Sump Pump: Working & Types

A sump pump is a device that evacuates water collected in the basement or a crawlspace away from the home and prevents flooding. It is a small pump that is installed in a space where liquids are encouraged to accumulate and later evacuated using the sump pumping process. The objective of a sump pump is to keep the area around it dry and prevent flooding. 

Sump Pump Schematic Arrangement
Image Credits: Home Inspection Geeks

A sump pump pumps water out of the pit and away from the building so that the basement or the crawlspace stays dry.

Need for Sump Pump in Building Basement

Around 60 percent of American homes suffer from the wetness of building structures below the ground [ Reference: American Society of Home Inspectors]. A moist basement unit invites many future issues like mold, mildew growth, and related health hazards.

Sump pumps are one common remedy for flooded basements, especially in low-lying areas or where rapid snow melting is prominent. The U.S. Federal Clean Water Act in 1987 made sump pumps a requirement in every home that is at high risk for flooding.

Components & Working of a Sump Pump Unit

The main units of a sump pump system are:

  1. Sump/Basin
  2. Sump pump
  3. Effluent

A sump unit consists of a pump placed inside a sump. A sump is a naturally constructed pit, that is hole carved below the basement floor. This pit is also called a basin. This basin holds the sump pump.

A sump pump consists of valves that sense the rising level of water or pressure. When the water gets higher, the sump pump automatically pumps water out, away through a discharge line. This line is called effluent, which connects to the drainage area.

Sump pumps are powered electrically, by battery, or by water. In case of a power outage, certain sump pump systems contain a backup pump.

Types of Sump Pump

The four types of sump pumps are:

  1. Submersible sump pumps
  2. Pedestal sump pumps
  3. Battery-operated backup
  4. Water-powered backup
  5. Combination sump pump
  6. Sewage pumps

Schematic comparison between submersible sump pump and pedestal sump pump
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Submersible Sump Pumps

·       It is fully submerged in the sump pit.

·       Very powerful and great option for high flooded homes.

·       Helps filter debris and avoid clogging

·       Access is difficult

·       Expensive and difficult to repair or replace.

·       Life-5 to 10 years

Pedestal Sump Pumps

·       Pump motor is raised above the pump.

·       Easy access for repair and replacement

·       Life expectancy 25 to 30 years as less exposure to water or debris.

·       Less expensive than submersible sump pumps.

·       Noisy and its height cause hindrance.

·       Less powerful than submersible sump pumps.

Water-Powered Sump Pumps

·       Water-powered backup sump pump clears water in the basin with the help of increased water pressure.

·       No requirement to look for other backups or batteries.

·       Best used where power outages are common.

·       It consumes significant water which is a disadvantage.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps

·       The battery on the backup unit kicks up during a power outage so that it works continuously.

Combination Sump Pump Systems

·       It is the combination of primary pumps and a battery backup pump.

·       Helps under normal and power outage circumstances.

Sewage Pumps

·       Not the traditional sump pump, but can be used for a situation where the flood water has solids.

·       Sewage pumps can pass solids up to 2’’, compared to regular sump pumps.

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