Depending on the area you live in, you may or may not have a sump pump. If you live in an area where flooding is prevalent, there is rapid snow melt or heavy rain storms occur often, then chances are you have a sump pump in your home. It may surprise you to know that it only takes a little bit of water to cause damage that can run in the thousands and if your basement is damp, mold can become a serious problem. Some areas require homeowners have a sump pump. The peace of mind a good sump pump provides is well worth the cost.
What is a Sump Pump?
Sump pumps are a pump that will either be in the basement or a crawlspace and are designed to prevent excess water from getting into your home. A sump pump has a “check valve” that will keep your basement dry by pumping water out of the area and away from your home. A pedestal sump pump comes in two pieces; a standalone motor, which is installed above the basement floor, and a hose that feeds into the sump pit. These sump pumps are used when there is a shallow or narrow sump pit. Submersible sump pumps are more common than pedestal sump pumps because they are installed when a house is being built. This type of pump is submerged under water in the sump pit below your basement floor. The pump and motor are both enclosed in a waterproof container to prevent damage. A grate or screen is on the underside of the pump to stop the flow of debris.
How Does a Sump Pump Work?
Sump pumps are installed in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace. A hole is drilled into the concrete floor and the pump is then inserted. The hole is about two feet deep and 18 inches across. This hole is called a sump basin or a sump pit. Then a pipe is fitted that will run up and out of the home. Water is then released several feet away from the foundation of your home. The pipe has a valve on it that will prevent the water from coming back into the basin or pit. High levels of water from melting snow, flooding and above normal rainfall can cause water to leak into your home through tiny cracks. When a sump pump is installed, the water will flow into the sump basin where a float (like the one in your toilet) will be activated. When the float rises, the sump pump will be activated. When the sump pump is activated a fan will also start to spin and use centrifugal force to push water out through the pipe. Sump pumps require electricity to work and needs to be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) because sump pumps are either in water or around it. For continuous operation, battery operated pumps as backup are a good idea if the power goes out. When a sump pump starts to malfunction, you’ll have water issues in your basement or crawlspace. There can be a few reasons this is happening.
Diagnosing Sump Pump Problems
The leading mechanical cause of sump pump problems is a switch problem. This issue occurs when the pump shifts from its position inside the basin, rendering the float ineffective. Your sump pump relies on both the switch and the float arm mechanisms to operate effectively. Other causes of sump pump failure include:
• Power outage
• Debris in the pump
• Frozen or clogged discharge lines
• Pump or pit is incorrectly sized
• Check valve is broken or missing
• Improper connections to sewers
Residential Plumbers & Commercial Plumbing Contractors in Marshfield, Conway & Greater Lebanon, Missouri
Sump pumps need to be serviced to keep them clean. Dirt, sand and other debris that can get into the pump. When build up occurs, it can damage the pump and plumbing repairs will cost more. Fully functioning sump pumps with battery back-up are a valuable investment. Contact Randall’s Plumbing for all your sump pump and plumbing needs.