Sump Pumps

Buyer's Guide: Sump Pumps

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are pumps used to remove accumulated water from a water-collecting sump basin. They are commonly found in the basements of homes or private buildings. They are installed in pits dug beneath the basement. Rainwater, groundwater, or water from the basement perimeter drains are the usual sources of water to the sump basin.

To ensure the proper functioning and to limit the risk of damage, sump pumps are sometimes connected to electronic control systems and are properly covered to keep out animals and debris.

Sump pumps are automatically activated when they are needed. During heavy rains or flooding, the pit in which the pump is installed fills with water. The rising water activates the sump pump float which then turns on the pump. This action prevents flooding by draining water as soon as it begins to rise in the pit. Sump pumps drain water into storm drains, dry wells, or detention ponds.

Sump pumps are used in areas that experience heavy rainfalls or snowfalls. They are used in buildings and basements built on lands prone to flooding. They are in fact useful in places where the water table is higher than the foundation of the house.

Sump pumps are connected to the electrical system of the house or building, but they are usually fitted with a backup battery. This is important as during heavy rains, the main power may go out for long periods and sump basins may fill and overflow as a result of the pump is out.

For many homes, primary sump pumps are the standard. These pumps are designed with the capability to pump out thousands of gallons an hour. There are two types of primary sump pumps: submersible sump pumps and pedestal sump pumps.

Pedestal pumps have their motors mounted above the sump, which is out of the water. This location makes it easy for the motors to be serviced. Since the base of pedestal pumps are submerged with their motors above, pedestal pumps are ideal for small basins. These pumps are long-lasting, with a lifespan of 25 - 30 years.

Submersible pumps, as their name suggests, have all their parts submerged within the sump. They are sealed with special casings to prevent electrical damage and short-circuiting. Submersible pumps are more expensive than pedestal pumps and have a shorter lifespan (10 - 15 years). Despite these disadvantages, though, they are about as widely used as pedestal pumps for their ability to pump debris and solid materials without clogging.

Sump pumps are also used in industrial systems to stabilize surface soil. With heavy rainfalls, water tables rise and can result in unstable soil structure due to water saturation. Industrial sump pumps solve this problem. They are about 10 - 15 feet deep and are lined with corrugated pipes perforated with drain holes.

Sump pumps have the following benefits: they protect basements and property against flooding; they prevent damage of a paint and wall coverings due to damp and rising groundwater; they protect furniture and fixtures from rot, and they reduce the growth of mold, fungus, and mildew. Infestation of termites and other insects are drawn to moisture is also reduced. Sump pumps, by removing groundwater and properly draining water, also reduce electrical hazards. They also guarantee the integrity of the house foundation.

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