Waterproofing systems attract, collect, direct and remove water before it becomes a problem in the living space of your basement. Sump pumps are a vital part of any waterproofing system. The job of a sump pump is to remove water collected in the waterproofing system outside and away from the living space. Sump pumps accomplish this by means of a pump motor and a switch which turns the pump on and off depending on the level of water in the sump basin. This operation is automatic. If your sump pump is not the right kind or if it fails your basement can flood.
In a properly designed waterproofing system, sump pumps are the only replaceable part and require periodic maintenance and replacement. It is usually best to replace a sump pump rather than attempt to repair it. The cost of a basement flood in aggravation alone can warrant the expense and a new pump can provide years of trouble-free and worry-free service well worth the cost.
There are two categories of sumps pumps; primary sump pumps and backup sump pumps. The primary sump pump is typically electrically operated and should be sized appropriately for the demand of the waterproofing system in question. Back up Sump pumps are typically a system whereby you have pumping capacity when you lose power. Battery powered back up pumps are the most common. Be sure you don’t skimp on this item. Your battery poswered pump needs to be robust if your basement is to remain dry when you lose power.
Sump pumps will automatically remove water, by turning on and off at the appropriate time. The right sump pump system will also move the right amount of water for your situation. Bigger is not always better. A more powerful pump will remove more water in a shorter period of time than a less powerful pump but this can also mean your sump pump switches on more often but for shorter periods of time. Called ‘short-cycling’ this leads to premature failure of your pump’s switch and, ultimately, a wet basement floor.
If you have a pump that is underpowered it may not be able to remove enough water during the heaviest rain storms which can also lead to a wet basement floor. Properly designing and specifying the correct components to your waterproofing system is critical and should always be done by an experienced waterproofing professional.
Submersible, Pedestal, float switch or pressure switch, swinging switch or sliding switch…whats the difference???
Pedestal pumps have a motor located atop a long shaft that sticks out of your sump liner. Pedestal pumps tend to be noisy and take up room. They also can run hotter than their submersible counterparts as the electric motor is air cooled. Typically a pedestal pump has a long rod on which the float switch rises and falls. If not cared for properly these can be unintentionally fouled even if they are bumped into.
Submersible pumps are pumps designed to sit in the sump liner underneath the lid. The submersible pump typically runs when it is under water allowing the cool ground water to keep operating temperatures lower. The switch of a submersible pump can be a float or a pressure switch. Pressure (or vacuum) switches are activated when water pressure on a diaphragm activates the pump. The advantage of a pressure switch is that they are compact.
Float switches can be sliding or swinging. Here the float rises in the water to a predetermined level whereupon turning the pump on and then off as the level of water falls. It’s important to know what type of pump and what type of switch your waterproofing system has so that you are able to properly maintain this vital part of your waterproofing system.
Sump pumps remove water through a discharge pipe to the outside of the home. These discharge pipes can lift the water to a height of 8 ft or more before leading it outside. These typically have a check valve to limit the backwash of discharged water in and out of the pump which can cause short cycling of the pump switch.
Because they require electricity sump pumps do not operate when a property loses power. Power replacement Solutions include generators, battery backup pumps, battery powered pumps and even water powered pumps. An experienced waterproofing professional can make the appropriate recommendation for your situation to ensure that you have a pump system that provides the coverage you need.
Sump pumps can last from 1 to 25 years depending on the type and quality of pump and how often it’s activated. Most sump pumps today come with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and can be expected to function between three and five years on average. The cost of sump pump replacement is not generally something that is covered by homeowners insurance. If you have the right coverage the failure of a sump pump that leads to flooding can be covered. See your insurance agent for details.
If your sump pump fails it can be replaced by a waterproofing professional, plumber or in a pinch you can do it yourself. If you do replace your pump yourself, it is recommended that you have it inspected by waterproofing professional for capacity, installation technique and other specifications to ensure that your new pump will serve its intended purpose. Overall it’s better to have almost any working pump then one that doesn’t work.
Sump pumps typically don’t get clogged unless your waterproofing system is overwhelmed by mud. If this is the case you have a very serious problem and should seek qualified waterproofing professionals advice immediately. Mud in the sump pump liner can be disastrous.
Rust is always an issue that needs to be dealt with when it comes to sump pumps. As with an equipment that handles water, rust can build up, and eventually cause the sump pump to stop working or not work properly. Any rust that can’t be scrubbed away could indicate a weakness in the material, and the part may need to be replaced.