What is a sump? Architecturally speaking, it is any low space which collects undesirable liquids – including water. Whether it’s by accident or by design, the lowest part of your basement can easily serve as a sump. This will be the area to place your sump pump!
A basement which doubles as a sump will encounter serious problems without some sort of mechanism in place to drain it. A flooded basement doesn’t just damage or destroy anything stored inside it. It also poses a serious risk of lethal electric shock to anyone living inside the house, and it may quickly breed mold and mildew which will colonize the frame, walls and floorboards above.
More than 60% of homes in the United States are at risk of flooding or accumulating significant amounts of moisture. If your home is one of them, then you need a pump. This appliance relocates water from your basement to the outdoors.
A sump pump typically draws water directly from a basin that has been specifically created for its purposes. This basin is installed within the floor of the basement, thus creating a natural point of accumulation for any water which seeps in through the surrounding foundation. When the sump pump senses that the water level in its basin has grown too high, it kicks into action to begin pumping excess water to the discharge line.
What Kinds of Sump Pumps Are There?
Not all pumps are created equal. The best pump for your home depends on both your budget and your drainage needs, as well as your personal preferences. Consulting with a professional plumber in Richmond, MN is the surest way to purchase and install the best one for your purposes. That said, there are the major types of sump pumps.
- Submersible. This type of pump houses its motor and pump together. Because its mechanical units remain submerged within the basin, a submersible sump pump is quiet, compact and resistant to clogging. While pedestal sump pumps often boast superior longevity, a submersible sump pump is usually the better solution for basements which are at risk of frequent flooding.
- Pedestal. In contrast to a submersible model, a pedestal sump pump houses its motor and pump separately. The motor is seated high above the basin where it powers the pump below. A motor which will never be submerged in water is easier to maintain and nearly always lasts longer – but it also takes up more space, and it isn’t surrounded by a basin which would have dampened the noises it produces.
- Battery-powered backup. This reserve sump pump operates independently of the power grid, thus making it an excellent choice for remote homes which endure frequent storms and blackouts. The specialized battery is somewhat expensive and must be replaced every five years, and its terminals should also be cleaned every six months. But such light maintenance is well worth the peace of mind a battery-powered backup sump pump provides.
How Do You Maintain a Sump Pump?
Like any other appliance in a home, a sump pump requires regular maintenance in order to do its job efficiently and reliably. Your pump’s owner’s manual will provide the most accurate maintenance instructions. But according to the Sump & Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association, homeowners should do the following to keep so important an appliance fully operational:
- Every three to four months: Clean the pump screen or inlet opening, and then pour enough water into the basin to force the sump pump to begin cycling. That will ensure it is still operational. (These steps should be followed monthly if your sump pump collects discharge from a washing machine.)
- Annually: Remove the sump pump so you can clean it and its basin completely. No disassembly or lubrication is required unless otherwise stated in the pump’s manual. Annual professional inspection is highly advised.
It is vital to disconnect your sump pump from its power supply before servicing it. Water and electricity do not mix! It is also important to keep your pump and its basin free of debris at all times. If your sump pump’s inlet screen becomes obstructed with debris, clear it at once to preserve your pump’s lifespan.
Annual maintenance of a pump requires to remain in peak operating condition. These include ensuring that the basin is deep and wide enough, the check valve is effectively preventing backflow, the backup power source is operational, the alarm is functioning correctly, and the discharge location is still situated a safe distance away from the home.
Failing to install or maintain a sump pump could result in serious property damage during a flood or thaw. If you live in Albany, Avon, Cold Spring, Eden Valley, Freeport, Kimball, Lake Henry, Paynesville, Richmond, Rockville, St. Joseph or Watkins, Minnesota then we welcome you to contact Gilk Plumbing, Heating & A/C today for all your sump pump needs!