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How Do Sump Pumps Work?

Sump pumps work to keep your basement dry, plain and simple, right? While it is true that the sump pumps core purpose is to keep your basement dry, having a sump pump installed in your home can save you thousands of dollars and prevent potential health hazards. Every homeowner has had an experience with a wet or flooded basement and either circumstance presents health concerns and the potential to cost thousands of dollars due to water damage and mildew growth. Although the purpose of a sump pump is rather straightforward, achieving that purpose is more complex and difficult.

How Does Flooding and Mold Growth Occur?

Modern home foundations are built upon a 4-inch layer of gravel that allows natural soil gases to move freely underneath the house. It is in this 4-inch layer of gravel where lots of rain water collects when water runs along the sides of your home’s foundation. Excessive pressure causes this collection of water to move from the 4-inch layer of gravel toward cracks and crevasses in your basement. This often can cause isolated wet spots in your basement and can potentially result in flooding when the snow is melting or a heavy rain storm is occurring. Whether your basement is under water or you have a few puddles here and there, that standing water has the potential to allow mold and mildew to grow.

How Does a Sump Pump Help?

The sump pump was invented back in 1946 by U.S. Navy electrician, Karl Niedermeyer, who founded Trusty Warns, Inc. which continues to sell superior flood protection systems to this day. With a disregard for certain advancements in technology, sump pumps primarily work the way they did in 1946 by preventing a significant amount of water from collecting under your home’s foundation. This is accomplished by installing your sump pump in a “sump pit”, which is a 2 foot deep hole that is 18 inches wide. This hole is dug in the lowest part of your basement and reaches down into the 4-inch layer of gravel beneath your basement. Excess water beneath your foundation will naturally flow to this sump pit causing it to fill with water. When the sump pit is filled with water, the sump pump placed within the sump pit will automatically turn on and pump the water out a discharge pipe where the water can drain away from the foundation.           

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

Sump pumps are activated using one of two popular technologies:

  • Float Activator Arm

Sump pumps equipped with this technology operate very similarly to that of a toilet tank as a buoyant ball floats on top of the water, manually moving the activator arm as the water level rises.  

  • Pressure Sensor

Other sump pumps are equipped with a pressure sensor which activates the pump when a certain amount of pressure is exerted on the sensor.

When the sump pump is activated, an electrically powered motor causes an impeller to turn within the sump pump. Using centrifugal force, the impeller forces water up the sides of the pipe, out the discharge pipe, and away from your home’s foundation.

Is It a Worthwhile Investment?

Absolutely! Especially for homeowners who live in any area prone to flooding. Some homeowners are even required by state law to install a sump pump in their home. Regardless of your particular situation, installing a sump pump in your home can save you thousands of dollars in damages and prevent the unhealthy growth of mold and mildew in your home. Consider purchasing and installing your sump pump today!