Did you know that roughly 60% of American homes routinely deal with below-ground wetness? Plus, many more families simply deal with flooded and wet basements. Also, wet basements filled with moisture likely leads to mold and mildew growth. As a result, many homeowners rely on sump pumps. But, what do sump pumps do? How do they keep our valuables and stuff in the basement dry?
What do sump pumps do?
Sump pumps reduce water and wetness in the basement and below ground areas by pumping water out of the area and away from your home.
“A sump pump is a small pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. Its job is to help keep the area under the building dry and to prevent it from flooding. Usually, sump pumps are installed in specially constructed sump pits. Water flows into the sump pit through drains or by natural water migration through the soil. The sump pump’s job is to pump the water out of the pit and away from the building so the basement or crawlspace stays dry.”
Additionally, sump pumps consist of four major parts that work together to remove water from the basement.
- Ground Water Collection System – sump pumps start with a ground water collection area. Generally, the system is composed of drain rock and drain tile that are buried along the foundation of the basement. The drain tile moves water to the sump tank buried in the basement floor.
- Tank – sump pump systems include a tank, which is also called a basin, crock, or sump pit. Although tanks vary in size, the standard tank is about 18 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 feet deep.
- Pump – without a doubt, the actual pump remains the core of the sump pump system. Generally, tanks remain located at the low point in a basement and includes a hole for the drain tile. The pump activates when the ground water fills the tank and activates the pump, which typically turns on automatically.
- Drain – finally, the water exits the basement through the drain (or outlet valve or discharge pipe or hose).
What are common sump pump features that impact how they work?
Like most home appliances, the number of features impacts the ease of use, but also price. For example, sump pumps vary in price and the main differentiating factor remains capacity. Sump pump capacity relates to the number of gallons per minute or gallons per hour the pump handles. Ultimately, the capacity feature should be any homeowner’s primary consideration.
Additionally, there are several other factors to consider, which we summarize here, for your convenience.
- Head pressure, or the height to which the water will be lifted vertically for removal. Most pumps are designed to handle a lift of 10 or more feet.
- Corrosion-free pump housing, which ideally is made from bronze, stainless steel, or epoxy-coated cast iron housings.
- Corrosion-resistant construction, which is especially important for submersible pumps.
- Capacitive switches, which measure water levels and engage the sump pump when water reaches a certain point in the sump basin.
- Vertical switches, which travel vertically and ideally work best in compact areas.
- Diaphragm switches, which rely on water pressure levels to engage and disengage the pump.
- Lights or noises that alert homeowners of problems.
- Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association (SSPMA) Standards, should be clearly marked on the sump pump of your choice.
Are there various types of sump pumps?
Yes, there are multiple types of sump pumps that help homeowners keep their basements dry.
“For example, the three most common types of sump pumps are primary sump pumps, battery back-up sump pumps, and combination sump pumps. Plus, some plumbing professionals also consider sewage pumps to be a type of sump pump, and they may be used as one. Typically, a sewage pump’s main function is to pump sewage waste from a home to a septic system. However, one main difference between a sewage pump and a sump pump is that sewage pumps can pass solids up to two inches. As a result, sewage pumps also tend to be installed in a septic tank or in a separate pump chamber.”
However, sump pumps primarily remove water from the sump basin and discharge it away from a home’s foundation. Additionally, some sump pump systems also include a back-up sump pump system that provides protection even when the power fails or your primary pump fails. Finally, sump pumps typically range from 1/4 HP to 1 HP.
The following overviews should help homeowners understand the differences between the various types of sump pumps on the market.
Primary Sump Pumps
Primary sump pumps pump seepage water out of basements and prevent basement flooding. Most are capable of pumping up to several thousand gallons of water an hour to protect your home. Additionally, there are two types of primary sump pumps: submersible pumps and pedestal pumps.
- Submersible Sump Pumps – typically, submersible sump pumps are placed underwater in a sump pump basin. Generally, submersible sump pumps offer more efficiency and less noise than pedestal sump pumps. Also, submersible style sump pumps tend to last longer. Plus, these pumps are easier for homeowners to handle than the pedestal-style sump pumps. Therefore, homeowners often prefer that the submersible sump pumps are hidden inside the sump basin, as opposed to the highly visible pedestal-style sump pumps.
- Pedestal Sump Pumps – generally, pedestal pumps are stationed above sump basins, with the pump motor out of the water. Pedestal pumps are better for deeper, more narrow basins, because the pump base, and not the pump motor, is submerged.
Battery Back-Up Sump Pumps
Recently, homeowners added battery back-up sump pumps because they offer another layer of protection against flooding when the power goes out. Battery back-up sump pumps only work when the electricity fails. As a result, basements (and your valuables) remain even when your traditional electric-powered sump pump cannot work. Additionally, the advanced models alert homeowners if a failure does occur. Finally, battery back-up sump pumps generally provide about 10 hours of pump time.
Combination Sump Pumps
Combination sump pumps are a combination of the primary sump pump and the battery back-up sump pump and protect homeowners in nearly any circumstance. Essentially, combination sump pumps offer complete home flood protection. Finally, combination sump pumps remain popular because their back-up pumps also turn on when the primary pump is unable to handle the amount of water entering the sump pit.
If you are thinking about installing a sump pump, then contact A.Johnson because we have the expertise and experience to keep your basement dry.