A sump pump’s job is to pump the water that gathers in a low spot up to somewhere where it can be disposed of (away from the home). Most generally, you’ll find a sump pump in the basement or crawlspace under the home. Sump pumps are not used for sewage or gray water (they are mainly used for surface water). If you don’t have a drain in a low spot of your home, it’s a very good idea to use a sump pump. That way, if any leak occurs or any rainwater enters into the home, the sump pump will be able to expel the water. The water will be removed instead of causing damage to your home.
How it Works
There are a few things to consider about how a sump pump works. First of all, most sump pumps have a float on them. When the water level raises to where the float is, the pump automatically turns on. Once the water pumps down past that level, the float will shut the pump off.
The discharge should not go to the sewer. Since it is surface water, the discharge should be outside, on top of the ground. You wouldn’t want to put rainwater (or any high volume of water) into the sewer, because it could cause damage.
Backup & Precautions
It’s very important to put an alarm on the sump pump. Since you’re relying on the sump pump to do an important job, you would want to be alerted if it ever failed. The alarm is really just a second float. If the first pump doesn’t cause the system to automatically turn on, the water level will rise to the second float. It will then sound an alarm so you know that there was a failure.
Sometimes people put in an emergency backup pump just in case the primary pump were to fail. The emergency pump can be run with a battery backup as well. That way, if the power ever went out and you ended up with a flood, that emergency pump would still have a source of power.
Another emergency backup system is a water driven pump. This is for homes with a municipal water system. What it does is it uses the actual water in your main water line to run a turbine. The turbine is used to power the pump that siphons water out of the basement. It can be a very good option if you don’t have power but you do have municipal water. It’s a very dependable solution.
You can perform some easy maintenance on your sump pump to keep it working properly. The main thing would be to cycle the pump if it doesn’t get used very much. Just manually lift the float and see if it turns on. You could even take a garden hose and run water into the sump pit to see if the pump turns on once the water level rises.
The other maintenance you can perform would be in areas where it’s somewhat grungy, dirty, or muddy. Clean out the pit itself by removing any built up gravel, rocks, or mud. That way it can’t get into the pump and stop it up.
If you have any questions about what you can do to keep your sump pump working properly, contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.