Sump Pump Guide
One of the most important things for any basement is to have proper drainage. Located below ground level it is subject to water runoff. There can also be problems from an underground spring, a break in the basement wall, storm water and plumbing problems. Allowing water to stagnate on your basement floor not only encourages the growth of mold and a bad odor but also damage to the basement walls and floor as well. Walls and the floor can crack, requiring expensive water damage repairs.
For homes or businesses with this kind of a water problem, the answer is the installation of a sump pump. A sump pump may be electric, battery or both with a 1/2 or 1/3 horsepower. They come in submersible or pedestal models. For many years these pumps have been installed in buildings with a low flood plain, heavy water run offs or other places where water tends to accumulate. The U.S. Federal Clean Water Act of 1987 legislation has passed amendments, which make sump pumps a requirement in many new construction projects.
U.S. standards for sump pumps are as follows:
• The sump basin must be of plastic, concrete or metal
• It must be 2 feet across and 2 to 3 feet deep
• It must have a 15 to 25 U.S. gallon capacity
• The sump pump must be 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower(200-400 W)
• The sump pump must have either battery or electric power (or both)
Submersible or Pedestal?
The difference between the two general types is that the submersible model has the motor sealed inside the sump and the pedestal’s model has the motor above the sump. The pedestal model is easier to service and will last from 25 to 30 years. The submersible model has a lifetime of 5 to 15 years.
These pumps pull the excess water into a disposal system, leaving the basement floor dry. In many older homes, this water goes directly into the sewer system. However, many municipalities will no longer allow this and other provisions must be made for disposal of the drainage.
How Exactly Does a Sump Pump Work?
The sump itself is at least 10 feet or more deep and is lined with corrugated pipe. This pipe has drain holes to release the pumped out water. Other parts involved with sump pumps include having a backup system and alarm. This is essential should something go wrong with the operation. There are also things such as a water level sensing switch, the proper voltage. Depending on the location, the voltage required can involve 110-112, 220-240 or 460 volts. Having a secondary battery powered pump as a backup system is an excellent precaution should the electricity go out.
It is important that the sump pump and sump basin be regularly checked to be sure it is clear of dirt, or other debris that will cause the sump to force the water back into the basement. This will not only damage the basin but the pump as well. Experts recommend that you have an experienced plumber check out the basin and pump at least once a year to be sure it is operating efficiently.