Every home needs a sump pump

Posted Mar 31, 2021 in Waterproofing, Sump Pump Solutions

There are many items vying for your hard-earned dol­lars each day. Must-have neces­si­ties” such as a big-screen, smart tele­vi­sions, appli­ances that tell you when they need ser­vice and oth­er high-tech gad­gets cap­ture your atten­tion and pro­vide short-term grat­i­fi­ca­tion for a job well done. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the appli­ance you real­ly should pay atten­tion to is often over­looked until it’s too late; a sump pump.

The sump pump, while not ter­ri­bly glam­orous, pro­vides tremen­dous peace of mind for home­own­ers that is unmatched by any oth­er piece of equip­ment. Rain and snow sat­u­rate the ground around and below your home’s foun­da­tion. Hydro­sta­t­ic pres­sure caus­es a build-up against the con­crete walls and will either cause cracks or over­work your drainage sys­tem. To relieve this pres­sure, a small pump is installed in the low­est part of a base­ment to keep the space under the build­ing dry and pre­vent flood­ing. Typ­i­cal­ly, it’s installed in a pit or crock below floor lev­el. The reser­voir has a grav­el base and is gen­er­al­ly about two feet deep and 18 inch­es wide. Water enters the area through drains or nat­ur­al migra­tion through the soil. As water fills the pit, a float acti­va­tor arm or pres­sure sen­sor turns the sump pump on and moves it through a pipe away from the house. Cen­trifu­gal force trig­gers an impeller to spin and forces water to move out through the pipe. Most house­hold pumps run on stan­dard elec­tri­cal pow­er and require a ground fault cir­cuit inter­rupter to pre­vent acci­den­tal electrocution.

Two sump pump styles are avail­able, pedestal and sub­mersible, and both move water safe­ly out of the base­ment reser­voir to an area out­side your home. There are pros and cons of each type that should be con­sid­ered before purchase.

New sump pump

Pedestal Sump Pumps

The pedestal unit is split into two pieces and uti­lizes a stand-alone motor attached to a pole. It is installed above the base­ment floor with a hose or inlet pipe that reach­es to the bot­tom of the sump pit. They are fair­ly inex­pen­sive and usu­al­ly last longer than sub­mersible types. As the motor remains above the water lev­el, it is not sus­cep­ti­ble to water dam­age. This means the motor is exposed and will be noisy dur­ing oper­a­tion. This may be a con­cern if the base­ment is fin­ished. How­ev­er, any repairs to the motor are usu­al­ly inex­pen­sive, as the base­ment floor will not need to be torn up to access it. While pedestal styles are cost-effi­cient and very reli­able, they are gen­er­al­ly inad­e­quate for mov­ing large vol­umes of water. They typ­i­cal­ly come with a 13 horse­pow­er motor and pump 35 gal­lons per minute. Heavy rain­storms may cause base­ment flood­ing, as this type of sump pump wouldn’t have enough pow­er to pump the water out fast enough.

Submersible sump pump

Sub­mersible sump pumps

This style uti­lizes an inte­grat­ed design that com­bines the motor and pumps inside a water­proof hous­ing. It is placed in the sump crock and designed to get wet. The pump is posi­tioned at the bot­tom of the unit and an out­let pipe on top. A grate on the bot­tom keeps debris out. The pump is acti­vat­ed with a float unit and an impeller turns on to route water into pipes and out­side. As it is placed inside the reser­voir with a cov­er, the pump makes lit­tle noise. These come in sizes up to 12 horse­pow­er with a pump­ing capac­i­ty of 60 gal­lons per minute, which is faster than a pedestal type. They are also much more expen­sive and dif­fi­cult to repair as access is lim­it­ed inside the sump pit.

Pre­vent flooding

As with any impor­tant appli­ance, you’ll want to make sure your sump pump is always in per­fect work­ing order. Below are a few tips to pro­tect your base­ment from poten­tial flooding.

Float switch

When the water in your sump reser­voir reach­es a cer­tain lev­el, the acti­va­tion switch turns the pump on. Ver­ti­cal styles are most pop­u­lar for effi­cien­cy and reli­a­bil­i­ty but they also come in elec­tron­ic, teth­ered and diaphragm types. Heavy use will like­ly pro­duce break­downs and may require replacement.

Battery Backup In Waterproofing Case

Bat­tery back-up

With the loss of pow­er being a com­mon prob­lem, pur­chas­ing a bat­tery back­up unit will offer con­tin­u­ous pro­tec­tion. In addi­tion to pow­er out­ages from storms, the cord could be acci­den­tal­ly unplugged or the elec­tri­cal cir­cuit tripped. Back-up units range in cost but are gen­er­al­ly a wise invest­ment for the added lev­el of flood protection.

Check Valve

It’s rec­om­mend­ed that a check valve is installed in the pipe between the pump and out­side dis­charge. This will stop water from back­ing up into the impeller and caus­ing it to unscrew. To relieve pres­sure in the dis­charge line, drill a small hole. This will help extend the life of the sump pump.

Prop­er Pump Size

The cor­rect horse­pow­er and pump­ing capac­i­ty for your appli­ca­tion will extend the life of your sump pump. A unit that’s too small will work too hard and burn out quick­er, and too large a pump may blow the seals by exert­ing too much pres­sure. Also, check the ver­ti­cal lift capac­i­ty before buy­ing one to be sure it is suf­fi­cient for your needs.

Reg­u­lar Maintenance

Tak­ing the time to main­tain your sump pump will ensure it’s ready for action when you need it. Fol­low these sim­ple steps:

  • Dur­ing dry peri­ods, pour water into the pit to run a full cycle.
  • Run vine­gar through it to remove build-up.
  • Make sure the float is unob­struct­ed and work­ing correctly.
  • Make sure water is being pumped out.
  • The bat­tery back-up pump should be replaced every three years.
  • Lis­ten for odd motor nois­es if it won’t shut off.

What our customers say

  • We con­tract­ed Fam­i­ly Water­proof­ing Solu­tions for exte­ri­or wall seal­ing and foun­da­tion crack repair ser­vices. Ken was very thor­ough in explain­ing the work that would be done, and his crew did a great job. This busi­ness was a plea­sure to work with.

    Stacie T.
  • Work­man­ship and ser­vice were excel­lent. Would rec­om­mend with­out reservation.

  • You and your crew did a great job in our base­ment and crawl­space. You went the extra mile to insure that all of our water seep­age prob­lems are over. We would rec­om­mend you high­ly to oth­er peo­ple. Your qual­i­ty and time­ly work out­match­es all the others.