July 4

What is a Sump Pump and How Does it Work?


So you have a sump pump and have no idea what it does or how it works. Let's start with what it does. In order for a sump pump to work it needs to be installed at the lowest point in a home or dwelling. By doing this it will catch all the groundwater that is collecting under the foundation and leave it in a basin usually made of plastic. Most homes will have weeping tile connecting into the sump pit allowing for faster collection of groundwater.

If a home has poor drainage of groundwater it could lead to homeowners having issues like water damage to the foundation as well having high water levels around the home that could lead to a cracked foundation or a flooded basement.

It is important to check if your home has or needs a sump pump. It could save you money and aggravation down the road!

How sump pumps work

Now what does the pump do? Exactly that.

A sump pump will remove the water from the sump pit and pump it to the outside of the dwelling. A home will need to have a hose attached to the discharge pipe to send the groundwater away from the foundation to prevent a cycle of water going back towards the sump pit.

Inside the pit will be a float activated pump that has the ability to remove the water to the outside of the home. The float switch rises with the water level and once it reaches a certain height it starts pumping. As the water lowers it will again reach a certain level and stop the pump.

You never want to have excess water sitting around a home’s foundation.

Pumping the water to the nearest storm drain will allow the city’s water system to treat the water before it gets put back into the nearby natural water system.

Types of sump pumps

There are many different sump pumps that will perform to a different standard.

Horsepower plays a role in how high and how far you need to pump. And the style between pedestal sump pumps and submersible sump pumps depend on the type of pit they are installed in.

Always make sure that you design the pump for the application and pay attention if you need a battery backup system. Your home's primary sump pump should always accorded a high level of importance.

Sump pump maintenance

Maintaining a sump pump isn’t hard and shouldn't be scary.

A homeowner can easily DIY check and make sure their pump and system is free of clogging, clean and operational and that the pump's motor is working properly. This will increase the lifespan of the system to prevent a future failure in a time of need.

To do this you will need to open the lid of the sump pit. Reach down inside and lift the float so it activates. If the pump turns on then immediately let go. From there you can fill the tank with a hose and make sure the discharge line is connected and away from the home. Once the pump starts to operate, check the system for leaks and make sure there is water leaving the discharge hose.

If the system seems to be operating properly stop filling and put the top back on. If there is any part of the system that seems out of place or not functioning normally, stop and call Atmosphere Plumbing for support.

Risks of a broken or malfunctioning sump pump

If your sump system is not functioning properly you could be at high risk of flooding if there are heavy rains, having a high water table or if the water level rises around your home.

Being aware of the risks associated around your property will allow you to be prepared for such situations.

Need some help with your sump pump?

Atmosphere is your sump pump expert! With combined decades of experience helping Edmonton home owners install, repair, and replace their basement sump pumps, we have the sump pump expertise you can trust to do the job right the first time.

Don't risk having your basement flood the next time it rains for 2 days straight (and you're stuck at your mother-in-law's birthday rehearsal dinner!) – get your sump pump installation handled.

Call today for a free quote and to have our team of experts get your pump set up for you.


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