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What Is a Sump Pump, and Why Would You Need One?

Are Sump Pumps Necessary in Every Home?

Many homeowners are not familiar with the concept of a sump pump. Especially those who live in dry climates and whose homes were built without basements. 

But for homes with a basement or crawlspace, and those living in a humid or rainy climate, chances are they’ll need a sump pump - and waiting too long to install one can mean costly damage to the home.

Signs a Home Could Use a Sump Pump

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The purpose of a sump pump is to remove water that collects under the basement foundation due to heavy rainfall or high groundwater levels. In a home with a sump pump, water is allowed to pool in a pit dug in the basement floor, called a sump basin. The pump itself is installed in or above the basin and siphons water out as it accumulates. The water is pumped out to a storm drain or other water disposal system.

Without a sump pump, water may build up and enter the basement through seams in the walls or cracks in the foundation. This is particularly a risk in periods of moderate to heavy rainfall. Even above-average humidity can lead to excessive moisture retention in the basement.

Keep an eye out for signs the basement is taking on too much moisture, such as water stains, dampness in carpeting or upholstery, and heavy condensation on air vents or windows. If unresolved, the result could be anything from hazardous mold growth to massive flood damage.

Which Type of Sump Pump Is Best?

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Sump pumps come in two basic types, and there is no definite consensus as to which is ultimately superior. 

They include:

  • Submersible sump pumps sit at the bottom of the sump basin, in the collecting water, with the motor and electrical components insulated to prevent short-circuiting. Though they cost more and are less convenient to service, they last longer and can better handle debris intake.
  • Pedestal sump pumps are larger and a little more complex. The motor housing covers the mouth of the sump basin, while a shaft extends down to the bottom of the basin to siphon up the water. Pedestal pumps - though less expensive and about as long-lasting - are louder, bulkier, and more likely to become clogged with debris. 

Tips for Selecting a Sump Pump

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Which type of pump a homeowner chooses may come down to their aesthetic preferences and the nature of the space where it is to be installed. But a few other factors are worth considering. Most residential sump pumps are ⅓ or ½ horsepower. Depending on the volume of water being handled and the length of pipe it needs to traverse to be disposed of, a more powerful pump may be required.

Though manual sumps pumps are available, an automatic pump with a reliable water level sensor is the safest bet for preventing damage to their home, since flooding can happen unexpectedly. A battery backup system may also be a good idea, as power outages are more likely to occur in a heavy storm or flash flood situation. 

Still, when it comes to choosing the right sump pump - and maintaining it - nothing beats the expertise of a local plumbing company.

About Beltz Home Service Co.

Beltz Home Service Co. is a Veteran-owned family business that has been proudly serving Findlay, OH since 2001. Their skilled, friendly technicians provide licensed, insured, and EPA-certified plumbing services in the Findlay area. They offer upfront pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and award-winning customer care.