A major concern for any homeowner is water damage caused by flooding, especially due to rising water levels after heavy rains. There is, however, an infallible line of defense against flooding that you could employ to protect your home: installing a sump pump. But what is a sump pump and why is it important? Here’s an informative short read to introduce you to sump pumps.

What is a sump pump?

sump pump

A sump pump is a submersible device that helps prevent flood water damage and should ideally be installed in the lowest point of your home, such as a crawl space or your basement. 

The way a sump pump works is simple. Once installed, the pump stays on standby throughout the year until flooding actually begins. When it rains very heavily, the soil around your home becomes oversaturated, and excess groundwater flows towards the sump pit. As the pit fills with water, it activates the sump pump float switch and turns on the pump. 

The pump then removes the water from the pit and drains it via a discharge pipe into a nearby retention pond, storm drain, or dry well. This way, the sump pump prevents water from rising to the level of your basement floor, effectively preventing flooding and saving you a lot of money in the process.

It is important to ensure your sump pump drains to the correct place, though, to ensure that the floodwater is not redirected towards your home again. Ideally, it should drain to a pond, pit of drainage between 10 to 20 feet away from the foundation of your home. It is best to always check your local building codes as well, considering some cities have laws about where sump pumps ought to drain to.

Do you need a sump pump?

If you’ve built on a flood-prone plot, live in an area that receives heavy rainfall and/or snowfall, or have had basement flooding issues in the past, you definitely ought to invest in a sump pump. Even if you don’t live in a high water table area and have invested in a basement waterproofing project, a sump pump is a good way to ensure your home stays dry.

What are the different types of sump pumps?

1. Submersible sump pumps

As the name suggests, these pumps sit submerged in a sump basin or sump pit in your crawl space or basement. They consist of the motor and pump in a single unit.

Because of the fact that they’re submerged,  they tend to be quieter and take up considerably less space in comparison to other types of pumps. However,  constantly being submerged underwater makes them less durable.

Submersible pumps are ideal for homes located in areas that experience frequent flooding.

2. Pedestal sump pumps

Pedestal pumps have the motor and pump separate, unlike submersible pumps. The motor is on a pedestal above the basin and has a hose running to the pump, which sits in the basin.

Floodwater is pumped out to the draining area through the hose. The fact that the motor sits on a pedestal outside the water makes it easier to maintain these pumps and makes them more durable as well.

However, they tend to take up more space and are a lot noisier than their submersible counterparts.

Read more: Above ground well pump

Backup pumps

1. Water powered backup pump

A water-powered backup sump pump clears extra water from your basin through increased water power.

Since this backup pump is water-powered, you do not need to monitor the backup or change batteries. However, your water bills will increase significantly.

2. Battery-powered backup pump

Storms tend to often affect power supply, and if you have no power, your pump cannot operate and save your home from flooding. However, a battery backup pump with a float switch will allow doing just that in the absence of regular power,

Which is the right sump pump for you?

Irrespective of which type of pump you choose, make sure you choose a model with sufficient horsepower to suit your purposes.

For example, if you live in a high flood risk area and buy an underpowered sump pump, it will not be able to drain out the water effectively and your home will flood anyway.

Buy too powerful a pump, and you risk it turning on and off repeatedly for no reason, reducing its shelf life drastically.

If you live in an area that floods regularly, choose a 13,000 GPH pump.

Read more: Sump pump maintenance

What Is a Sump Pump and Why Is It Important? was last modified: March 3rd, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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