Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sump Pumps

sump pit
sump pit
If your basement floods all the time, you need a sump pump. It will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make for the overall health of your house.

What is a sump pump?

A sump pump removes water from a sump basin (also known as a sump pit). Sump basins are typically found in basements. Water will accumulate in the sump basin via any existing basement waterproofing system or, if your house sits below the water table, because of rain or groundwater.

If your home sits below the water table and floods regularly, or your basement is constantly damp, a sump pump directs the water away from the house. (In extreme cases, it may be necessary to have more than one sump pump installed in your basement.) Typically, the water in the sump basin will be directed to a storm drain or a dry well.

For more information see How does a drain tile system work?

How does a sump pump work?

Underneath the sump pump is the sump pit. This is where the water is collected. Once the water in the sump pit reaches a certain level, the sump pump kicks in and starts pumping water out of the sump pit and away from your home’s foundation.

Sump pumps are usually just plugged into any electrical outlet. Some will have a backup battery should the power fail. A backup system is vital in a prolonged power outage – like during severe weather – and will ensure the sump basin doesn’t overflow.

There are two main types of sump pumps 

There are two main types of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible.

Pedestal sump pumps
Pedestal sump pumps have a motor above the sump basin itself. While they’re easier to maintain and service, they can be a bit of an eyesore. Pedestal sump pumps usually have the longest life of any sump pump and are the cheapest.

Submersible pumps
Submersible sump pumps are contained within the sump basin and are completely sealed to prevent short-circuiting. Submersible sump pumps are typically more expensive and have a shorter life but can take in debris without clogging.

Even if your basement doesn’t flood regularly, a sump pump is an excellent way to reduce basement moisture. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than 60% of homeowners have some moisture in their basement. If you own a home and live in an area with a lot of snow or rain, a sump pump is a sound investment.

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