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About Sump Pumps

Sep 11, 2008
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 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.
About the Author
Visit Fix My Own Basement for more tips on waterproofing and renovating your basement.
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