What do you know about sump pumps? If your basement gets wet in a storm, as 60 percent of basements do, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors, you should be informed about how sump pumps work, how they can keep your basement dry and how you can maintain the machine and minimize water damage to your basement.
How Do Sump Pumps Work?
Professionals dig a hole two feet deep in the lowest corner of the basement. They place gravel at the bottom of the hole and install the sump pump. The sensor at the base of the pump signals the machine to turn on once water collects and rises to a predetermined level. The water is expelled through an outlet drain that runs outside of the home, away from the foundation. Most outlet drains include a check valve that prevents the backflow of water into the sump pump cavern.
What Is the Power Source?
Almost all sump pumps are powered by electricity. The sump pump must be installed close to a grounded 110-volt electrical outlet. Depending on your local electrical building code, you may or may not have to ensure the basement outlet is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI). The benefit of using a GCFI outlet is electrocution protection. Since the sump pump is an electrical machine constantly near water, this type of outlet will trip as soon any of the electrical current fails to return to the outlet. The same feature counted as a benefit can also be considered a downside, as GCFI outlets are sensitive to tripping. If any current interruption takes place, the sump pump will shut off and will not turn back on without a reset. For homeowners who cannot always check their automatic sump pumps, this is a dangerous risk.
How Do You Maintain the Machine?
Homeowners should test the machine’s function once every few months. Pour a bucket of water into the pit and ensure the pump engages. Watch the flow of water from the exterior of the house. Remove any blockages impeding the correct progress away from the home’s foundation. In high-risk flood areas, homeowners should consider purchasing a generator to keep the machine running during power outages. A battery-powered backup pump can provide further peace of mind.
How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?
While most manufacturers build their products to last for 10 years, the machine may expire before then, depending on how often it runs. If you don’t know your sump pump’s age, purchasing a backup machine is a smart decision so as to prevent any lapses in basement drainage coverage.
Contact Captain Plumbing for information concerning all you should know about sump pumps, including an individual needs assessment at your property.