What Is A Sump Pump? Everything You Need To Know

Most of us don’t know about sump pumps until we experience significant property damage and financial ruin from a flood or a severe storm.

However, you must be aware of sump pumps if you have ever had a similar concern or live in a region subject to flooding or storms because sump pumps are machines that are designed to protect our lives and homes from such awful circumstances.

This article will cover all the information you require concerning sump pumps.

What Is A Sump Pump?

A sump pump can either be a primary or a backup pump, and you should have one of both. Most of the time, primary sump pumps handle the most work. The backup sump pump will be activated if the primary pump breaks down or cannot handle the water intake.

A sump pump is often referred to as a drain or sewage pump. A sump is an organic pit, which is also called a basin. It is a carved opening on the primary surface of the basement floor.

This pump is typically used in locations with continuous overflowing basement issues and to manage the moisture issue when the water level is higher than the home foundation.


Types Of Sump Pumps

A sump pump can either be a primary or a backup pump, and you should have one of both. Most of the time, primary sump pumps handle the most work. The backup sump pump will be activated if the primary pump breaks down or cannot handle the water intake.

There are two main types of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible. Both types are accessible as either a primary or backup choice. It is possible to separate them using the backup sump pumps’ backup power source, whether a battery or water. 


Submersible pumps

Submersible sump pumps are large equipment. They function when submerged and are located directly inside the sump pit. They operate more quietly than pedestal pumps but are typically more expensive and difficult to maintain. These sump pumps are more efficient, which makes them an excellent choice for homes that frequently flood. 


A submersible pump might be useful if you live in a place with frequent severe rain or your basement floods. These pumps can move a lot of water simultaneously since they are made with powerful motors.

Debris can also be filtered away by submersible sump pumps, preventing your system from becoming congested. 

Submersible sump pumps are also less durable than other types of sump pumps since they are exposed to much more water and debris. The lifespan of the majority of submersible sump pumps is only 5 to 10 years. 


Pedestal pumps

Pedestal pumps are long, upright machines with the impeller or intake device at the bottom and the pump motor on top. Compared to submersible pumps, these are less expensive and simpler to reach for maintenance, but they are often considered less reliable. They are too loud because the motor is located above the sump pit.


Accessing pedestal sump pumps is much simpler. Since they remain above the pit, you can quickly access them in the situation that a repair or replacement is required. The Pedestal has a life expectancy between 25 and 30 years, which is more than twice as long as some of the most resilient submersible sumps pumps, given that it is not exposed to as much water or debris. 

The pedestal sump pump is also very noisy as it isn’t placed in the ground. Expect to hear it operating, especially when it is exerting itself.

The submersible sump pump will be far more powerful than this kind of sump pump. The pedestal sump pump might not be powerful enough for people with a basement that frequently floods.


Battery-operated backup

The battery-powered backup sump pump is the most prevalent model. These do not replace the primary pump. They typically have a connection to a big battery.


The fact that it works with batteries makes it a huge lifesaver during a power outage in a storm. These submersible sump pumps are pricey, challenging to use, and short-lived due to their submerged design.

Battery-backed sump pumps also lack the same power level as other submersible sump pumps. They cannot offer as much suction power since they aren’t connected to your main electricity.


Water-powered backup

For people who frequently have power outages due to “ severe storms, the water-powered sump pump can be a fantastic solution. This sump pump will continue to operate in the case of a power cut using the municipal water source’s water pressure. 

The extra water can be sucked out because of the vacuum created by the water pressure.


Since these sump pumps do not have motors or small parts, they often last a long time. You don’t have to worry about the motor going out or small parts being damaged by the water.

The backup sump pumps powered by water pressure are not electrically linked; they are driven by good old-fashioned water pressure. Unlike city water systems, water-powered pumps require a strong, steady flow of water. 

Water-powered sump pumps will not work in homes with low water pressure or wells powered by pumps. They’re more difficult to install than battery-powered models.


Combination sump pump

A combination sump pump that can be operated with your main electricity and a battery backup is called a combination sump pump. These sump pumps will function in a way that allows access to a battery during a power outage. This is an excellent alternative for homeowners who wish to secure their basements completely.


 A combination sump pump will offer the same power and water-moving capabilities as a submersible sump pump whenever your main electricity is functioning properly.

Additionally, you can get a sump pump combo that comes with both a primary and a backup pump. They tend to be huge, would not fit in smaller sump pits, and are more expensive than purchasing each separately.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Sump Pumps?

Let’s look at the advantages sump pumps offer, in addition to guaranteeing proper drainage during bad weather:

  • Prevents basement flooding
  • Protects from sewage backups.
  • Keeps your home safe from mold and mild dew.
  • Provides a reduction in home humidity
  • Reduces heating costs with the continuous drainage system.
  • Prevents termite and insect infestations
  • Protects against electrical fires and fire damage

Sump pumps offer a lot of benefits for homeowners. Your home must have a sump pump to keep its drainage system functioning, and your home needs one if you live in an area prone to flooding.

How Does A Sump Pump Work?

Before getting into the details and learning how sump pumps work, let’s understand their essential components. 

