What Is A Sump Pump And How Does It Work?

Benefiting Your Home in the Best Way

If you’ve never heard of a sump pump, you wonder what it is and What is the purpose of a sump pump installation. If you live in an area where basements are a common part of a home, you know what the purpose of a sump pump. If you don’t have one but have experienced a flooded basement, a sump pump installation is probably on your things-to-do list. 

A sump is a pit that is carved below the surface of a basement floor to remove water. In the pit, also referred to as a basin, sump pump installation includes valves that can sense rising water level or pressure. When the water reaches a certain height or pressure that the valves recognize, the sump pump begins automatically, pumping that excess water out and away from the property through an effluent or drain line to a designated area.

What is a sump pump used for?

Homes with a basement, flooding is often an issue when it rains. Once water gets in a basement, it can be difficult to remove, and we all know what standing water can do, right?  In this case, water in a basement not only will begin to mildew, begin having mold growth. When the standing water gets above the foundation water table, it will rot and weaken the walls of the basement, jeopardizing the structure of the basement and the house. 

A sump pump installation is typically for basements that regularly flood to help remove that water and the dampness.  The sump pump then sends that water away from the house and to a dry well or municipal storm drain so that it isn’t a problem anymore.

A sump pump doesn’t operate continuously. A sump pump installation is done so that when there isn’t water in the basement, the pump goes on standby mode until the water reaches that above table level again. When it does rain and becomes a heavy rain can oversaturate the ground around the house, and that excess groundwater is funneled towards the sump pit. Once the sump pit has collected enough water, the valves of the pump sense the water level and activate the sump pump. 

A sump pump installation is designed so that excess water fills the sump pit and drains into a nearby storm drain, detention period, or dry well, preventing the groundwater from filling the basement, causing it to flood. You can consider having a sump pump installation as another type of flood insurance.

Do sump pumps smell?

No, a sump pump does not smell unless there hasn’t been any rain in a while. If there is any water inside the pump, it can stagnate. This standing water inside the pump will breed bacteria, mildew, mold, and more, all of which create an odor. You can rid this quickly by adding diluted bleach to the pump, which leads us to the next question: Do sump pumps need maintenance?

After you have a sump pump installation, it knows when to pump and when to remain idle. That doesn’t mean that the homeowner doesn’t have any responsibilities, A sump pump is quite reliable, but like any vital appliance or equipment in your home, it needs regular maintenance to keep it ready to activate when needed.

The following quarterly and annual sump pump maintenance routine will keep your sump pump ready to go when needed: 

Quarterly Maintenance 

  • Unplug the pump and empty any standing water from the sump. 
  • Clean any debris from the sump basin and clean the pump inlet screen.
  • Plug the pump in, then add five gallons of water to the sump basin to test the pump, making sure it is activating when needed and turns off as intended. 

Annual Maintenance

As a homeowner, after you have your sump pump installation completed, you can perform the following tasks or hire a professional contractor, the same theory as hiring a professional HVAC contractor for annual inspection and cleaning. 

  • Check your owner’s manual for what is recommended to lubricate and what type of lubrication to use. 
  • Clear any debris from the sump basin.
  • Return the pump to the sump basin and plug it into the power outlet.
  • Add five gallons of water into the sump basin and watch the pump action, making sure the float switch is activating. Once you have verified that the pump is moving the entire travel range without binding, and the pump turns on and off as intended. 
  • Outside your home, check the discharge pipe, making sure there isn’t any obstruction and is draining entirely and doesn’t have any residual water. Checking this is extremely important during the winter when the water can freeze and rupture the pipe.

How long do sump pumps last on average?

Sadly, this additional flood insurance, aka sump pump installation, the unit won’t last forever. The average lifespan of a sump pump is ten years. The following are factors that determine that lifespan: 

  • Use frequency.
  • The distance the pump carries water to discharge.
  • The electrical supply.
  • The pump quality.

Are houses with sump pumps bad?

No, but if you purchase a house where a sump pump installation has been done, you want to have it inspected by a professional to assure it is working condition. 

Why get a sump pump?

A sump pump installation can provide the right type of house great benefits. What is the right type of house? If your home matches any of the following, a sump pump installation may be worth checking into: 

  • Rain or snow climate: Thenortheast can benefit from a sump pump installation, more than the western desert area. 
  • A flood-prone property: If your home is on a property with poor drainage, or there are hills and mountains all around, the groundwater level is like to rise during heavy rain, snowstorm, or during spring rain runoff.
  • Previous flooding problems: A history of basement flooding is always a good reason to have a pump installation done. 
  • A finished basement: Maybe your basement has never flooded, but if you have invested in finishing it out, a sump pump installation will give you peace of mind. 

Pumping To A Close: Sump Pump Advantages

There are some significant advantages to having a sump pump installation in your basement: 

  • Provides flooding defense
  • Protect paint, wallpaper, or any wall coverings 
  • Keep appliances in the basement safe from corrosion 
  • Reduce fungus, mildew, and mold growth
  • Discourage critters, insects, and rodents
  • Indoor air quality improvement
  • Keep the foundation intact
  • Keep the basement dry and comfortable year-round
  • Peace of mind
  • Help lower homeowner’s insurance risk for flood coverage

Dial (818) 975-2131 to connect with our team today about a sump pump installation for your Sherman Oaks, CA home.