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Avoid Damage: Install a Water Sump Pump

Every home should have one! The water sump pump can protect your basement from potential flood damage and prevent the loss of valued possessions. Consider everything that you have stored down there – sports equipment, prized collections, family heirlooms, or your big screen TV – and then picture the whole swimming in an inch or two of water. That should be enough to prompt you to install a water sump pump. Read more about basement water control.

How does a water sump pump work?
Most homes are built with a sump pit in the basement (the word “sump” means a low point of collection). Essentially, the pit is a hole where water gathers, either from the foundation drainage system, or due to the fact that the basement is below the water table. It must be regularly emptied in order to prevent overflow. The water sump pump, which is installed in the pit, is automatically activated to drain the water out when its rising float device reaches a certain level. Sump pumps are often on a timer set to run at regular intervals, and for a certain length of time. This simple and efficient method keeps the water at a safe level in the pit at all times.

Where does the water go?
The water sump pump is equipped with a large drainage pipe that moves the collected water away from the house to another location, such as a swale, municipal drain or dry well. Older homes often have a sump pump that drains into the sanitary sewer; however, this is no longer allowed due to potential overload on that system. Inside the drainage pipe is a check valve that stops the water from running back down the pipe and into the pit once the motor turns off.

What are the advantages of a water sump pump?
If your home is built on low terrain, an accumulation of water can occur after heavy rains, rendering the water sump pump an essential tool for drainage. The ground water may make its way into the basement, and as it collects in the sump pit, it will be pumped away from the house, thereby reducing the risk of damage to your foundation. Even if your castle is high on a hill, the eaves trough and roof drainage pipes may not adequately direct the excess water away from the house. Having a water sump pump protects your home from flooding during rain storms and snow run offs.

What about a power failure or breakdown?
Your sump pump should be operational at all times; it should be made to function on the home’s water pressure, in which case the sump pump will work even in a power outage, or make sure you have a battery-powered backup system in place.

You can purchase a straight battery-powered pump for your secondary source of drainage in the event of a power failure. A marine deep cycle battery can be used, or the pump can be hooked to a charger or monitoring system. Be sure to check both systems on a regular basis for battery and power supply.

Some homeowners opt for a secondary sump pump system, in case the main pump fails, either due to float malfunction, motor burnout or for any other reason. This may seem like overkill, but one should consider how often the sump pump is in use. If the pump is activated daily, or even every other day, its lifespan will be significantly shortened, and the need of a backup system is even greater.

Do water sump pumps need maintenance?
An important factor in retaining an effective and long-lasting sump pump is cleanliness. On a regular basis, wash off any debris that could clog the pump, raise the float to make sure it triggers the motor, and check that the valve is not blocked. You should take proper care of your sump pump, especially if you have no backup system.

With a reasonable amount of expense and a small effort in maintenance, a water sump pump system will not only provide your home with protection from flooding, but will also reduce the strain on your foundation. Consider it a home investment and insurance against the loss of valuable possessions – money well spent.


This article was written by Herb Mansfield:
Herb Mansfield is a master plumber in the province of Quebec, Canada. He has over 35 years experience in the plumbing field. He is now lending his expertise to the Sump Pump Info website.


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