Sump Pumps and Sump Pits

Understanding Sump Pumps:  

A sump pump is used to lift water from a low spot into a storm sewer or other discharge point, away from the house. The pump is located in a sump pit below the basement floor level.

Sumps are typically plastic tubs. A float switch activates the pump as the water level in the sump rises.

A sump pump keeps your basement dry by pumping out groundwater that collects in the sump pit.

Sump Pump and Sump Pit


There are 3 types of sump pumps available to consider:

  1. Primary Sump Pumps
  2. Battery Backup Sump Pumps
  3. Combination Sump Pumps

Learning how to get the right sump pump for your home is one of the best things you can do to protect it before you’re in trouble.

Common Problems with Sump Pumps:

Sump Deterioration: Problems occur if the sump deteriorates and allows debris or earth to enter the pump mechanism.

Pump Failures: A sump pump failure can lead to considerable damage due to flooding. There are several reasons for failures. A back-up pump in the sump, has a high-water alarm and back-up power are options.

Electrical Problems:  If the electric supply to the pump is interrupted, during a power failure for example, the sump may flood. Since power failures often occurs with heavy rains and storms, this can be a problem.

Pump and motor issues: The pump mechanism or electric motor may become defective. This of course, will be a function of how critical the sump operation is. In many cases the sump operates only a few days per year; in other situations, the pump may operate almost continuously.

Failed Floats: Problems with the float system that controls the pump are very common. These are inexpensive to replace and adjust, but regular maintenance and inspection should include testing to verify that they are not damaged, disconnected or entangled with the pump, the sump wall, or any foreign objects.

Discharge Pipe Problems: The discharge piping for the pump is often a source of leakage. The plastic piping can easily be crimped or damaged. It is often difficult to find the discharge point of the piping. It drains (a buried gravel pit designed to allow water to accumulate quickly and dissipate slowly by soaking into the soil), or simply onto the ground, several feet from the house. Water in the discharge pipe may freeze in cold climates if the pipe slope is poor.

Don’t wait until you need your sump pump to make sure it is working because at that point it is too late. Be proactive with your home maintenance needs.