What Is a Sump Pump?

A flooded basement is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. When you think about all the stuff you store in the basement, from expensive appliances to irreplaceable keepsakes, it’s hard to imagine how you would react to having everything ruined by water damage. The good news? This is a scenario you’ll never have to worry about with a sump pump.

A sump pump protects your home from flooding caused by heavy rain and any resulting damage. Below, we’ll outline what a sump pump is, the different types of sump pumps, and the benefits of installing one in your home. 

What Is a Sump Pump?

Before we dive into how this equipment can save your basement and your wallet, let’s first talk about what a sump pump is and how it works. 

A sump pump is a device installed in the lowest part of your basement designed to collect floodwater and discharge it into a storm drain. It’s made up of two main parts: the sump pit and the pump. 

The sump pit is a hole carved under the main surface of your basement floor and contains the pump as well as any floodwater. The pump is equipped with a float switch and motor, among other components, which are responsible for detecting water in the sump pit and moving it away from your property via a drain pipe. How does this process play out, and what does a sump pump do?

As water collects in the sump pit, it raises the float switch. Once the float switch reaches a certain height, it will signal the motor to turn on. All the parts of a sump pump work together to drain the water. 

Most modern sump pumps are also equipped with an alarm that notifies the homeowner if the water level rises past a certain threshold in the sump pit, indicating that the pump is failing. Reputable plumbing companies in D.C. encourage homeowners to schedule a backup pump just in case the primary pump fails.

Now that you know what a sump pump does, let’s dive into the different types of sump pumps.

Types of Sump Pumps

If you’re in the market for a new sump pump, you might be overwhelmed by the available choices and confused as to which system works best for you. There are three main types of sump pumps: primary sump pumps, backup sump pumps, and combination sump pumps. 

Primary Sump Pumps

A primary sump pump is your home’s first line of defense against a flood. This is the standard sump pump installed in most properties and can remove several thousand gallons of water an hour.

The two types of primary sump pumps are submersible pumps and pedestal pumps. A submersible pump is installed inside the sump pit. A pedestal pump, on the other hand, sits above the sump pit as the motor can’t function underwater. 

Submersible sump pumps are more powerful, as they can easily handle a large amount of rainwater as well as some debris. This particular model is almost more expensive, but homeowners find that it’s worth the investment in the long run. 

Backup Sump Pumps

It’s a little-known fact that primary sump pumps require electricity. So, in the event of a power outage, which is not uncommon during intense storms, these devices cease to function. Of course, that’s when you need your sump pump the most!

Most plumbers recommend installing a backup sump pump — not only in case your primary pump fails for any reason but also in the event that it cannot keep up with demand during heavy rainfall. The two types of backup sump pumps are battery-powered and water-powered. 

Battery backup sumps pumps are the more popular option. As the name suggests, these pumps are connected to a large battery and spring to life when the primary pump stalls. Water-powered sump pumps, on the other hand, use good old-fashioned water pressure to transport floodwater away from your basement. They are challenging to install and may not be as reliable if your home has low water pressure. 

Combination Sump Pumps

An all-in-one solution, a combination sump pump includes both the primary and backup pump in one system. Many homeowners prefer this type of sump pump for its convenience and ease of installation.

Do You Need a Sump Pump? Call Magnolia!

If you’re looking at installing a sump pump in your home, Magnolia is the trusted name for plumbing services in Washington D.C. and beyond. We have offered plumbing in Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas since the 1950s, so you know your home is in the best hands. Contact us to schedule a service!