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Understanding How a Sump Pump Works

sump pump

As a homeowner, especially a new one, you have enough projects around the house to worry about. But nonetheless, basement waterproofing should be high on your priority list. And if you want to keep your basement dry, sooner or later you will have to deal with a sump pump. Maybe you already have one but don’t know what it’s for. Or maybe you are looking to install one from a recommendation of your Baltimore waterproofing company. Either way, here is some helpful information that will make you a more informed homeowner.

What does a sump pump do?

A sump pump’s job is to prevent water from coming up through your basement floor and flooding your basement. As you can see, a sump pump has a rather defined task. It won’t help with the water leaking around your windows or between the wall joints. But it’s extremely effective for water that rises inside the ground and tries to come up through your floor.

How does a sump pump work?

A typical sump pump system consists of a drain tile, sump pit, sump pump and a discharge pipe. Here is what each of these components does:

  • Drain tile is installed either on the inside or the outside of the foundation. Most newer homes already have it. It consists of perforated pipes that collect water as it rises.
  • A sump pit is a hole in your basement floor where the drain tile leads to and empties the excess water. This is also where a sump pump sits and pumps the water out as it starts rising during rain.
  • Sump pump directs water to a discharge pipe that typically goes up and exits the foundation somewhere above grade.
  • Discharge pipe carries the water away from your house and discharges it into a storm drain or a dry well.

Want to know more? Watch this video that explains the whole sump pump system in more detail:

What about the backup sump pump?

Good catch if you noticed that we didn’t include a backup sump pump into the above system setup. We think it deserves a bit more attention, since it’s such an important feature to have. A secondary pump can save you from two unpleasant scenarios: primary pump failure and a power outage. And because thunderstorms often go together with power outages, it’s usually not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when” your pump will stop working.

There are several different backup systems available for sump pumps. The most common is the battery backup sump pump that connects to a battery instead of an outlet. However, another option is a water-powered sump pump that uses suction to remove water from the sump pit. Here is how it works:

Do I need a sump pump?

Now that you see how a sump pump works and what it does, the question is: do you need it? If you don’t have a sump pump and you are experiencing moisture problems in your basement, there is a chance a sump pump could be the right solution for you. Talk to a local Maryland basement waterproofing expert to get a professional advice. Your need for sump pump will depend on the elevation of your home, the local water table, as well as soil density and drainage. Remember, the best time to get a sump pump is BEFORE your basement floods, and not after!

Feel free to contact us with any questions or to schedule a basement inspection.