If you have recently read about the existence of a home appliance referred to as a sump pump, you might be wondering how a sump pump works, and what it is needed for.
Sump pumps are needed to aid protect basements from flooding. As the basement of a house is below ground, when the soil of the ground gets saturated with rain water, that water can leak into the basement. And leaking in the basement can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Sump pumps are needed more in areas which have lots of flooding, or when the house is below the water table line. However they’re useful as a precaution in any house which has a basement, since that basement is always at least partially underground.
A sump pump is a machine which sits in or above a small hole in the basement floor. The hole is referred to as the sump hole or sump pit, and it’s designed to catch any water that might enter the basement of a home.
As water fills up the sump pit hole, the sump pump kicks on and starts pumping it out through various connected pipes. Sump pumps can drain into the house’s main water drainage system, or drain directly outdoors away from the foundation of the home. This keeps the basement itself from getting flooded, because the water is actually diverted into the hole and then moved out by the sump pump.
Sump pumps usually have a float which triggers them to turn on and off. When the water rises in the sump pit hole, the sump pump float rises as well. When that float reaches a certain height, the sump pump automatically turns on and starts pumping the excess water out.
Sump pumps are usually wired into a house’s main electrical system, but it’s critical for them to have some kind of power backup as well. Many sump pumps use car style batteries as a power backup, but if you don’t like the idea of having a battery in your basement, you can sometimes get a sump pump that is run off the water pressure in your home.
Regardless of what type of backup power system you choose for your sump pump, you need to be sure there actually is a backup. Sump pumps are most needed during storms and flooding, and these are common times for the electricity to go out as well. If the electrical power goes out and the sump pump doesn’t have a backup power source, it will not be able to prevent flooding in your basement.
Some people use a five gallon bucket for their sump pit, and this can actually cause problems in the long run because there is not enough room for the sump pump to work properly. When the sump pit is not large enough, the sump pump’s float can get stuck into position because the pump is holding it against the side of the pump. Making sure your sump pit is at least 18 inches across and 22 inches or more deep can keep this problem from happening.