Sump pumps are very common in most areas, but what exactly are they and how do they work? They are common, but they are not used in every area. They are only common in areas that are prone to flooding from rain, storms, and other sources of large amounts of water. Sump pumps are a very important mechanism to prevent flooding, so how is it that they work?
How Do Sump Pumps Work?
Sump pumps are located at the lowest part of your home. They are designed to prevent flooding when heavy rain and storms occur. They are vital to prevent floods in your basement. Underneath the pump is a large pit that collects water. Once it becomes filled high enough, it turns on and begins to pump the water outside and away from your home.
The pump and the pit are located in your home and are usually easy to access. The discharge pipe takes the water from the pit to outside of your home. The pipe has to have a check valve to prevent the water from making its way back into your home after being removed. They are typically charged by electricity. They have a motor that acts like a fan to force the water into the discharge pipe.
The sump pump is able to tell how much water is in the pit with a float sensor. This is similar to a float valve that controls the amount of water in your toilet tank.
How to Maintain It
Maintaining your sump pump is very important. You don’t want to realize it is not working properly once it is already too late.
Test it at least once a year to make sure it is working properly. We recommend testing it before spring time when rain is more common. Do this by slowly pouring water into the pump and wait for it to turn on. If it does not turn on once the water is close to reaching the top, it is not working properly and needs to be fixed or replaced.
Remove the lid of your sump pump to access the inside. If you see any chunks of dirt, gravel, or other debris, remove it from the pit. This will make it easier for water to pass through and prevent any clogs.
Sump pumps have a few working parts that can go bad overtime. The most common part that can go bad is the float switch. If it is not working it will not let that water out from the pit into the discharge pipe.
Installing a battery backup is a great way to make sure it will always be able to function, no matter what the circumstances.
Signs There Is An Issue With Your Sump Pump
Knowing the signs of sump pump failure are important to know so you can fix it before you really need it.
If you notice water built up in your basement, this is a big sign that is not working.
Every 7-10 years your sump pump will need to be replaced. They may last longer than this time span, but that is typically when they will start to fail. Rust is another sign of it aging, other than lifespan. Not all of them are made of rust free materials, so they may become rusted after time.
If you smell any odd smells coming from it, that is a sign that something is wrong with it. It is almost never normal for your sump pump to stink.
Noises coming from your sump pump can be completely normal, but there are many different noises to look out for. Most of them will make a quiet humming noise, but there is something wrong if they make an unusual noise for no reason.
Does My Home Need a Sump Pump?
Not all homes will come with one installed. It’s okay to not have one in your home, but that depends on the circumstance. This all depends on the area you live in, how you live in your home, and your home’s history.
- Your home has a history of flooding
- You have a wet basement
- There is lots of rain and snow in your area
- You live in a flat area
- Your basement is used as a living space
Sump pumps are fairly common, so it is beneficial to know more about them. The most important thing to know about them is that they prevent your basement from flooding. Keep up on the maintenance and keep an eye out for any failures. If you do this, your basement should be flood free.