How Does a Sump Pump Work?

The Purpose of Sump Pumps

For residents that live in a flood-prone area and have basements in their homes, a sump pump is a necessary item to have in the home. It is probably one of the best investments a homeowner could make to save thousands in repair costs. There is nothing more frustrating than waking up in the morning after a heavy rain and discovering that your basement has flooded. Sump pumps are vital to have because if water is left standing, extensive structural damage to the walls and floors can be the result. What's more significant is that water left in the basement can also become a health hazard for families. The wet area will attract potentially disease-carrying bugs and other creatures. And, in damp locations, mildew and mold begin to grow.

The Types of Sump Pumps

When it comes to sump pumps, there are basically two major types. The pedestal sump pump and the submersible sump pump. The pedestal sump pump looks just like it's name, a pedestal. The motor is situated on a small pedestal. A pipe leads downward from the motor on the pedestal to the bottom of the sump pump pit. In the pit, a float is attached to a stand-alone metal rod that is attached to a switch on the pump.

In the case when a basement floods, the water will begin to flow into the sump pit. As the water rises to the top, the float will rise too until it is high enough to activate the switch on the sump pump. At this point, the water is sucked into the pipe and flows into a different hose or pipe that leads to the septic (sewer) system. Unlike the submersible sump pump, the pedestal sump pump motor does not go under water.

The second sump pump, the submersible pump, is designed to be submersed or placed under water. The submersible sump pump does not have attached pipes that draw water out. Water is surged through the bottom of the sump pump. The submersible sump pump generally has a durable plastic bubble that surrounds the electric switch. At the bottom of the pump there is a filter that prevents debris and gravel from being sucked into the sump pumps impeller. The impeller is a device on the sump pump that initiates suction. It's such an important part of the sump pump that if it were to ever get damaged, the entire sump pump would need to be replaced.

When a basement floods and the water rises, the bubble floats to a specific level above the pump. Once this occurs, the switch is activated on the pump, and the pump begins to suck and drain the water out of the basement.

The Importance of Having a Backup Power Supply

Sump pumps are generally wired into a home's central electrical system. In cases of storms, a home's power supply could be out for a while. Therefore, it is important to have a backup power supply so that your sump pump can continue to work when the electricity is out during a storm or in other bad weather conditions that could result in a flooding situation. The sump pump must be capable of working even when it does not have the assistance of electricity to keep it working.