeller M53-d) sump pump for most homes most of the time. I happen to agree with them. The cast iron and stainless-steel construction will last a lifetime.

Plus, the long-lasting vortex impeller design is virtually clog proof. Which is a huge improvement over other brands because no screen is required. That means homeowners do not have to remove a screen to check the impeller. I can’t tell you how much time and wasted effort that has saved me over the years.

The Zoeller M53 submersible sump pump is designed for use with basement drain tile systems to keep homes dry. However, because the pump can handle ½ inch sized objects it can also be used in a septic tank.

Also, many home owners use the Zoeller ‎53-0001 sump pump outdoors. Either to keep garages from flooding or to drain water out of the backyard.

Got a basement laundry, wet bar, dishwasher, or garbage disposal? Consider getting the Zoeller 105-0001 Sump Pump Kit  that includes the Zoeller M53 pump.

Replacing Your Trusty Zoeller M53-D Sump Pump?

For you previous owners replacing your old M53 Zoeller pump, the metal tag on the pump says it is model M53-D which just means that this version of the pump has been in production since 1994. The “D” just stands for the production series, which is still being produced.

So, don’t worry about getting a “D” model pump – that is what you will get. If and when the Zoeller company moves to a new production model it will come with an “E” and it will ship whenever you order.

1/3 HP Zoeller M53 Mighty Mate 115V primary sump pump.
1/3 HP Zoeller M53 Mighty Mate 115V primary sump pump.

In a hurry? Click Here Now  

The big difference between Zoeller models is the amount of horsepower. Also, some models have plastic parts and other models are all metal.

More horsepower will lift a greater volume of water higher and push it horizontally much farther. Also, if there is a high flow of water coming into the sump pit, buy the pump with higher horsepower.

This article is about the 1/3 Hp Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump. It’s perfect for most homes. Has a weight reducing plastic base and a super strong, glass-filled, plastic impeller with a metal insert. Pumps 43 gallons per minute.

Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp
  • Automatic with float activated switch
  • Non-clogging vortex impeller design
  • Durable cast iron switch case, motor, and pump housing
  • Cast iron switch case, motor, and pump housing, plastic base

Shown below is the 1/3 HP Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Basement Sump Pump. It is the same as the Zoeller M53 sump pump except that it has a cast iron base and impeller instead of plastic. So, it weighs more but is more durable in hard water and dirty or sandy water.

Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump, 1 Pack, Stainless Steel
837 Reviews
Zoeller 57-0001 M57 Basement High Capacity Sump Pump, 1 Pack, Stainless Steel
  • 3/10 HP pump for residential sump pits or septic tanks
  • 1½” discharge, passes 1/2″ solids
  • Automatic model with integral float switch
  • Performance: 43 GPM at 5′ TDH, shut-off: 19.25′ TDH
  • All cast iron construction with stainless steel guard and handle

Shown below is the 1/3 HP Zoeller M63 Premium Series 5 Year Warranty Mighty-Mate Submersible Sump Pump. The main advantage is the improved and longer lasting float switch. This pump has all metal parts for longer life and reliability. The cast iron impeller will not crack or break as easily as the plastic impellers if it hits a rock. That’s three good reasons why it has a 5-year warranty instead of 3 years for the Zoeller M53 sump pump.

Zoeller M63 Premium Series 5 Year Warranty Mighty-Mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp
394 Reviews
Zoeller M63 Premium Series 5 Year Warranty Mighty-Mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp
  • Housing material : Cast iron
  • Submersible
  • Horsepower : 3/10 HP
  • 1-1/2″ NPT discharge
  • Maximum discharge flow : 43 gym

Next is the 1/2 Horse Power Zoeller 98-0001 Model M98 Flow-Mate Submersible Sump or Septic Tank Effluent Pump. It is best for large homes or when there are high water volumes flowing into the basement.

Got a lot of water flowing into the basement drain tile system? Then get this pump. Pumps 72 gallons per minute. Can pump water 23 feet high. Has a cast iron base which makes it a bit heavier. The impeller is reinforced plastic. See it below.

