How Do Sump Pumps Work?

Whether it’s a heavy storm, or mild flooding, a sump pump is there to defend your home and keep it dry. Sump pumps move groundwater away from the house’s foundation in order to prevent mold, mildew and water damage.

The pump sits at the bottom of a sump pit, which is typically installed at the lowest point in your basement or crawl space. Ground water surrounding your home's foundation is channeled into a perimeter drain system installed at the base of the foundation. Water finds its way into the perforated drain pipes and is quickly diverted to the sump pit. The sump pump, which is triggered by a float switch, removes the water by pumping it to the nearest storm drain, dry well or detention pond. A sump pump turns on only when water inside the sump pit reaches a predetermined level. Most new homes are equipped with sump pumps, but older homes can be retrofitted with a sump system to prevent basement flooding.

What is a Submersible Sump Pump?

There are two types of sump pumps:

Submersible: The submersible sump-pump is the quietest, least obtrusive sump pump option. Ideal for those with children, the submersible sump-pump is also cleaner and designed for a finished basement. A submersible sump pump sits below water level, inside the sump basin. This model is quieter and less obtrusive than the pedestal pump and is safer if children are in the house. Overall, the submersible pump is easier to handle, operates more efficiently and lasts longer than the alternatives.

Pedestal: The pedestal sump-pump is oftentimes a more economical equipment option. A pedestal sump pump is ideal for smaller pits where there isn’t enough room for a submersible pump and its piping inside the pit. Pedestal sump pumps have a motor mounted high (and dry) on a shaft sticking up well above the sump basin, making it easier to access and repair. The vertical float switch is on the part of the unit that sits down inside the pit where the water collects.

What is a Sump Pump Drain?

A sump pump channels all groundwater away from the home and into a discharge line or directly into a storm drain, well or retention pond. Some municipalities have dual sanitary/storm drains while other have separate lines. Before connecting your sump pump discharge directly to the sewer line, make sure you talk to the local municipal water department or the local plumbing board.

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