Everything You Need To Know About Sump Pumps

Sump Pump in Basement

Sump pumps serve the very important purpose of helping to prevent flooded property. They’re typically installed in the basements or lower levels of a home or business and work to collect water in a pit, or a sump basin. Afterward, the water is safely diverted from the home in order to prevent flooding. While sump pumps are perhaps most common in residential homes, they’re also used in marine vessels and commercial buildings as well.

If you are considering installation, doing so before the spring season would be ideal. If you live in temperate areas with seasonal snowfall, rising temperatures melt much of the snow. In tandem, the spring also brings increased rainfall. Basements and other low levels of foundations become oversaturated with water and can potentially lead to leaks.

Types

There are various different types of sump pumps, but the two most common in residential homes are submersible pumps and pedestal pumps.

The former sits in sump wells and, fitting to the name, is able to effectively operate while under water. They turn on when a float is activated, which suggests that the water has built up to a point in the basin where it needs to be forced out. Pedestal pumps utilize a float as well, but they operate above the sump well. They’re also typically much louder than submersible pumps. While not as common as submersible pumps, pedestal pumps are still found in homes today.

Two other types of sump pumps are floor sucker pumps, which basically extract water from a floor’s surface, and water-powered pumps, which integrate with a facility’s plumbing to disperse water.

Features

Good sump pumps come with a variety of features to help keep basements dry. Arguably the most important feature, however, is the battery backup. Sump pumps run on electricity, but during a storm, it’s not unusual for a home to lose power. Battery backups keep the system working during an outage. Other notable features include a water level alarm, which will sound if the water level in the basin exceeds the top of the pump, sump liners that help prevent a sump pit from clogging and a check valve to prevent any water from returning to the pit.

Advantages & Benefits

A sump pump is a crucial part of any home’s basement waterproofing strategy. A good working sump pump with battery backup system can help give homeowners peace of mind. This is especially true when flash flood warnings may be issued. Sump pumps work to safely and effectively distribute built up water away from the home’s foundation to prevent the basement from flooding. Having a sump pump can mean the difference between flooded basements, water damage, and contents damage.

Requirements

It’s recommended that a plumber or similar professional conduct any sump pump installation and/or repair. Sump pump installation can be messy, as drilling into the foundation is often required. What’s more is that the installation must be carried out according to local building codes, something that the average DIY’er may not be familiar with.

Common Parts & Construction Materials

Sump pump models can vary,  but most also have some similar parts and materials. There’s always a drain line, which takes the water that’s being forced out of the pit and pushes it away from the property. There’s also often a liner that houses the pump itself, the float, which helps activate the pump when water levels in the pit reach a certain level, and the electrical line that plugs into the outlet to keep the pump operating. While the actual pump can be made of various materials, cast iron is quickly becoming the industry leading material when it comes to quality.

Upgrades

The most common type of upgrade as it pertains to a sump pump installation is size. Specifically, moving up to a larger sump pump. This may be necessary if it’s seemingly always on during periods of heavy rainfall. Thus, a pump with more horsepower may be necessary. Property owners may also elect to have a secondary sump pump installed to complement the primary sump pump.

Life Expectancy & Timing of the Appliance to Expect Degradation

All appliances have a shelf life, and sump pumps are certainly no exception to this norm. Because sump pumps work based on a motor, their shelf life can lessen. In fact, it’s estimated that the standard lifespan of a sump pump is about 10 years. In order to best gauge how well the sump pump is performing and whether a replacement should be considered, it’s recommended to have the sump pump inspected on an annual basis. This is particularly important before the spring storm season.