Priority Plumbing

Sump Pump Basics Explained


Have you ever heard of a sump pump? If you haven’t, it’s because the use of sump pumps is largely dependent on where you live. Sump pumps are used in areas where flooding is common or the water table is high. Essentially, a sump pump is a small pump installed in the lower part of a basement or crawl space with the objective of keeping the building dry.

What is a Sump Pump?

Usually located in the lowest area of your home, sump pumps are effective in preventing thousands of dollars’ worth of flood and water damage. In residential buildings, sump pumps are installed in pits within the crawl space or basement and pump water out of the pit when it fills up. The pit is normally cut into the concrete floor and is two feet deep. Attached, you find a pipe that extends to the exterior of the home, where water is released several feet away. The pump is activated by a float—similar to a toilet tank—which rises as the pit becomes full.

Sump pumps require electricity to operate. Due to the fact that sump pumps are always close to a source of water, your plumber will install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electrocution. During a storm, it’s likely that you will temporarily lose electricity in your home. One way to overcome this is by having a battery-operated sump pump as a backup option.

The Benefits of a Sump Pump

Sump pumps are beneficial in areas that are vulnerable to flooding by preventing the harmful effects of water damage. They are commonly used in areas that experience cold winters with heavy snowfall. This is because spring usually results in an excess of water as a product of the snow and ice thawing.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the primary risks associated with flooding is fires. This is because floods within the home cause electrical outlets and devices to come in contact with the rising waters. With a sump pump, you prevent water from accumulating, thereby also reducing the risk of an electrical fire.

With continuous dampness, basements and crawl spaces create the optimal environment for mould and mildew. The presence of mould causes severe structural damage and also has a series of associated health effects, including lung infections and skin irritation. By installing a sump pump, you will be protecting the physical safety and health of your family.

Installation and Maintenance

A sump pump usually has a lifespan of ten years. That being said, this largely depends on the quality of water entering your home and the conditions surrounding your basement or crawl space. It’s important to have a professional plumbing service install your sump pump, as the last thing you need are flooding problems due to a faulty installation.

Throughout the year, check the GFCI to make sure it’s plugged in and that the cord has no tears or cracks. You should also regularly check the sump pump to make sure it hasn’t fallen over or is leaning to one side. The best way to ensure your sump pump is in good shape is by getting an annual service. This way, a professional plumber will check your sump pump to make sure it works the next time you experience heavy rain or flooding.
Priority Plumbing is an award-winning plumbing company with same-day service, highly-skilled technicians, and lifetime warranties on all of our installations. Learn more about our services by calling 416-762-8662 today!