How Does a Backup Sump Pump Work?


Sump Pump Basics

  • A sump pump is generally an electric pump installed in the basement area of a house. The motor on the sump pump basically produces suction power to draw excess water from the basement of a home. This electrical device can prevent thousands of dollars in repair cost.


  • Sump pumps generally function with a sump pit. The sump pit is a hole dug in the ground of the basement of a home. This hole (sump pit) is where the water enters. The sump pump, subsequently, suctions or pumps the water out of the sump pit to the outside of the home. Sump pumps are usually needed in cases where the homes basement is beneath the water table level or in locations where flooding is customary. In most cases, sump pumps are needed where a home's bottom level is lower than sewer lines.

Types of Sump Pumps

  • There are two major kinds of sump pumps. The pedestal sump pump consists of a motor that is placed and installed on a small pedestal. A pipe travels from the motor to the base of the sump pit. A device called the float is connected to a metal rod linked to a control switch located on the pedestal sump pump. When there is a flood in the basement of the home, water fills the sump pit. When the water starts to rise, the float device rises to a certain point to activate the control switch to the sump pump. The water is sucked up from one pipe through another one which leads to the homes sewer or septic tank system. Pedestal sump pumps are not to be submersed under water. It is designed to be above water. The second kind of sump pump is the submersible sump pump. Submersible sump pumps are designed to be submersed under water without causing harm to the sump pump unit. With submersible sump pumps water is drawn and filtered out via the bottom of the sump pump. They do not have any attached pipes to suction water out. The bottom of the submersible sump pump consists of a screen type filter that prevents gravel and debris from being suctioned into the pumps impeller. The impeller on the submersible sump pump is a major part of the sump pump. It produces the suction power. If the impeller is damaged, the sump pump is ultimately damaged and must be replaced.

    Submersible sump pumps generally consist of a durable plastic bubble-type covering over the electric switch of the sump pump. When water raises the bubble floats. When the water rises to a certain level over the pump, the electric switch is activated and the pump goes to work suctioning the water from the basement.

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