Zoeller 98-0001 115-Volt 1/2 Horse Power Model M98 Flow-Mate Automatic Cast Iron Single Phase Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump …
1,193 Reviews
Zoeller 98-0001 115-Volt 1/2 Horse Power Model M98 Flow-Mate Automatic Cast Iron Single Phase Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump …
  • 1/2 HP pump for residential sump pits or septic tanks
  • Automatic model with integral float switch, 1½” discharge, passes 1/2″ solids
  • Performance: 72 GPM at 5′ head, shut-off: 23′ TDH
  • All cast iron construction with stainless steel guard and handle
  • 100% factory tested

What are the benefits of a Cast Iron Zoeller Pump?

In a word: weight. The heavy cast iron pump is quieter than other pumps. It vibrates less and doesn’t move around in the sump basin like lighter weight pumps. Which means that the float switch won’t be as likely to be pinned against the side of the sump basin and preventing it from working.
Cast iron is very resistant wear from pumping sand and other abrasives. However, the impeller is made of high strength plastic. Whereas other Zoeller impellars are made of cast iron.
The base of the Zoeller M53 sump pump is made of high-strength thermoplastic which makes this pump less expensive than the other Zoeller pumps that are entirely cast iron.

Specifications for the Zoeller M53 sump pump:

SpecificationZoeller M53 Sump Pump
Model numbersM53 M53-D 53-0001
Pump TypeSubmersible Sump Pump
Motor Horsepower1/3 HP
Voltage115V (60 Hz)
Running Amps9.7
Starting Amps25.9
Maximum Flow Rate2,580 gallons per hour
GPH @ 5 feet2,580
GPH @ 10 feet2040
GPH @ 15 feet1140
Maximum Head (Lift)19.25 feet
Minimum Sump Basin Size18 Inch
Discharge Size1-1/2 inches NPT
Construction MaterialCast Iron motor housing, reinforced plastic impeller, plastic base
Float Switch TypeVertical, Mechanical
On-Level (Activate)Approximately 7.25 inches
Off-Level (Deactivate)Approximately 3 inches
Maximum Solids Handling1/2 inch spherical
Maximum Operating Temperature130°F (54°C)
Cord Length9 feet
WeightApproximately 22 pounds
Dimensions (L x W x H)10.75″ x 7.75″ x 10.75″
Warranty3-year limited warranty

What Sump Basin Size Do I need?

The smallest usable basin size is 18 inches x 24 inches. This would be for homes with a lower flow of water. Most homes would be better off with a 24 x 30-inch basin.

Is The Zoeller M53 Submersible Sump Pump Quiet or Noisy?

When properly installed the answer is “quiet”. However, several things can cause any sump pump to be noisy.

  • All sump pumps make some noise while operating. A sealed radon basin cover will block the noise better than a partially open basin cover.
  • The pump is not sitting on a level surface. This lets the pump slide around inside the sump basin
  • The drainage pipe is vibrating against some part of the house structure.
  • There isn’t a rubber fitting between the sump pump and the discharge pipe. This is normally taken care of by using a check valve that comes with rubber connectors.
  • Many check valves make noise when closing but some do not. The sump pump makes no difference in this situation.
  • Hearing water rushing inside of the discharge pipe will occur with any sump pump. Put pipe insulation around the pipe to deaden the noise.
  • Water hammer occurs with some check valves when the pump shuts off. This Zoeller check valve is quiet and stops water hammer. 

One customer said that he can’t hear the ZoellerM53 sump pump in the first-floor bedroom at night. Although a different customer said it could be heard a little bit in their bedroom.

Another customer said he could only hear it when he stood directly over the sump pump.

A customer said he had the pump in a crawl space with a cover on it. He could barely hear it in the kitchen above it.

Do I Really Need a Check Valve? What Does It Do?

