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Sump Pumps


As with any other important piece of equipment, regular sump pump maintenance is always a good idea.

Sump pump maintenance is usually as simple as doing these few basic tasks. Spend a few minutes checking pump operation during any rainy season and in early spring to ensure reliable sump pump operation.


Just what is a Sump Pump and what does it do?

Sump pumps are needed to help keep ground water from entering your basement. When a house is constructed, drain tiles are installed under and around the perimeter of the basement floor. These drain tiles pick up water from around the foundation and direct it in...to the sump pit.

A submersible sump pump sits in the sump pit (a small hole approximately 2’ in diameter in the basement floor). It's designed to catch the water that is picked up by the drain tiles. As water fills up the sump pit, the sump pump kicks on and starts pumping the water out through the sump discharge pipe where it is discharged either onto the lawn (grade) or into an underground sump discharge pipe. If the water is discharged onto the lawn (grade), homeowners will want to be sure that the water is discharged a safe distance (approximately 10’) away from the foundation, otherwise that same water may find its way back down along the foundation only to enter the drain tiles where it is pumped out again. It is also important to make sure that gutter downspouts are directed away from the foundation.

Sump pumps usually have a float which triggers them to turn on and off. When the water rises in the sump pit hole, the sump pump float rises as well. When that float reaches a certain height, the sump pump automatically turns on and starts pumping the excess water out. In some homes where there is an excessive amount of ground water an “alternating” sump pump system is installed. This system involves installing 2 pumps in the pit that “alternate” the pumping between each other. 

An important accessory that can be added to a sump pump system is a “high water alarm”. This alarm is installed inside the sump pit and will send an alarm should the water in the pit reach a dangerous level. The alarm alerts the homeowner in time to replace or repair the pump before their basement is flooded.

The best way to protect your foundation is to divert the storm water into an underground pipe that is connected to a municipal storm system or ditch. Although a very small number of older cities allow sump water to be discharged into the sewer system, it is against the law in most cities. It is also is extremely bad for the environment. During major storm events, storm water floods the sewer system beyond capacity and causes the sewage treatment plants to overflow into our rivers and streams. It can also cause an extreme sewage back up in the house if the main sewer line becomes restricted.



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