How Does A Sump Pump Work

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How Does A Sump Pump Work By Diane Crawford

If you've recently learned about the existence of a household appliance referred to as a sump pump, you might be wondering how a sump pump works, and what it's needed for. Sump pumps are needed to help protect basements from flooding. Since 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.
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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. More Information on How Does a Sump Pump Work can be found at

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About Sump Pumps By Tim Sousa

What Is A Sump Pump? A sump pump is a pump that is used to remove water that has accumulated in the sump pit, usually in the lowest part of the basement or cellar. This water can accumulate in two ways. One way is when the water enters via the perimeter drains of the basement waterproofing system and funnels into the pit. Another way is when the basement is below the water table level and water leaks into the basement. How Do Sump Pumps Work? While the water fills up the sump pit, the sump pump starts up, and pumps the water out of the basement. The water gets pumped either outdoors, away from the foundation of the house, or into the main water drainage system of the house. To keep the basement from getting flooded, the water is diverted into the hole and moved out by the sump pump. There are two types of sump pump; one type is submersible while the other type is called a pedestal. * A submersible pump is about 12 inches tall and is placed completely inside the tank inside the bottom of the pit. Some contain a float switch to turn the pump on when needed. This switch is electrical and encased in a hard plastic bubble and floats when the water rises. When the water reaches a certain height, the switch turns on to activate the pump. Submersible pumps are located on the bottom of the units and the water is sucked up through the bottom. This type of pump also comes with a grate or screen over the face of it to keep any debris from getting into the impeller, which could clog the pump. * A pedestal pump is mounted on a small pedestal and stands about 30 inches tall. The motor of this pump has a pipe that extends to the bottom of the pit and it too has a float switch to activate the pump. Since the motor of this type of pumps is not designed for underwater use, the switch will activate the pump before the water reaches the bottom of the pumps motor. What Size Of Sump Pump Do I Need For My Home? Actually, houses have more of a horsepower requirement for a sump pump instead of a size requirement. This is determined by the area of drainage that is connected to the sumps as well as the depth of the basement, groundwater and other factors. The more water that is expected to accumulate in the sump pit, the more horsepower is required to move it. How Big Should My Sump Hole Be? To allow space for the pump and the piping as well as the water storage between pumping, sump pits should be about 2 feet in diameter. Should I Use A Liner For My Pit? It is advisable to use a liner when constructing a pit for your sump pump and plastic is a preferable

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material. Metal can also be used in it's construction. Be sure to place 3 to 4 inches of course gravel should be placed in the bottom of the pit when installing the liner. One of the worst things a homeowner may experience is a basement that constantly leaks with every rain or snow melt or a basement that is flooded. One of the ways to prevent this from happening is with a sump pump. Sump pumps are handy devices that help you maintain the value of your home. Not only do they protect your belongings and your foundation from water damage, but they also save you thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. Visit for more tips on waterproofing and renovating your basement.

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