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Most homes with basements have a sump pump, and it is a very important piece of equipment that works 24 hours a day keeping basements dry. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but: basements are below ground and some are even below the water table. Even when the yard around a home is dry after weeks of warm summer weather, at the basement’s floor level the earth can be quite moist, even saturated. This moisture has to be kept out of the basement and that is the job of the sump pump.
Sump Pumps Explained
Where is Your Sump Pump?
You may not even know where your sump pump is, especially if your basement is finished. They are usually tucked away in some corner and are actually below floor level, in a hole known as a sump basin. Looking into the basin you can expect to see water – which is normal – as well as the sump pump. There are a variety of pump styles, but the most common is known as a pedestal pump which keeps the electric motor out of the water for easy servicing. Submersible pumps, with a waterproof, sealed motor, are located entirely under the waterline. Sump pumps are permanently wired to the home’s electrical system and usually have a battery back-up. Pedestal sump pumps are less expensive and can last up to 30 years, whereas submersible pumps typically last 5 to 15 years.
What Does a Sump Pump Do?
Sump pumps remove excess water from the foundation area of your home. This not only protects your basement from unwanted water ingress, but also helps to stabilize the soil surrounding your home. The sump basin is typically a meter deep and constructed of concrete, plastic or metal. Most sump pumps operate automatically and are activated when rising water activates a switch to turn the pump on. Switches may be float or pressure activated. Back-up batteries are 12 volts, but a car battery is not adequate for sump pump purposes and instead a deep-cycle marine battery needs to be used. In conjunction with the battery, a trickle-charge battery charger is a necessary component of any sump pump system.
Sump pumps need to be maintained in order to work properly and should be inspected yearly. More frequent inspections are warranted in areas where sump pumps are subjected to heavier use due to a wet climate or a high water table. A sump pump failure could go unnoticed, resulting in a flooded basement and expensive repairs. The pump, its check valve, activation switch and basin need to be cleaned as part of a regular maintenance program. Not doing so may even invalidate your home’s insurance. Clearly Plumbing and Drainage are sump pump experts in Vancouver. Call us to set up an inspection and annual maintenance program.
Older systems used to pump water into municipal sanitary sewers, though that practice is generally illegal now as it overwhelms sewage treatment systems. Where drainage to sanitary sewers is banned, homeowners are obligated to reroute their sump pump discharge away from sanitary sewers or face a fine. Many purchasers of older homes are not aware of this legal requirement but they are nonetheless responsible. Clearly Plumbing and Drainage can determine your sump pumps discharge route and advise you of necessary changes.
If your sump pump has not been serviced in the past year, you will be doing yourself and your family a big favor by calling Clearly Plumbing and Drainage to take care of that at the earliest possible time. By: Vince Singh