What is a sump pump? More importantly, what does it do? Brenneco Plumbing answers your plumbing questions!

What is a sump pump and what does it do?

Many homes in the Greater Lafayette, Indiana area utilize sump pumps in their basement or crawlspace. Sump pumps take water that collects around the home’s foundation and transfers it away, keeping your basement dry. Sump pump failures are not pretty. When a sump pump fails, you could be facing property damage, precious and expensive contents in your home could be ruined, and mold can begin to grow in your home, causing illness, long term health issues and even more damage.

Sump pumps are usually installed into homes during construction. If your home does not have one, and a pump would be of great benefit, they can still be placed by a professional plumber. A drain pipe is installed around the perimeter of the foundation. A long pipe is connected that leads into the basement. The pump itself is lowered into a specially constructed pit. Water collects in the sump pit via the drain pipe or due to natural collection. When the water reaches a certain level in the pit, the pump kicks on and pushes the water from the pit, away from your home, keeping your basement or crawlspace dry. A one-way valve, called a check valve, prevents water from flowing back into the sump pit.

It doesn’t take a large amount of water to do a severe amount of damage to your home. Sump pumps have been keeping homes dry for many years. Insurance companies can require homeowners in areas prone to flooding to have not only one sump pump, but also another on battery backup in case of power or mechanical failure, or if the amount of water is too much for one pump to handle on its own. To check to make sure your sump is functioning properly, pour a bucket filled with water into the pit and make sure the pump engages and sends the water up and out.

Another device that works in tandem with a sump pump to keep moisture out of your lower level is a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier removes moisture particles from the air, collects the water into a container to be emptied. If your basement has a musty smell, a dehumidifier will help contain unwanted moisture, preventing it from building up in the air, in your walls, and keep it from permeating items such as furniture and books.

Sump pump discharge points should be as far away from your home’s foundation as possible. Ten feet is the minimum amount of of distance there should be for the water to make its exit. Be sure the discharge pipe is free from obstruction, securely placed, and properly attached to the hose, or pipe, carrying the water away. A leaky or improperly fitting hose can take water right back to the basement where you definitely do not want it to be. If you notice water pooling around your home during heavy rains, it’s important to double check your pump and the lines running in and around the foundation.

Lafayette, Indiana has seen its fair share of bad weather. From ice storms to torrential rains, residents need be sure their basements are ready for whatever Mother Nature sends our way. Have a plumber check out your current system to ensure it’s running in top form.