What does a sump pump do and how does it work? If your home has a basement it probably has a sump pump installed in the lowest corner. Sump pumps generally last 4 to 8 years. If the pump is working properly it will collect ground water in a pit below the basement floor.
The water comes down the wall, accumulates and goes to a sump pit. There is a sump pump check valve inside the pit. It’s function is to prevent discharged water from flowing back into the pit. This valve also keeps the sump pump from becoming worn out because its having to pump the same water twice.
When the pit begins to fill, a float switch triggers the sump pump to turn itself on. It then pumps the water out to the city’s storm sewer or the nearest drainage ditch. Hopefully about 6 -10 feet away from your house.
To ensure your sump pump is working test by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pump pit. Make sure that the pump turns on and empties most of the water from the pit and turns itself off again.
Sump pumps require electricity to operate. That means if a thunderstorm knocks out power to your home the sump pump can no longer do its job. The solution to this problem is to install a battery backup system or a water-powered backup pump system that will continue to pump away storm water and prevent flooding.
If you’re one of those homeowners that have competent do-it-yourself skills should be able to handle many flood prevention tasks on your own. But its important to recognize when you’re in over your head and need the assistance of a professional plumber.
Sump Pump Failure
If you’ve every been in a slight panic mode because you’ve seen water down in your basement it may be because your sump pump did not turn on. This is usually following a major rain storm where lightning or high winds have knocked out the power.
If the sump pump has failed simply because the electricity is out or due to your sump pump needing replacement there’s a way you can prevent your basement from flooding. One way is a 12-volt emergency battery backup system.
You’ll need to use a deep cycling battery with this setup. A deep cycling battery is designed to go all the way down to zero.
The problem with a battery back up system is that anytime you take a battery and put it in your basement you forget all about it. Five years from now the battery could be dead, it could be out of acid and you have no way of knowing when that battery has gotten tired.
Depending on how much water its pumping it will only be able to pump for 6-8 hours max. It’s going to be all done at the end of the first day and if this is a long term power outage the battery sump pump back up isn’t always the best solution.This is when you need to start thinking about moving toward a water backup system.
A water backup sump pump works well because most homes today have unlimited water. When things go wrong you never run out of water pressure.
A water backup pump may not pump as many gallons per minute as a battery backup but its fairly close. What it does do is it pumps all day long. The water pump goes in the pit. It has a float valve and sits above the level of your regular sump pump. It generally is set up very high near the top of a sump pit.
Now if your power goes out the water level in the pit begins to rise. This lifts up the float in the water powered backup which eventually discharges the water out of the house. These units can pump out thousands of gallons of water per hour after after.
This backup system can pump for days long after a battery backup would have been dead and gone. These will keep pumping until your electricity is stored.
A backup sump pump can be a valuable asset to any home just in case of a power outage. However, if you’re not all that concerned about water levels exceeding your sump pump then a water alarm is a great alternative for any mishaps and much less expensive.