Most homeowners nowadays utilize a sump pump, which helps keep your basement dry year round. But many don’t actually know how contraption works.
A sump pump is a small pump that is installed into the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. It is designed to help keep the area underneath the building dry and prevent it from flooding. Usually, they are installed in specially designed areas called sump pits. Water will flow into the sump put through a drain or by the natural flow of water through the soil. The job of the sump pump is to then pump the water out of the pit and away from the building so that the basement or crawl space stays dry.
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than 60 percent of Americans suffer from moisture below the ground. But even more of these homeowners will have to deal with the unfortunate event of a flooded basement at some point in time. It really doesn’t take much water to cause thousands of dollars of damage. Another damage that a lot of homeowners don’t take into account is mold growth, which occurs in a moist area that a wet basement can provide.
Sump pumps have been common practice in homes for a while, but primarily in low-lying areas or places that are prone to flooding. However, a legislation that was passed in 1987 has made sump pumps a requirement in homes that aren’t necessarily at risk. Sump pumps are now common in all new construction endeavors.
So, how exactly does this hefty appliance keep your basement dry? Here is an explanation.
A sump pump is usually present in a sump pit, which is a hole with a gravel base about 2 feet deep and 18 inches wide, which is dug in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace. As the sump pit begins to fill with water, the pump turns on. It moves the water out of the pit and through the pipes that run away from your property. The pipe will also have a one-way valve (referred to as a check valve) at the end of the pump to keep the water from flowing backwards into the pit.
Most sump pumps turn on automatically due to a float activator or a pressure sensor. The pressure sensor is explained by its name: water will exert the pressure rather than air, which will then cause the pump to activate. The float activator works much like the one located in the toilet tank. A ball floats up to the top of the water, moving the arm as the water level rises. You can also have a sump pump that is operated manuals, but it only works when you decide to turn it on, which can be very inconvenient. Automatic pumps also have the option for you to activate it if the two other options aren’t working.
Most sump pumps use a centrifugal pump to move the water. When the motor is turned on, it causes the screw-like device to turn. By using the force of the centrifuge, the spinning screw forces water towards the sides of the pipe, creating low pressure near the center. Water then rushes in from the pit and fills the void, and is then pushed out through the pipe.
Any sump pumps in the home are powered by electricity and use the household current, so no special wiring is required. Since the pump is always in water, it is a good idea to have a ground fault circuit interrupter installed to avoid electrocution.
Also, there are two different kinds of pumps, and both of which are about 2 ½ feet high. A submersible pump is one that rests in the water and is encased in waterproof housing. A flat screen covers the bottom of the pump to keep out debris, and once the pump turns on, water is sucked through the screen and routed through the pipes.
The other type of pump is the pedestal pump, which looks like a stick with a fat head. The pedestal keeps the pump out of the pit and away from the water. An inlet pipe reaches from the bottom to draw the water out. Since the motor and the pump are out of the water these pumps are usually louder, but less expensive.