Without a check valve the sump pump pumps the same water twice and possibly repeatedly. When the pump stops pumping there is still water in the discharge pipe. That water is inside the pipe from the top of the motor to where the water exits the house.

Without a check valve that water flows back into the sump basin. Which means that water must be pumped again when the sump pump starts running again. However, if the sump basin is too small, the basin will be filled up again and the pump will try to pump it out of the house. But there isn’t enough water to get out of the house. So, when the pump stops, the water will drain back into the sump basin again. This could repeat indefinitely.

Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve, 1-1/2 Inch
2,263 Reviews
Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve, 1-1/2 Inch
  • 1-1/2 slip x slip unions
  • Flapper bends over a radius to eliminate sharp 90-degree edges
  • Capable of vertical or horizontal installation
  • Slip x slip for 4.3 PSI (10 feet of head) at 130°F
  • Designed to reduce water hammer

Why Is a Vent Hole or Weep Hole Needed When Using a Check Valve?

The terms vent hole and weep hole mean the same thing.

It prevents an air lock that would otherwise prevent the pump from pumping water. Even though the motor is running there would not be any water being pumped out of the house. That is because the sump pump cannot pump air. The air enters because the Zoeller M53 sump pump has a weep hole of its own. The Zoeller weep hole is on the base of the sump pump and it lets water drain out of the pump.

Also, the discharge pipe weep hole prevents head pressure when the pump starts up. This puts less strain on the motor to prevent an early death of the pump.

Be sure to clean out both weep holes periodically. Otherwise, it will plug up and the pump won’t work properly.

Where And How to Place the Weep Hole?

Drill a hole in the discharge pipe that is 3/16ths of an inch. It is drilled at an angle so when water sprays out of it the water squirts downwards into the sump basin. The location is below the check valve, below the sump basin cover, but even with the top of the pump.

Replacing The Float Switch

The float switch is the weak part of the pump. It is rated for many thousands of on-off cycles. If the homeowner’s sump pump runs frequently or runs yearlong instead of just seasonally, it will need replacement sooner.

One customer stated that his Zoeller M53 sump pump ran every day and the switch lasted for 10 years. Another customer said his pump runs a lot and the switch only lasted three years. Other customers stated five years.

Zoeller 004892 Replacement Switch for 50 and 90 Series Pumps
  • ZOELLER COMPANY #004892 Repl Switch/50/90 Pump
  • For Submersible Pump Models 53,55,57,59,97 and 98

Do I Need Two Zoeller M53 Sump Pumps in The Sump Pit?

In this situation one pump is located above the other pump. Although some people have two sump pits.

This is a very good idea for two reasons:

  1. The upper sump pump acts as a backup pump for when the lower pump fails.
  2. If the amount of water flowing into the sump pit is too much for the lower pump to remove, the other pump will help out.

Can I Run Two Zoeller M-53’s On the Same 20 Amp Circuit Breaker?

I am not an electrician but that seems reasonable. However, the electrical circuit must meet the National Electrical Code (NEC) and all state and local code requirements.

I assume that each pump will start at different times. This is important because the amperage draw is higher upon starting (25.9 Amps) than while running the pumps (9.7 Amps). The pumps have a capacitor start which helps provide the Amps that are needed.

Also, when the pumps a running and snag an obstruction, the pump works harder and requires more amperage. If both pumps are running when this happens, the circuit breaker may be overloaded.

How Many Watts Are Needed on A Generator to Run the Zoeller M53 Sump Pump?

Watts are also called Volt Amps (VA) and are determined by multiplying volts times amps. So, at start up the Zoeller M53 uses 25.9 Amps X 120 volts = 3108 Watts. However, the pump has a capacitor start. Don’t quote me on this, but I think the capacitor supplies 25.9 Amps (Startup) – 9.7 Amps (running) = 16.20 Amps. So, 16.2 Amps X 120 Volts = 1944 Watts that are needed from the generator upon startup of the sump pump. Then while running the sump pump 9.7 Amps X 120 Volts = 1164 Watts.

