Everything You Need to Know About Sump Pumps

Our homes are vulnerable to many things in many ways. One of the biggest threats out there is water damage. Since ancient times, people have tried to figure out ways to protect the home from excess water. Today, we are in a far greater situation than 2000 years ago, but some things still need to be done.

If you want to upgrade your home and give it more value, both financially and practically, a sump pump installation must be considered. However, this mechanism isn’t easy to comprehend, so here is basically everything you need to know about a sump pump:

What is a Sump Pump?

As we mentioned already, homes are vulnerable to many things. To protect the inside area from outside damage, experts invented all kinds of protective systems. The basic “must have” system for protecting your home from floods and water damage is called basement waterproofing.

One of the essential parts of this system is called a sump pump. It is the core and base for the proper functionality of a basement waterproofing system. Along with weeping tiles, backwater valves and sealants. A sump pump gets rid of all excess water that finds its way to your home.

What is the Purpose of a Sump Pump?

So, whether through cracks in the walls or a breach in your concrete flooring, water can come inside your home. Usually, this happens during periods of rain since that’s when underground water tables rise so high that they reach the light of day. Water is very strong and when it accumulates, it puts tremendous pressure on materials such as concrete.

Basically, what a sump pump does is it pumps out every drop of excess water that enters your home. Its purpose is to make sure your interior stays nice and dry, even during extreme rain and snow storms. It’s either connected to an exterior or interior waterproofing system.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

The sump pump lays in an area called the sump pit. It’s actually a tank located in the deepest point of your basement. The pit can be made from many different materials including clay, fiberglass, tile and concrete. This pit is connected to a network of special pipes, called weeping tiles.

They are spread throughout your exterior or interior floor and gather the water as it comes near or inside your home. As the weeping tiles gather the water, the sump pit gets filled on the inside. This happens until a certain water level is reached inside the pit. When the level is high enough, the sump pump gets automatically activated.

Activation of a sump pump means it takes the water from the pit and pumps it away from your home through a discharge drain. Good sump pumps also have backwater valves which prevent the water from coming back inside (very useful for stopping sewer backup). 

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

How to Maintain a Sump Pump

Even though this mechanism is perfect for keeping your home safe, you still have to show it some care. Like almost every product out there, a sump pump needs to be regularly maintained. If not, it can get clogged and fail you during a difficult storm. So here are some things that need to be done if you want to prolong its life:

  • Put a lid – This ensures less debris build-up and clogs.
  • Remove debris – With time, things gather around and in your pump. You should regularly take out any debris and dirt nearby.
  • Test it – Put water inside the pit and see how your pump reacts when the needed water level is reached. If it pumps out extremely slow or fast, something is wrong.
  • Battery – Some sump pumps have batteries. If this applies to you, replace the batteries every 2 to 3 years.
  • Cords and GFCI – Regularly check if the pump is plugged to a GFCI. Also, check the condition of the cords.

Another thing you should keep in mind is the number of sump pumps you have. For instance, some homes have faced floods just because they didn’t have enough pumps. This mostly applied to large homes placed in wet, rainy areas. Installing backup generators and sump pumps is also advisable. Some even decide to purchase alarms which go off when the sump pump isn’t doing its job right.

Reasons You Need a Sump Pump

We previously mentioned how a sump pump can increase value both financially and practically. Well, what this applies is that this mechanism is so valuable that it can even add to a home’s value. It also applies that tons of things are easier to deal with if one has a sump pump.

The purpose of a sump pump is to protect us from water damage. This means that it significantly reduces the chances for floods, mold, cracks, leaks and foundation damage. Yes, if water gets in the wrong place, even our foundations can suffer the consequences.

By participating in basement drainage, this mechanism saves us from the consequences of mold, floods, cracks in the foundation, window damage and tons of other nasty things. Besides being linked to basement waterproofing, sump pumps can also participate in backyard drainage.

Additionally, a sump pump saves plant life in the garden. Before it enters our homes, water accumulates in the backyard. This dampens up the soil and ruins every plant life out there. By having a sump pump linked to a backyard drainage system, you are ensuring a healthy environment.

Reasons for a Sump Pump Failure

Maintaining the sump pump reduces chances of failure, but sometimes that isn’t enough to stop total malfunction. The most important thing is to stay relaxed if this happens and not to put the blame on yourself. Sump pump failure can happen for a number of reasons and most of them aren’t linked to human error in any way.

The most common atmosphere for failure is during a severe storm. This is when a power outage happens. When there isn’t any power, the sump pump cannot work. To ensure this doesn’t happen, lots of homeowners install backup generators which keep the flow going even if there is no electricity in the entire house.

When the weather gets bad in Canada, many weird things can happen, including the freezing of pipes. So frozen pipes is a common occurrence here and the sump pump isn’t immune to this. The discharge pipe easily freezes. To get your way around this, install a grated discharge line attachment. It takes over when the main one ceases to function.

Besides getting clogged, sump pumps can lose functionality because of old age and part malfunction. Both the switch and the float mechanism can break, so make sure you regularly check and test functionality.

We mentioned how human error isn’t a common cause. However, there are a couple of situations where the faulty work of humans can cause your sump pump failure. First, the sump might not be the proper size. Second, it might be improperly installed. Third, it might be poorly manufactured.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump but suspect that you need replacing, it’s better to do it as soon as possible. Summer is coming and rain or snow won’t be much of a problem. But, when fall and winter come, be sure that you will at least have a flood once or twice.

To find out whether you need replacing, it’s best to consult with experts. But you still need enough reasons to call someone in the first place. If you want more proof, here are some common signs that you need to replace your sump pump:

  1. Old Age

Sump pumps don’t last forever. If yours is reaching 7, immediately schedule an inspection. They can last a maximum of 15 years, but only in ideal scenarios.

  1. Odd Noise

This might be a sign that you are facing a clog, but sometimes it signifies that your sump pump is dying. A thorough inspection is highly recommended if it makes strange and loud noises.

  1. Motor Issues

There are tons of reasons why your motor might fail. One of them is ice build-ups and freezing temperatures during winter. Before they totally collapse, motors get stuck more often and make strange noises.

  1. Vibrations

The impeller of the pump can get damaged and bent due to frequent clogs and debris build-ups.

  1. Continuously Running

If your sump pump is constantly working, it might be having a hard time keeping up. This means that you should either change it or add an additional sump pump to help it out.

About Draintony

We are a locally owned and operated plumbing company, providing residential and commercial owner plumbing services. We specialize in Drain Repair, Drain Cleaning, Basement Waterproofing, Sump Pump Installation, Clogged Toilets and more. Our team at Draintony is dedicated to providing you premier plumbing quality and premier plumbing services.