4 Things You Should Know About Sump Pumps

Are you living in an area that is prone to heavy rainfall and flooding? Is your property located in a low lying area? Does your home have a basement where water can eventually seep in?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you definitely would need a mechanical device known as a sump pump. Many homeowners are not even aware of its presence because it is tucked away down in the basement where it “quietly” does its work to keep your property safe from flooding. There are some important things you should know about sump pumps to keep your property, specifically your basement, dry and clean.

Types of Sump Pumps

Sump pumps can be classified either as pedestal or submersible. The pedestal sump pump is considered to be comparatively more economical because of its lower amp usage. Pedestal sump pumps are also commonly known as column pumps because of its vertical design. The other type is the submersible pump; which, as its name suggests works as the water reaches a certain level.

Although both have been proven effective, your choice can be dictated by the area where the sump pump would be installed as well as the air flow in the room. Submersible types rely on the ground water it is sitting on for cooling while the column pumps make use of the surrounding air flow for cooling; insufficient air flow can pose cooling problems for column type pumps. Even if the average life of sump pumps is around 10 years, because of its mechanical nature, it will fail eventually.

How Sump Pumps Work

All sump pumps have a float switch that acts as the trigger for turning on and shutting off the device. The float switches of sump pumps can be categorized as:

  • Tethered – the ideal choice for deep and large sump pits because it allows for longer operation cycles that can effectively cool down the device resulting in a reduction of energy consumption and extending the operating life of the sump pump;
  • Vertical – shallower and narrower sump pits should make use of this type of float switch because it can run more often preventing the water from getting too deep; and
  • Electronic – the best choice for small pump pits because of the absence of moving parts allowing for its optimal operation in small spaces. These often come with added features such as water depth alarm among others.

Pumping Power

When deciding on the type of sump pump you need, you should also be aware that its horsepower would dictate how fast it can move water from the sump pit to the outside of your basement or property. So if your sump pit tends to fill up rather quickly, then you are better off buying a sump pump with a higher horsepower to avoid overflow. You should keep in mind though that the trade off with higher horsepower is that it also uses more electricity that can raise your utility bills.

One solution is to increase the size of your sump pit (if possible) and choose a tethered type float switch. The longer distance between pump cycles lessens the amount of electricity used as well as extends the life of your sump pump.

Sump Pump Failure

Imagine the scenario of being in the middle of a rain storm and hundreds of gallons of water coming into your basement. Suddenly, your sump pump gives out; this can damage your water heater, furnace, and other devices in the basement.

There are commonly two reasons why sump pumps fail:

  1. 1. Electrical Problem – sump pumps need to be directly plugged into electrical outlets with its own circuit breaker. This will ensure that stable power is sent to the sump pump for optimal performance.
  2. 2. Switch Failure – in many cases, the switch is the cause for the failure of the sump pump to operate. It is recommended to periodically have the sump pump checked by a trained professional before the wet season sets in.

To make sure that your property is protected from damaging floods and dangerous moisture, call Scott English Plumbing to get expert advice on sump pumps. We can install your sump pump to make sure you are not flooded with headaches.