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Why Might I Need to Install a Sump Pump?

January 23, 2015

If you or someone you know has ever faced a home flood, especially in the basement, you’ve probably also heard of how a sump pump could have help prevented the problem. What is a sump pump, and how do they help prevent basement floods?

A sump pump is a specialized appliance designed to pump water from one location to another. Homeowners are usually most familiar with sump pumps in the context of preventing basement flooding in the event of severe weather, high water tables in low-lying areas, or other reasons. Water will always find a way through even the smallest of cracks, so the key to preventing a flood is to ensure the water level stays below the level of the basement floor.

A sump pump is installed in the lowest point of a home’s basement or crawl space. It works by channeling groundwater into a perimeter drain system that is installed at the base of the home’s foundation. The pipes that make up this drain system are perforated, allowing water to flow in. The sump pump then redirects the water to the nearest storm drain, dry well, or retention pond. Sump pumps are usually triggered by a float switch and only activate when water reaches a predetermined level. By redirecting excess water, sump pumps prevent water from accumulating inside the home.

Most new homes come equipped with a sump pump, but older homes can be retrofitted with a sump pump. Sump pumps can be hard-wired into a home’s electrical system or be plugged into an outlet. Many sump pumps are equipped with a battery backup to ensure that the pump will work when the power is out, such as during a severe storm, when it’s critically important that water is pumped away from the home.

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