What is a Sump Pump and How Will it Help?

19 Aug.,2022


Vertical Centrifugal Sump Pump

Vertical Centrifugal Sump Pump

What is a Sump Pump?

Essentially, sump pumps are cylindrical pumps that are placed in the lowest point of your basement.

A sump pump moves water from your basement, out of your home. A sump is a naturally constructed pit, typically a hole carved below the main surface of your basement floor. This pit, called a basin, holds the sump pump. The pump has valves that sense increasing water levels or pressure.

A sump pump automatically pumps excess water out of the house and away from your property through a discharge line when it senses water getting too high. This line, which is called an effluent, connects the pump to a designated drainage location, and helps prevent prone flooding areas like basements from experiencing water damage.

Sump Pump Benefits

A sump pump is a mechanism to remove water from the lowest point in your home (like a basement or a crawlspace), along with the soil below, and forces it out into a draining space to avoid flooding, water damage, and mold growth.

Most have a float that rises with the water level and triggers the motor to start pumping water out before there’s a problem.

Sump pumps continue to be among the best ways to prevent water damage as a means of preventative maintenance.

One of the most common places to get water damage in your home is your basement, causing thousands of dollars in damage. However, there is a way to prevent basement flooding and water damage in your basement altogether. Sump pumps benefits include helping eliminate water from your basement before it becomes a problem and can even move water away from your house.

How Do They Work?

Sump pumps can be placed in your basement to pump water from your house into a drain and somewhere that it won’t cause damage to your home. They’re placed at the lowest point of your basement so the water drains into it, and they only turn on when they come in contact with water which saves electricity. Most of them use a float switch, which is a sensor floating on the water, to tell the pump when the water level is getting too high.

Sump Pump Benefits

  • Preventing basement flooding
  • Helps protect from sewage backups
  • Helps protect your home from mold and mildew
  • Increased property value
  • Reduces humidity level in home
  • Can help minimize heating costs with continuous drainage system.
  • Prevention of termite or insect infestation

Types of Sump Pumps

There are a few different types of sump pumps that are used in homes. These options include:

  • Pedestal pumps
  • Submersible
  • Battery-operated backup
  • Water-powered backup

Pedestal Sump Pumps

A pedestal sump pump has their motor next to this sump basin. If your sump pit is narrow or deep, or you don’t spend much time in your basement, a pedestal pump will be most effective. However, the sound of a pedestal pump running is fairly loud, and these pumps aren’t very powerful.

Submersible Sump Pumps

A submersible sump pump has the motor and its housing located inside the hole.  Submersible pumps are quieter and more powerful so if you spend time in your basement or need to pump out a lot of water, those are preferable. Most pumps run between 1/3 hp and 3/4 hp.

Water-Powered Backup

The advantage of a water-powered system is that it has no need to monitor or replace batteries. This type of sump clears the water in your basin through increased water pressure. Since it uses extra water, it can significantly raise your water bill, and some cities don’t allow these to be installed.

Battery-Operated Backup

A battery backup sump pump will provide you with an extra layer of security in case your power goes out during a flood. It has a float switch that operates when the main source, like electricity or gas lines are cut off from their supplier due to storms.

What if Your Pump Fails?

During storms or other natural disasters, your electricity may go out, causing your pump to fail. It’s important to also have a battery backup sump pump to make sure your house doesn’t get flooded when the electricity is out. A combined system like this is the best way to prevent failures in your pump and flooding in your basement. If your pump has failed and your basement is flooded, make sure to follow these steps to stay safe while cleaning up the flood water. Or call Jenkins Restorations to come help you restore your basement!

How Are Sump Pumps Preventative?

Not only can sump pumps remove water from your basement, but they can also pump ground water away from the basement. Some pumps can activate when they sense water in the soil, preventing the problem before it ever arises. They will then drain the water out of the soil and away from your home.

Mold Prevention

Because they prevent flooding and water damage, sump pumps also can help keep mold from growing in your basement. Mold normally grows in moist conditions and it can be extremely detrimental to your health. In some cases, it’s even deadly. Sump pumps will eliminate that moisture from your basement and prevent standing water. Without the standing water or moisture, the mold won’t grow or cause damage in the first place.

Fire Prevention

These pumps can also prevent certain types of electrical fires and fire damage. Sometimes, when your basement begins to flood, water can get into electrical circuits or outlets, causing shorts in the circuits or electrical fires.

Common Mistakes Made

Not Testing Your Pump Regularly

Make sure you test your pump system at least once a year so you know whether or not you need to repair or replace it! To test the pump, simply get a five gallon bucket of water and slowly pour it into your sump basin until your pressure or float switch is triggered. If the water doesn’t drain out and your pump doesn’t turn on, you may need to purchase and install a new one.

Unplugging the Pump

Surprisingly, an extremely common issue that occurs with sump pumps, particularly ones in basements used for more than just storage, is that the pump can get unplugged. Most often, the outlet is needed, so the pump is disconnected from the power and not plugged back in. It’s best to make sure that your pump never gets unplugged if you can avoid it, so plan the use of your basement accordingly.

Draining into Municipal Water or Sewer Systems

In older homes, it was common for these systems to drain into your local water systems. However, more recently, laws and regulations have been put into place to prevent this because municipal water and sewer systems were being overwhelmed, particularly when it rains.

Failure to Get Preventative Maintenance Done

Preventative maintenance is absolutely vital when you have a sump pump system. There are lots of different issues that can arise from debris in the pump, faulty wiring, or even broken pipes. Catching these issues early can prevent larger, more expensive problems in the future.

Sump pumps are a vital component in keeping moisture out of your home and preventing lots of issues, including basement flooding and mold.  Make sure you maintain and care for your pump properly, and you’ll have a dry, comfortable home for years to come.

What Size Sump Pump Do I Need?

You can expect a water removal rate of 1,800 to 2,200 gallons/hour from your average household sump pump.

However, if you live in an area prone to flooding (i.e. areas – like Nashville – near rivers or towns on the coast near large bodies of water), it is more prudent to install a one half horsepower sump pump that can remove 3,000–5,000 gallons/hour.

How to Install Sump Pump in Basement

You may wonder, “Do I need a plumber to install a sump pump?” and the answer is: Yes. This is not the household project to put your DIY skills to the test. If it is improperly installed or wired, it can malfunction, not operate correctly as floodwaters rise and cause a lot more headaches and expensive repairs than the initial cost for installation. A sump pump for a flooded basement can save a lot of trouble.

A licensed and experienced plumbing contractor has the proper equipment and the expertise to get this job done efficiently and effectively, so you don’t run into a flooded basement, property damage and the potential threat to family safety.

To get a better idea of how plumbers install sump pumps, check out this short video from the home improvement show, This Old House.