About Sump Pump Systems

The problem with basements is that they are a natural catchall. Gravity seems to pull all sorts of unused and obsolete objects into basements. When this clutter is mixed with a few inches of water brought in after a heavy rain, two things happen:

  • All the clutter is ruined.
  • The clutter becomes much more precious than it ever was.

So, for the sake of all that clutters, and what it might fetch on eBay, consider installing a sump pump.

  • This is basically a pump in in a pit in the lowest part of your basement that, if the basement starts filling with water, will turn on automatically and pump the water outside.

Sump Pumps to Consider

There are basically three types of sump pumps commonly used, two electric and one water-powered:

  • Pedestal: – An electric pump with a motor a couple feet above the pump so it cannot get wet and a float activated switch that turns the pump on when the water reaches a certain level.
  • Submersible: – An electric pump installed in-ground and designed to work under water. It has the same float-activated switch.
  • Water-powered: – a pump that runs off the water pressure from your home plumbing system with the same float-activated switch. These pumps handle water at a much slower rate than the electric varieties. But because they require no electricity to operate, if there is a power outage, you still have a pumping system.

Back-up Sump Pump Systems

Do you have a finished basement? Even if you don’t you most likely store things in your basement, not to mention the furnace and water heater are usually down there as well. So if you have a sump system, you should also have a back-up system.

There are two types of back-up systems.

  • Electric – Which is NOT recommended.
  • Water driven – Which IS recommended.

The problem with battery back-ups, as mentioned above, is the batteries can be drained and you will then flood your basement. So unless your using well water, you want to have a water driven back-up system. As long as the municipal water system has pressure, the pump will turn.

Sump Pump System Standards

Installing a sump pump system is relatively simple and a good do-it-yourself project, but there are some dos and don’ts to consider:

  • Make sure that water is pumped a good distance away from the house so it cannot seep or flow back in.
  • Have a check-valve installed on the output line so water that is pumped up the pipe does not come back down again when the pump cycles off. A check-valve will keep the water flowing in the out-direction only.
  • Never plumb the output from a sump pump into your sewer system. During rainstorms this might overload your municipal system and cause complications if your own waste system backs-up. It’s also against the law.
  • Be sure your pump has its own circuit so that it will not overload a shared circuit at a critical time.
  • If the outlet has a GFCI devise, be sure to get one that has an alarm, so if it trips due to a power surge or a lightning strike, you’ll be alerted and can re-set it.
  • Be sure you have a back-up system with a high water alarm, preferably a water driven back-up pump.

A Sump In Time Saves Slime

  • Even if you prefer that everything stored in your basement would just float away, a sump pump is still a wise investment. First of all, the junk you don’t want isn’t going to float away in a flooded basement, its just going to get wet, smelly and messy.
  • Besides, several inches of water can often cause several thousand dollars in damage to basement structures and fixtures, furnaces, water heaters and appliances.
  • Wet concrete or brick is tough to dry and the resulting mold and mildew can cause health problems.