Can I Use the Zoeller M53 To Drain a Swimming Pool?

The pump would overheat and shut off or burn out. That is because the pump is designed to run for short periods and to cool down while the pump is off.

Can The Pump Be Totally Submerged for Days?

Yes, it is designed to be submerged continuously. Just keep the electrical plug out of water.

Why Is Water Discharging at The Base?

A small amount of water will drain from the weep hole (vent hole) on the body of the pump when the pump shuts off. Also, if there is no check valve above the pump, a large amount of water will drain back into the sump pit.

How Many Years Will the Zoeller M53 Sump Pump Last?

The factory warranty is for 3 years. Keep in mind that the switch may last 5 years and need replacing but the pump could still be working otherwise.

Also, a pump that runs frequently all year long won’t last as long.

My neighbor’s sump pump is over 20 years old, but it only runs during the spring season.

Customers say theirs lasted:

  • Over 10 years
  • 10-14 years
  • 17 years
  • 30 years
  • Over 30 years (not a typo)
  • 5-7 years on hard water
  • Almost 15 years
  • 17 years
  • 18 years
  • 9 years
  • 12 years
  • 10 years
  • 8 years outside in some sub-freezing temps
  • 12 years

Read my article: Unveiling the Power and Reliability of the Zoeller M53

Can The Zoeller M53 Sump Pump Be Used in A Septic Tank?

Yes, the manufacturer says so. The pump is able to handle solids of up to ½ inch. Do not use this pump for raw sewage from a toilet. That requires a grinder pump.

How Long Is the Power Cord? Can I Use an Extension Cord?

The cord is 9 feet long. However, 2 or 3 feet of the cord is needed to reach out of the sump pit.

According to the national electric code extension cords are not allowed for use with sump pumps.

Can The Zoeller M53 Be Used Outdoors in Freezing Weather?

The Zoeller pumps can be used outside. However, any pump that has frozen water in it or that is submerged in water that freezes will fail to pump. In a worst-case scenario, the pump will be broken by the water freezing inside of the pump.

Also, frozen water inside of a drainage pipe may partially or completely block the hose. This could mean that the pump is operating but that the water is backing up and flooding where the pump is located.

DIY Installation

Installing the Zoeller M53 is fast and easy. One customer replaced an existing Zoeller pump in 30 minutes. However, if this is a new installation then follow these steps:

  1. Dig a hole that is several inches wider than the top of the sump basin. Put the basin into the hole and fill around the basin with washed gravel.
  2. Install discharge drainage pipe from just above the sump pump basin to a location outdoors.
  3. Put the Zoeller M53 sump pump into the sump basin. See below for more details at: Replacing An Existing Sump Pump
  4. Attach the check valve to the discharge pipe and then connect the Zoeller M53 to the check valve.
  5. Have an electrician install a GFCI electrical outlet near the pump pit. Do not use an extension cord with the sump pump.
  6. Plug in the sump pump and pour water into the sump basin to make sure everything is working properly.

The Zoeller sump pump stand shown below is optional if the sump pump is used inside of a sump basin. However, it is mandatory if the pump is placed directly onto gravel or earth. Its purpose is to prevent the sump pump from sucking dirt, sand and gravel into the sump pump.

Zoeller 10-2421, Black
431 Reviews
Zoeller 10-2421, Black
  • Price For: Each Manufacturers Warranty Length: 1 Year Country of Origin (subject to change): United States

Replacing An Existing Sump Pump

Replacing an existing sump pump is quite simple but it is a messy job. Turn off the electric power. Remove the sump basin cover. Disconnect the existing sump pump. Attach the Zoeller M53 sump pump to the existing discharge pipe.

A few plumbing parts and tools will be needed. Screw a PVC pipe fitting into the pump that has a short section of PVC pipe glued to it. Drill a weep hole in the PVC pipe at the same level as the top of the pump motor. See the section titled: Why Is a Vent Hole or Weep Hole Needed When Using a Check Valve?

