Sump pumps are self-activating electrical pumps that protect homes from moisture intrusion and are very common in Southeastern Michigan homes. They are usually installed below basement or crawlspace floors to remove rising groundwater and surface runoff before it has a chance to seep into the home. Accumulated water can cause interior damage and encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Pumps should be maintained and equipped with all necessary components in order to ensure their reliability.
How a Sump Pump Works
A pit, known as a sump pit or sump trench, can be dug at the lowest part of the basement floor to capture and contain any flowing water. A sump pump sits at the bottom of this trench (or beside it) and expels excess water through a series of interconnected pipes to a suitable discharge location. The pump can sense water levels through a float that rises and falls with fluctuating water levels in the trench. The sump pump becomes activated and deactivated based on the height of the float, providing a simple, automated way to monitor and deal with variable water levels.
Types of Sump Pumps
- Pedestal sump pumps sit above the water line beside the sump trench and are not designed to get wet. Since they are not contained within the sump pit, they can be accessed easily but are also very noisy. They cost roughly $60 to $200, which is significantly less than other varieties.
- Submersible sump pumps rest underwater at the bottom of the sump pit, and are much quieter than pedestal pumps. Their oil-cooled motors and tight seals protect against water and dust and afford them a long lifespan. They can cost up to $600.
- Water-powered sump pumps are normally used as backups and kick in when the main pump experiences an electrical or mechanical failure.
- The pump must be kept clean and free of debris. The inlet screen prevents the passage of dirt and other solid material from entering the pump, but it can become overwhelmed. Cleanings should occur often for pumps that run constantly.
- Inspectors should make sure that the float is not tangled or jammed in one position. A sump pump with a jammed float is useless because it will not sense when it should turn on and shut off.
- The pump can be tested by pouring water into the pit to make sure it becomes activated and expels the water. The homeowner should seek professional assistance if the pump does not activate.
- Maintenance should take place annually, and when the home is sold.
- When testing the pump, no one should ever reach into the pit. The float can be reached and manipulated with a household item such as a golf club (with a rubber handle) or anything else non-conductive that happens to be lying around.