Sump Pumps: Useful Equipment
Sump pumps have become useful in homeowners struggles to maintain dry, waterproof basements. In some locations around the United States, building codes require the installation of sump pumps. Many homeowners have saved considerable sums of money simply by taking routine steps to keep residential sump pumps fully operational and in good working condition.
While sump pumps offer comparatively inexpensive water-removal assistance, failing to install a sump pump or to detect a malfunction involving the pump can prove exceedingly costly. Take some routine precautions to help ensure the sump pumps in your basement operate efficiently. You won’t need to expend a lot of effort, but you might reap important cost-savings with our list of sump pump precautions:
One: Learn About Basic Sump Pump Operations
Sump pumps essentially perform the work of a “bucket brigade” by helping to collect pooling water from the lowest levels of a residence and pump it directly outside. For this reason, they typically occupy a “sump pit,” the lowest elevation in the basement. Water flows down to the sump pit through a basement drainage system. The sump pit will also collect any water seeping through basement walls or entering lower levels of the premises as a result of unusually heavy rains or flooding.
Today, depending upon their needs, homeowners often choose between two different styles of sump pump: pedestal or submersible. Both types offer advantages and disadvantages. The pedestal sump pump’s motor sits on a platform which elevates it above the sump pit. It contains a hose (or an intake pipe) extending down into the pit. As the engine pumps, it collects water pooled in the sump pit and pumps it outdoors. By contrast, a submersible sump pump’s motor sits beneath the sump pit basement drain within a completely enclosed waterproof housing. Out of sight under the basement floor, it also works to pump any water from the sump pit into a pipe leading outdoors. While sometimes very noisy during operation, pedestal pumps offer the advantages of a more easily accessible pump mechanism and a slightly lower cost. Submersible pumps usually provide considerably quieter operation, and they remain completely hidden from view and do not take up any useful basement floor space. However, repairing the motor generally requires expert assistance due to the pump’s difficult-to-access location.
Two: Test Your Sump Pump Periodically
Home inspection experts recommend testing the sump pump at designated intervals. In some homes, a sump pump works almost around the clock during certain times of year. Making periodic checks of this equipment helps insure it will continue operating when needed. Home inspectors suggest asking an electrician to install a ground fault circuit interrupter on the sump pump’s electrical outlet to reduce possible electrocution dangers involving a sump pump.
The sump pump typically contains a water pressure sensor in the form of a float activator. As water flows into the sump pit, it exerts pressure on this mechanism and turns on the sump pump automatically. (A few homes possess manually activated sump pumps which require the owner to flip a switch to activate.) Test the pump’s operation by pouring water into the sump pit.
Three: Install a Backup Sump Pump
Sump pump failures can prove costly. Many plumbers recommend the installation of a second, back-up battery-powered sump pump. It can provide important assistance if a power interruption occurs during a heavy rainstorm.
Today many of these units include an alarm to alert residents to the need for battery replacement. Battery-powered pumps typically lack sustained endurance. Yet this equipment may prevent a flooded basement in some situations.
Four: Obtain Periodic Submersible Sump Pump Drain Cleaning
A third sump pump precaution applies specifically to popular submersible sump pumps. Placed beneath the basement drain in the sump pit, these units periodically become clogged with debris and sediment. They usually contain a bottom grate which accumulates unwanted material.
Periodical removal and cleaning helps ensure submersible pumps continue working effectively. It usually proves helpful to inspect the basement sump pit drain, too. Clear away any trapped debris or gravel.
A Persistently Wet Basement
If you take every precaution to maintain your home’s sump pump in good working condition, yet you still notice frequent dampness or pooling water in the basement, you might benefit by consulting about this problem with a full-time waterproofing company. Persistently damp indoor conditions can lead to a variety of heath and safety concerns. These issues range from the development of mold to termite infestations and weakened building foundations.
Our firm remains available to assist property owners struggling to resolve sump pump and basement waterproofing issues. Don’t allow a dank basement to degrade your property values. Instead, simply give us a call. We’ll help you discover the source of persistent water and find practical, effective solutions.