The sump pump motor, discharge pipe, float switch, check valve, and battery backup system are major parts of sump pumps.


You must install a sump pump, if your house has a basement. A sump pump water discharge system helps to regulate and control the water in the basement.

The area’s lowest point is where the water rushes when it rains heavily outside. In the case of flooding, the basement’s water level rises. The foundation walls are harmed when the water spills into the sump pit. And a sump pump is required to prevent this situation.

The sump pump activates when water builds up in the sump pit due to a strong rainstorm or for any other reason.

The sump pump’s float switch detects the presence of water in the home’s basement.

The pump’s controller receives an electric signal from the sensor. This turns on the pump.

The sump pump draws water in by producing a vacuum inside the sump pit using its suction line. The pump then begins to run. An electric motor powers the process.

The water then passes via the drain pipe and into the discharge pipe.

The check valve automatically closes when the pump ceases to operate. The pump will then continue, starting another cycle. As a result, the water can only flow in one direction and cannot move back into the sump pit.

Mistakes To Avoid While Using Sump Pumps

Here are some tips to avoid while using sump pumps.

  • Failing to test your sump pump

Test your sump pump system at least once a year to see whether it needs repair or replacement.

To test, get a five-gallon bucket and steadily pour water into the sump basin until your pressure or float switch activates to test the pump. 

Note: You might need to buy and install a new pump if the water doesn’t drain and run.

  • Unplugging the pump

Unplugging sump pumps is a very common issue, especially in basements used for more than just storage. It is usual to remove the pump’s power and never plug it back in if an outlet is needed. 

So, the best way to avoid unplugging your pump is to plan the use of your basement accordingly.

  • Not Undertaking Preventative Maintenance.

A sump pump system requires maintenance checks. Debris in the pump, defective wiring, or even broken pipes can cause multiple issues. Early detection of these problems can stop bigger and more expensive problems.

Sump pumps are essential to preventing many hazards, such as basement flooding and molds, by keeping moisture out of your building. So be careful to take good care of and maintain your sump pumps so that you may continue to maintain a good home and have a stress-free life.

How To Maintain A Sump Pump?

Sump pumps require routine maintenance. The pump can become clogged with dirt, sand, and other material, limiting its capability during an emergency. We advise servicing your sump pump every six months since most homeowners don’t realize their pump isn’t operating until it’s too late.


Here are a 5 few steps you may take to ensure the effectiveness of your pump.

  1. The pump should be standing upright. The motor’s vibration frequently causes pumps to shift. The float arm may get stuck if the pump is not seated straight.
  2. Check the GFCI outlet to ensure it’s plugged in, and the cord is in good condition. The GFCI breaker may trip if moisture is present, causing the sump pump to shut down. If so, you’ll need to reset it.
  3. Remove any debris and disconnect the check valve.
  4. Examine the battery in the backup pump. If possible, attach a maintenance-free battery to your backup. Use a multimeter to check the battery’s charge periodically.
  5. Test the pump by pouring water into the pit. Go outside and check to see if water flows through the output line. The water should rapidly drain away and begin automatically. If not, have a professional service.

Pay attention to these tips and use them to increase the effectiveness of your sump pumps.

Cost Of A Sump Pump

A new sump pump costs between $200 and $600. Of course, that depends on the size and type; pedestal pumps, for instance, are far less expensive than combination pumps.

The price of the pump itself is only one aspect of the sump pump purchase puzzle; installation is also required. Installation can be expensive if your basement doesn’t already have a sump pit. If your basement floor is concrete, budget at least $2,000 to $5,000 for digging a new sump pit and installing a pump.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Sump Pump?

The price is significantly lower if you already have a sump pit and are only changing the pump. If you feel confident installing it yourself, you won’t need to pay more than the new pump’s price, which ranges from $200 to $600.

The typical cost, which includes the cost of an average pump, is roughly $500 if you have someone else install your replacement sump pump.


After reading this article, you ought to completely understand sump pumps, including their benefits, types, and workings.

As mentioned above, installing a sump pump can protect your home from flooding and reduce the possibility of damage and repairs.

The lowest point of the house, such as the basement or crawl space, is where the sump pump is typically installed. Although a sump pump may appear little and unassuming, it ultimately helps you resolve your concerns and save money.


Do all houses need a sump pump?

Sump pumps do not have to be installed in every home. However, you should consider installing one if you reside in a flood plain.

How much does it cost to replace a sump pump?

Sump pumps typically cost between $600 and $2000 to replace. The cost is based on the size, location, and whether it needs to be replaced because of damage.

Do sump pumps use a lot of electricity?

During the rainy spring months, sump pumps can consume up to 10 kWh per month, or $30 per month, in electricity. Make sure your circuits aren’t overloaded, or the breaker might trip.

What is the lifespan of a sump pump?

Sump pumps typically have a lifespan of ten years; however, this depends on the water’s acidity and cleanliness of the water that enters the pump.

Read More

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Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is an ambitious entrepreneur who has been in the business of building homes since he was 19. Michael's commitment to honesty, integrity, and high-quality workmanship has earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business.

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