What is the Purpose of a Sump Pump?

There’s nothing worse than basement waterproofing failing as you wade through ankle-deep water at the foot of your basement steps, reminding you of the importance of your home’s sump pump. When your sump pump is not working well, you don’t notice it until it becomes an emergency. Let’s talk about the purpose of a sump pump and what sump pumps do to protect your property.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a submersible device placed in a sump pit, generally at the lowest point in a basement or crawl space, to move water away from the home and prevent standing water in your basement or crawl space. This small but critical improvement to your home helps to prevent a flooded basement, especially if your home is in a low-lying area.

The sump pump’s purpose is to be on standby, waiting to be activated when needed. The soil surrounding your house becomes oversaturated when it rains. Excess groundwater flows toward the sump pit, which fills with water and activates the sump pump’s float switch. The way these works is the float switch in your sump pump is activated when the excess water causes it to float UP, which flips the switch and the pump turns on, diverting the excess water from the sump basin out through a discharge pipe that diverts the water away from the home’s foundation.

Your sump pump keeps groundwater from rising to the level of your basement floor by extracting water from the pit and dumping it into a nearby storm drain, dry well, or detention pond. Consider a sump pump to be an additional piece of flood insurance! Preventing water damage and basement flooding is the best way to keep safe when the water level rises!

The Benefits of a Sump Pump

A sump pump is a minor investment with significant benefits. Here are some of the advantages of installing a sump pump in your home:

  • Protects your basement from floods
  • It helps prevent paint from peeling due to moisture.
  • Protect your basement appliances from corrosion, such as the washing machine, dryer, and deep freeze
  • Reduces the chance of mold and mildew growth in your home
  • Keep insects such as termites at bay
  • Enhances the air quality in your home
  • Maintains the integrity of your home’s foundation
  • Creates a more comfortable basement
  • It gives you peace of mind regardless of the weather
  • It helps ensure you meet insurance requirements for flood damage coverage

What Is the Function of a Sump Pump?

Although some use municipal water, most sump pumps are hooked into a home’s electrical system. Water-driven sump pumps operate even during a power outage, making them an excellent alternative if you live in a location that experiences stormy weather. Alternatively, if your city’s water rates are high, they can be expensive. Some AC-powered sump pumps include handy battery backups. The primary purpose of a sump pump is preventing water damage to your home, preventing mold and mildew, and giving you peace of mind.

How Long Does a Sump Pump Last?

Pedestal pumps generally have a longer lifespan than submersible pumps. They are more noticeable, but they’re more accessible to service, and industry experts say they may last upwards of 30 years. However, a submersible pump is more aesthetically pleasing and prone to failure. So if you pick a submersible pump, plan on replacing it every five to ten years.

How Often Should My Sump Pump Run?

If your home is in a floodplain or your property is below the water table, your sump pump will periodically run as water collects beneath your home’s foundation and flows into the sump pit. You should expect to hear your sump pump working overtime during heavy rain or after a severe storm. Likewise, if you reside in a state that gets a lot of snow in the winter, your sump pump will be pretty busy while snow and ice melt in the spring. The sound of your sump pump working overtime is a good indicator of bad weather. Don’t let this worry you, as this is the purpose of a sump pump; however, you can always call Smedley Plumbing to schedule a sump pump maintenance appointment to ensure everything is working correctly.

My Sump Pump Never Turns Off

If your home’s sump pump seems never to turn off or run frequently, check for broken pipes and other water-related household issues. Look inside the sump pit if you cannot locate any apparent problems.

If the level of water in the pit is low, the sensor or float activator arm may be faulty or stuck. If the water level is high, you should contact your city utility provider and request they check your water main to ensure it is not broken.

Additional reasons your sump pump may constantly run:

  • A clogged or frozen drain line
  • A clogged or soiled sump pit
  • The sump pit  is too small or has it collapsed
  • You have an underground spring that you were unaware of

Sump pumps are not always sufficient when your home is in an area with high precipitation. If this is the case, install a pump that is powerful enough to handle your needs, and make sure your sump pit is large enough for the amount of runoff expected for your area.

What If My Sump Pump Never Runs?

A quiet sump pump could be a severe issue, primarily if you reside in a flood area. Water can accumulate in the basement of your home, causing excessive dampness and mold. If not sorted out, you are at risk of flooding. It’s critical to ensure your sump pump is working correctly. The purpose of a sump pump is to evacuate water when the level becomes too high, and if your pump doesn’t run, you could end up with damage to your home. Check to ensure the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) isn’t in the cut position on the outlet the sump pump is plugged into. A battery backup system can also help if there is a power outage during the storm.

What Sump Pump Should I Get?

It can be challenging to decide which type of sump pump is best for your home. Most customers choose between 2 main types of sump pumps: submersible sump pumps or pedestal sump pumps. When selecting a sump pump system, keep the following points in mind:

Select the Appropriate Horsepower for Your Situation

Pumps with more horsepower aren’t always better. If you don’t need a large sump pump, don’t install one. Instead, choose a sump pump that is smaller and more efficient.

Choose the Correct Float Switch

The mechanical float activator arm is simple to inspect but can occasionally become stuck. Electronic switches are more aesthetically pleasing and take up less space in the sump pit, but they are also more challenging to repair.

Consider installing a backup sump pump system

Consider installing a backup sump pump if you don’t already have one. Some pumps have sophisticated extras like water alarm systems, and a few even links to Wi-Fi, allowing them to transmit data to your smartphone if a problem is detected. Most homeowners are OK with an essential, high-quality automatic pump. If you need a secondary pump, we can set your primary sump pump up with your secondary, making sure to have a battery backup sump pump setup.

Maintenance With Smedley Plumbing

Sump pumps require routine maintenance. Checking the check valve, discharge pipe, and discharge line, keeping the sump basin clean, and checking the impeller – can make all the difference, increase the lifespan of your system, and prevent clogging.

Debris, such as dirt and sand, can block the pump, preventing it from running at total capacity, or the pump can fail. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not discover their pump isn’t operating until it’s too late and heavy rains bring flooding.

Again, the purpose of a sump pump is to protect your property from damage, and it requires regular maintenance; we recommend servicing your sump pump every six months. Neglecting this simple task puts your home and everything in it at risk. If you have any questions about sump pumps or need assistance with sump pump installation or maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact Smedley Plumbing today. Our plumbers would be happy to help show you options, help prevent a flooded basement from massive water damage, and save our customers from heartache!

Remember, just CALL SMEDLEY!