What exactly is a Sump Pump?

August 19, 2014 - Benjamin Dowson

Have you ever wondered why your house doesn’t flood when it rains? For some, the answer is obvious: the water just drains onto the street and into a storm drain. But for others who may not have a storm drain nearby, the answer may be a mystery.

A lot of houses have what is called a sump. A sump is a barrel is located in the basement that sits 2 – 3 feet in the ground and is level with the basement floor. It collects water (such as rainwater or groundwater) that would otherwise potentially flood your house. This sump is drained either by being connected to a municipal flood drain, or is pumped out by a special pump called a sump pump.

There are many different kinds of sump pumps, but their function is the same: to get the water out of a sump barrel. The main principle is that there is a float that is connected to the pump that also sits in the barrel. As the water level rises, so does the float, and when it gets to a certain point it turns on the pump and then pumps out the water automatically. Once enough water has been pumped out, the sump pump turns off again automatically.

You generally only need a sump pump when you have a sump barrel, and the sump barrel is not directly connected to a storm sewer. A lot of homes do not have this connection, so a sump pump would be needed in this case.

Sump pumps are usually powered by a standard 110v electric cord. One of the problems with this is that they are susceptible to power outages during times where they are needed the most (ie, heavy rain storms). Luckily, there are backup battery powered sump pumps available too to prevent this from happening.

So as you can see, a sump pump is a very important piece of equipment. It can stop your house from being flooded, and it works automatically. So, unless you are a fan of dank, musty basements, we definitely recommend that you pay attention to your sump pump!