Connect the end of the pipe to the bottom of the check valve. The check valve will have a rubber fitting and pipe clamp that screws tight.

Screw the Spears Spigot fitting (shown below) into the Zoeller pump discharge port.

Spears 461 Series PVC Pipe Fitting, Adapter, Schedule 40, 1-1/2' NPT Male x 1-1/2' Spigot
112 Reviews
Spears 461 Series PVC Pipe Fitting, Adapter, Schedule 40, 1-1/2″ NPT Male x 1-1/2″ Spigot
  • Adapter for connecting pipes or fittings of different types
  • Male NPT threads on one end and spigot connection on the other for connecting two pipes with different ends
  • PVC for corrosion resistance, high strength, and less weight than fittings made from metal
  • Smooth interior finish for reduced friction and material buildup
  • Meets NSF/ANSI 61 Annex G, NSF/ANSI 372 for quality assurance

Glue the PVC Pipe (shown below) onto the spigot fitting that was screwed into the Zoeller discharge port.

PVC Pipe Sch40 1-1/2 Inch (1.5) White Custom Length 1FT Feet
  • VENTRAL PVC: Pipe and Pressure Fittings are used in irrigation, underground sprinkler systems, swim pools and spas, outdoor applications and cold water supply lines
  • MADE IN THE USA: For over a century, Ventral has been fabricating pipe and fittings, employing more than loyal, hard-working Americans; All of our products are proudly made and/or designed in the USA
  • EASY INSTALLATION: White fittings that are used in potable water applications only; They are non-toxic, lightweight and easy to install; Installation requires the use of primer and solvent cement

Warranty and Date of Manufacture

The 3-year limited warranty starts from the date of manufacture.

There is a date of manufacture on box it came in and on a metal tag on the top of the Zoeller pump.

Can I Buy Zoeller Replacement Parts?

The Replacement float switch is part number 4705 it is for use with any of the Zoeller models 53, 55, 57, 59. The Zoeller 004892 Replacement Switch which can also be used on other Zoeller sump pumps. Such as Zoeller sump pump Models 53, 55, 57, 59, 97 and 98.

Switch 50 Sump Pump
  • Made in United States
Zoeller 004892 Replacement Switch for 50 and 90 Series Pumps
  • ZOELLER COMPANY #004892 Repl Switch/50/90 Pump
  • For Submersible Pump Models 53,55,57,59,97 and 98

Click Here Now

Replacement Zoeller Float. It only takes 2 minutes to install. Which is easier and faster than trying to clean up an old slimy float that is too heavy from slime and dirt to operate properly. The Zoeller M53 sump pump float also works with the other Zoeller sump pumps.

  • Price For: Each Includes: – Rollers: – Shaft Type: – Section Description: – Type: – Shaft Dia. (In.): – Item: Float Country of Origin (subject to change): United States

This Zoeller M53 sump pump power cord sealing repair kit is rarely needed but is available if needed. It fits the Zoeller M53 sump pump and all of the other Zoeller sump pump cords.

Cord Seal
27 Reviews

My Verdict On The Zoeller M53 Sump Pump

For many years plumbers have relied upon the Zoeller M53 sump pump for its pumping capacity and years long reliability. I have to agree with them. For the money you cannot get a better sump pump. Homeowners need to know that the house is safe from flooding and that is what the Zoeller M53 sump pump provides. Buy it now. 

Related articles:

Zoeller M84 Pedestal Sump Pump Review (Zoeller 84-0001)

Zoeller M98 Sump Pump Review 1/2 HP Effluent and Dewatering

Richard Quick author at Best Sump Pumps
Richard Quick
Author at Best Sump Pumps

The first time I helped to install a drain tile and basement sump pump system was 1978.

Since then I have worked for a city water utility where I worked with and maintained pumps.

My rental properties and personal homes all needed sump pumps.

As a modular home dealer/builder, those new homes needed sump pumps.

I put that experience to good use by providing reliable, useful, and practical advice on buying, using, and maintaining sump pumps.

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