Sump Pump Basics

What Is A Sump Pump?

sump pumpOne of the best options for homeowners to tackle the problem of a wet basement and water damage is by using a sump pump. A heavy-duty sump pump in a sealed sump pit positioned in a home’s basement will send water out to a more acceptable location, like a sloped lawn or a municipal storm drain. This type of high-efficiency sump pump and sealed sump pit or sump liner is designed as a reservoir for excess groundwater and rainwater.

The principles at work are pretty simple: rather than keeping water out completely, a sump pump system controls how water gathers beneath your home, then pumps it out after it’s collected, while preventing moisture levels in the home to rise.

If you’ve explored other ways of keeping your basement dry – examining the grading around your home, injecting cracks and repairing any noticeable leaks or broken pipes – and are still having trouble, it might be time to consider a sump pump system.

Remember, sump pumps don’t prevent water from accumulating, but they can go a long way in controlling water in your basement. Either way, your possessions stay dry and your family’s health is not compromised, which is the point.

Many homes already have sump pits built right into the basement floor. The problem is most of them are inadequate and cause as many problems as they solve. If this is the case, you will need to have a basement waterproofing professional install a sealed sump pit, like the ECP Sealed Sump Basin. If your home is not equipped with a sump pit, a waterproofing contractor should be able to tell you if it’s possible to retrofit your basement.

Types of Sump Pumps

There are three types of pumps used in basements or crawl spaces:

Pedestal Sump Pump: Also referred to as a “column type” or “upright” sump pump, the pedestal sump pump has an open motor that is supported on top of a column attached to the pump casing. When installed, the motor sits outside the sump and above the basement floor. The motor is not designed to be submerged in water. This type of sump pump system cannot be sealed.

Submersible Primary Sump Pump: This pump uses a watertight motor designed to be immersed in water, and will typically kick into action when it senses that it’s become submerged. The motor is coupled directly to the sump pump casing and is designed to be completely hidden within a sealed sump pit.

Primary Sump Pump with Battery Backup: Submersible primary sump pumps with a DC battery backup pump provide the ultimate protection to homes. During heavy storms, when sump pumps are needed the most, electrical power can go out. In this case, the sump pump becomes useless due to lack of power. When equipped with a battery backup, your sump pump system can continue to provide protection to your home.

A Working System

sump pitSo what does a functioning high-quality sump pump system look like? There are usually four key pieces:

• A Primary Pump

• An Emergency Backup Pump

• An Emergency Backup Pump Alarm

• A Sealed Sump Pit

Because homes sometimes lose power during thunderstorms – just when an operational sump pump is critical – a quality sump system employs a backup pump. Emergency battery backup pumps work when the power goes out, when the primary pump does not remove the water fast enough, or if the primary sump pump fails.

In this setup, primary pumps are powered with electricity, and backup pumps are battery powered. Using two pumps instead of one makes it unlikely that both pumps will malfunction at the same time. And with the alarm system, you’ll be able to tell when the primary pump has failed and the backup pump has to be used.

Is A Sump Pump Right For You?

Installing a new sump pump system – especially if your basement doesn’t already have a built-in sealed sump pit – is an extensive, complex job. Make sure you consult with a waterproofing expert.

To find out more about particular pumps for your basement, or to check if a certain pump is certified, consult the Sump & Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association.

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