Sump Pump

How a Sump Pump Prevents Basement Flooding

Keep your basement free of flooding by funneling excess groundwater into a sump pump pit. Once the pit is full, a float switch turns the pump on to remove the water through a discharge pipe.Sump Pump

If your sump pump is making loud rattling noises or running constantly, check to see if the float switch has become stuck or if debris is blocking it. Also, inspect the check valve and discharge line.

A sump pump is a good idea to prevent your home from flooding when heavy rainstorms, strong winds, and rapid melting snow threaten to flood your basement. It works by collecting groundwater in a basin or pit and then pumping it away through a pipe that runs several feet to a drainage point on the outside of your house. This water is then sent back into the earth through storm sewers or percolation, leaving your home dry.

The pump is activated by a float switch that monitors the water level in the sump pit. When the float rises, it signals the pump to turn on and start draining the water. The pump must be properly sized to ensure that the water is removed quickly and without overloading the motor. The float should be checked frequently to make sure it isn’t stuck. The discharge pipe should also be checked to be free of blockages. In addition, the area around the pit should be clear to prevent debris from collecting inside or near the pump.

Once the float switch triggers the pump, a centrifugal motor pumps water into a discharge pipe. This forces the rising water to the sides of the pipe, creating a low pressure area in the center. This allows the suction power of the pump to draw water up through the pump’s pipe and out of the pit. The float switch is then repositioned to start a new cycle.

Backup battery power supplies allow the sump pump to continue working even when the electricity goes out. These are commonly used in areas that experience frequent outages. They are available for purchase or rent and are very convenient. The backup batteries should be tested periodically for proper operation. The battery charger should be located 3 to 4 feet above the floor of the basement and stored in a plastic battery box for protection from water.

The battery should be a combination lead-acid battery that has a CCA and an AH rating. It should be placed on a dedicated battery charger to keep the voltage above 12 volts.

Design

The sump pump is a special pump inserted into a basin installed in the floor that collects groundwater and pumps it out of the basement or crawl space, preventing potential flooding. Often, wet basements aren’t caused by the sump pump itself; they occur when water that falls on the ground isn’t able to drain or moves away from the home. A well-designed drainage system can prevent this and keep the basement dry, but if you want to go further than simply directing water out with gutters or grading the land around your home, a sump pump is an excellent solution.

A good sump pump design can prevent basement floods and even stop them before they begin. This is especially important during winter when ground-water rises and water accumulates in the basement from thawing snow.

It’s also important to install the sump pump correctly to ensure its longevity and performance. For example, the sump pit should be located at the lowest point of the basement and close to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. The pit should also be large enough to accommodate the pump and any discharge line that will be connected to it.

In addition, the sump pump should be sized to handle the maximum flow that it will experience at peak demand. This will be based on physically fitting the pump and components within the sump basin as well as the volume of storage in the basin. Generally, two 4″ pumps sized to accept 80 gpm at peak inlet flow can fit into a 5′ diameter basin with 147 gallons of storage per foot of depth.

A float switch, or float activator arm, is another vital component of a good sump pump design. This is the device that will alert the pump to turn on when the basin reaches a certain level of water. It works similarly to the float in a toilet tank, but can be made out of materials that won’t clog or get hung up on debris in the sump basin.

A faulty float switch will cause the pump to cycle continuously, which can burn out the motor long before its designed lifespan. A loud rattling noise when the sump pump is in use may indicate that this has happened, so it’s important to inspect the float and pump regularly for issues.

Installation

A sump pump is one of the best home improvement projects you can undertake to prevent basement flooding. It helps protect your home from both short-term and long-term damage caused by heavy rainstorms, rapidly melting snow, or water seepage. A well-designed sump pump channels away the water and carries it outdoors, where it is safely discarded far from the foundation of your home.

A good place to locate your sump pit is a spot where the water will naturally flow down and away from your home, such as near a drainage ditch or river. You may want to consult your local building code for guidelines on where you can route the pump discharge. Most towns don’t allow you to run a sump pump’s discharge line directly into a sewer, so it is best to install a dry well or other drainage solution outside of your house.

Dig a hole for your sump pit that is at least 22 inches deep. Before putting the basin in, line it with coarse gravel to promote proper drainage and keep silt from clogging the pump. Once the sump pump is in, put more gravel around it, then a stone paver on top to raise it from the bottom of the pit. Use a check valve on the pump outlet to ensure that water flows out of the sump pit and not back into your basement. Install the valve using a hose clamp so you can remove it for servicing or replacement.

You should also consider adding a battery backup sump pump, which will give you an extra layer of protection if your power fails during a storm. This upgrade is especially important in areas prone to flooding from floods or river rises.

You can buy a complete battery backup sump system from GEM, including the Zoeller 1/3 HP M53 sump pump and a Zoeller 1/2 HP M98 upgraded sump pump. The installation process for both pumps is very similar, but be sure to follow the instructions that came with your kit carefully. It is also important to test the pumps regularly for clogs and other problems.

Maintenance

Sump pumps are hard-working pieces of equipment that keep moisture out of basements and other areas of the home. They require maintenance and inspections to ensure they can continue to function well.

A sump pump works by collecting water in a pit and then pumping the water out of the pit and away from the foundation when the water level rises. The sump pump can also be connected to a battery-powered backup that will activate in the event of a power outage.

While your sump pump should operate automatically, it needs to be checked regularly to make sure the float switch is functioning properly and the discharge pipe is directing water away from the house. A sump pump that continuously runs or takes too long to empty the pit can put a strain on its motor and lead to a breakdown.

In addition, a professional inspector will check the sump pump pit to ensure it’s large enough and free of obstructions. He or she will also inspect the float switch and a backup power source to ensure they are in good working condition. The professional will also ensure the pump has an alarm and that the discharge pipe is directing water far enough away from the home but not into a public sewer system or septic tank.

The inspection will also look at the power cord and ensure it is connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This outlet prevents an electric shock from occurring when the sump pump is running. Finally, the technician will inspect the discharge pipe and ensure it is draining properly and is directing the water at least 20 feet away from the home.

When you perform your own sump pump maintenance, be sure to turn off the power supply to the pump and remove it from the pit. Use a hose to rinse the pump basin and the inlet screen, making sure both are clean and unobstructed. A small amount of bleach or disinfecting vinegar can also be used to clean stubborn caked-on dirt and grime. The discharge pipe should be flushed periodically to make sure no larger rocks or twigs are caught in it, which can prevent proper drainage.