How Does a Sump Pump Work?

We all have heard about the horror stories of homeowners who dealt with water issue damages and basement flooding. Can you imagine all the work needed to get rid of the water and the amount you have to spend to put everything back in order? The damages of a flooded basement can cost a lot of time and money, and cause a lot of stress.

This is why homeowners should be proactive in keeping their basements neat, dry and free from the risk of flooding. There are a lot of ways to do it, however, a proven reliable method would be to invest on a sump pump. This is the best way to prevent heavy rain from pooling onto your basement. But have you ever thought about how sump pumps work?

This piece of equipment is used all around the globe to keep basements dry and flood-free. If this is your first to hear about it, you’re in luck. We have prepared vital knowledge that you should know to let you understand how it works and choose the right one for you.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

Sump Pump Overview

When we speak of sump pumps, we are referring to a device that can be submerged in water. It is placed in a sump pit that is situated at the lowest point of the house or in the crawl space. This is an effective method of keeping basements free from any sort of flooding.

Setting this up will involve the construction of sump pit. This is the area where the sump pump is to rest while collecting water from the soil or drains. This water is then pumped out of the pit and then drained through a discharge line. This line is usually directed to ponds, creeks, dry wells or a designated neighborhood drainage system.

Sump Pit

Now that you have an overview of how it works, let us get into more specific details. The sump pit should be dug as a hole that is about 60 centimeters or 2 feet deep and 45 centimeters or 18 inches wide. This is best created with a gravel base and is ideally located right beneath the crawlspace and basement.

Pump Activation

This area serves as a basin for all the water that is collected from the soil or drains. As the water level rises, the pump is activated. The mechanism will depend on the type of pump you purchase. Once the pump is turned on, the liquid filling the pit will be moved and drained out of the pit into the pipes setup for drainage.

Some sump pumps are activated automatically, this happens through a pressure sensor or a float activator. When the water puts in more pressure than the air, the pressure sensor detects it and powers up the system. On the other hand, a float activator is like a buoyant ball that stays afloat in the water.

This manually rises as the water level increases and activates the pumping process once the water goes beyond the normal level. Most sump pumps used in households are electrically powered. Hence, it is ideal to have a ground fault circuit interrupter or a GFCI installed to the outlet to prevent accidents like electrocution.

Water Movement and Drainage

Regular sump pumps utilize a centrifugal pump to mobilize water. Once the motor is activated, a fan-like device called the impeller turns. In a nutshell, this pushes water into the pipe’s sides, thereby creating a low-pressure region on its center. From here, water from the pit is expected to fill the void and be pushed towards the drain.

For some homeowners, extenders are used to reach their intended drainage system. It does not matter what type of drainage you want to use as long as it is around 10 to 20 feet away from your house’s foundation. As for the pipes, these usually have a check valve or a one-way valve at the end. Its main purpose is to prevent water from returning back to the pit after draining.

The setup may differ for each home; some need extended drainage hoses and higher sump pump horsepower to efficiently drain water from their basements. It is recommended to check with the local government so you can abide by the rules in terms of drainage.

Sump pumps are made to achieve one goal – and that is to keep your basement flood-free. However, there is a selection of diverse sump pumps in the market. You can choose among pedestal sump pumps, submersible sump pumps, battery-operated backup and water-powered backup.

Choosing the right type of sump pump to place in your house will depend on a lot of factors. The first thing you should consider would be the horsepower needed to effectively drain water from your basement. The next one would be the amount you are willing to spend for your water and electric bills. Your space matters as well, determine which one can fit into your place plus consider the level of noise the equipment makes too. With the array of options available, it is still up to you to decide.


Rather than spending on labor and expenses for eliminating water damage from your basement and fixing all its after effects, why not spend on a reliable sump pump? This is an excellent way to spare you from the huge stress and cost basement flooding can do.

Wise homeowners practice ways on how to prevent basement flooding. This includes the purchase of the right sump pump for their homes. If you have been settling for a problematic basement in the last few years, now is the best time to invest on a sump pump. Get the peace of mind you deserve today.

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