How a Sump Pump Works

How many people know what a sump pump is? Or what a sump pump does? Not many! The name rhymes, so it sounds like someone just made it up for fun, but these systems actually do very important work for your household plumbing. We want to tell you more about sump pumps and how they work.

  • A definition: A small pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace in a building.
  • Location: In a sump pit (a hole with a gravel base) dug in the lowest part of your basement
  • The job: Keep the area under the building dry and prevent flooding
  • How it works: As the pit fills with water, the pump turns on and pumps water through pipes out of the sump pit and away from the building
  • Working parts:
    o Check valve: keeps the water from flowing back into the pit
    o Float activator: moves an arm as the water level rises, tells the pump when to turn on
    o Pressure sensor: water exerts pressure on the sensor, tells the pump when to turn on
    o Water level or flood alarms: lets you know if the pump isn’t working correctly
  • Things to consider when purchasing:
    o Manual or automatic: manual is cheaper but automatic can be more convenient
    o Horsepower: higher means more water can be pushed out
    o Head pressure: height a pump can raise water
    o Cord length: you need to be able to plug it directly into an outlet
    o Voltage
    o Backup and alarm system: choose what fits your lifestyle
  • Maintenance:
    o Make sure it is plugged into an outlet and that the outlet doesn’t trip during storms
    o Make sure that the pump is always standing upright
    o Periodically pour a bucket of water into the pump to make sure it starts automatically and pumps the water quickly
    o Make sure outlet pipes are joined together tightly and water drains 20 feet from your foundation
    o Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear

Now that you know a little more about sump pumps, think about your possible sump pump needs! Call Miller’s Septic for sump pump installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance.

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