Sump Pump Information
If you have already lived through the dreaded experience of a flooded basement, then you know how much damage it can cause. Even one inch of water can take many hours to clean up and causes thousands of dollars in damaged furniture and carpets. Installing a sump pump in your basement is your best defense to prevent flooding.
Basement flooding is most often caused by water build up in the soil that makes its way into your basement. There are many ways for water to enter and many ways to prevent it from entering. A sump pump on the other hand is a last defense against flooding because it pumps out water from the lowest section of the basement before the water level reaches the basement floor level. As groundwater level rises it is diverted into the sump hole. When the water reaches what is called ‘the critical level’, the sump pump begins to pump it out through a pipe that leads outside and away from your foundation.
Apart from the obvious damages to your belongings, flooding can also cause plumbing problems, a damaged foundation or rotted wood; all of which are troubles that bring down the value of your home. A sump pump can save you thousands of dollars in the long run by maintaining the value of your home and by protecting your belongings from water damage.
The sump pump has recently become more important especially in newer homes since the Federal Clean Water Act no longer allows builders in many municipalities to drain rainwater collected by gutters into sewerage systems. Water collected on the roof of your home and drained by your gutters can cause flooding if it is not carried carried far enough away from your foundation.
The two basic sump pump models are the up-right (commonly called a pedestal) and the submersible. Either will work well with proper maintenance. The pedestal pump has the motor on top of the pedestal and the pump at the base, which sits on the bottom of the sump. The motor is not meant to get wet. The pump is turned on and off by a ball float. One advantage of this type of pump is that the on/off switch is visible so the action of the ball float can be easily seen.
Submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in water and sit on the bottom of the sump. The on/off switch is attached to the pump and can be either a ball float connected to an internal pressure switch or a sealed, adjustable, mercury-activated float switch. The sealed mercury switch is generally more reliable than the pressure switch.
Either type of pump should have a check valve on the water outlet pipe so water doesn’t flow back in the sump when the pump shuts off. Water flowing back and forth can cause the pump to turn on and off more frequently than necessary and decrease the life of the pump.