A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basements of homes. The water may enter via the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, funneling into the basin or because of rain or natural ground water, if the basement is below the water table level.
Types of Sump Pump:
There are generally two types of sump pumps:
- Pedestal Pump
- Submersible Pump
In the case of the pedestal pump, the motor is mounted above the sump where it is more easily serviced, but is also more conspicuous. The pump impeller is driven by a long, vertical extension shaft and the impeller is in a scroll housing in the base of the pump.Pedestal sump pumps usually last longer (25 to 30 years) if they are installed properly and kept free of debris. They are less expensive and easier to remove.
On the other hand, is entirely mounted inside the sump, and is specially sealed to prevent electrical short circuits. There is debate about which variety of sump pump is better.Submersible pumps will only last 5 to 15 years. They are more expensive to purchase but can take up debris without clogging.
How a Sump Pump Works
A sump pump will keep water out of your basement. This shows how a sump pump works, with parts diagram and information on submersible and pedestal sump pumps.
A sump pump system consists of four major parts:
A ground water collection system, a sump tank, a pump, and an outlet drain. Here’s how they work:
Ground water is collected by drain rock and drain tile buried along the foundation (and, in some cases, under the floor). Drain tile carries the water to the sump tank (or two sump tanks, in a large house) that is buried in the basement floor.
The sump tank, also called a “basin,” “crock,” or “sump pit,” may be made of clay, tile, steel, concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Though they vary in size, standard tanks are about 18 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 feet deep.
Normally, a sump tank is located at the lowest point in the basement. Most tanks have a hole in each side for incoming drain tile and all have a sturdy cover. When ground water fills the tank to a given level, a float or some other type of switching device activates a pump. (Though much less common, some pumps are controlled manually.) Many sump pump manufacturers sell polypropylene or fiberglass tanks custom-fitted to their pumps.
Essential Sump Pump Maintenance Tips:
The first important pillar of sump pump maintenance is to know the unit as extensively as you can. This way you will know what to expect when it comes to your pump’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs. There are multiple ways to prevent flooding in your basement. Some of the things you can do include maintaining clean downspouts, repairing foundation cracks, and installing window well covers. If water gets into your basement, despite taking all the above precautions, your last line of defence would be the sump pump. This is why sump pump maintenance is crucial.
For starters, you should know about:
- The unit’s approximate age (pumps older than seven years tend to have more problems).
- Where to get replacement parts .
- Any existing issues to watch out for.
If you’ve just gotten a new sump pump, make sure to keep the instructions somewhere safe and accessible.
Signs of A Problem with Your Sump Pump:
What would cause a sump pump to stop working?
The problems include no electricity, tripped breaker or GFCI outlet, sump pump switch failure, clogged impellor/intake screen, blocked discharge pipe, no weep hole, or burned-out pump motor. Even if your sump pump is brand new, it will only run as long as you have electricity.
Loss of electrical power is the simplest and most common reason your Sump Pump will stop pumping and working.
Just like with any machine, there are signs to look out for when there is an issue with your sump pump. These include:
- Strange noises from the pump could indicate worn-out parts.
- Rattling or grinding noises could point to a jammed or damaged impeller.
- An oil leak could mean that the sump pump will fail very soon.
If you encounter any of these, call an expert immediately because your sump pump could be due for expert maintenance or needs to be replaced altogether.
Cleaning Your Sump Pump Properly:
Sump pumps are an integral part of maintaining a dry basement. Due to the nature of this helpful household appliance, sump pumps require regular cleaning to keep their systems functioning properly.
What you’ll need:
Before anything, make sure it’s not rainy outside, or you don’t have any appliances that drain into the sump pump basin. It’s important that there is no water coming into the area as you are working on the sump pump.
- Disconnect the sump pump from the power supply. Unplug the sump pump or turn off the circuit breaker at the power source. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
- Clean the pump. Start the cleaning process by spraying the pump with the garden hose.
- Rinse the pump. Spray the pump again with the garden hose, rinsing off any last residue that might be remaining.
- Drain the check valve. Keep your bucket handy while draining the check valve. Any water from the check valve will be caught in the bucket.
- Reconnect the pump. Reconnect the sump pump and make sure all components are situated in the sump pit as they were before you started the cleaning process. Reconnect the sump pump to the power source, and be sure to turn the breaker to the ‘on’ position if you turned it off during step two.
- Bonus step: Make a note of the date you cleaned the sump pump and keep it accessible for reference.
If you live in a low-lying area that is prone to heavy rains or snow, then, yes, installing a sump pump is highly recommended. Even if your home is at low risk of flooding, it can still be a good idea to install a sump pump.