A sump pump is typically installed in the lowest part of a home’s crawlspace or basement and its job is to keep the under area of your house dry. Typically, this unit is a small pump installed into a specially constructed sump pit to prevent flooding in the lower areas of a home.

The sump pump works when water flows into the constructed pit through natural water migration of the soil or drains. The job of the sump pump is to pump that water out of the pit and away from your house or basement so the area stays dry.

The sump pit is a constructed hole carved below the surface of your crawlspace or basement floor. The sump pit, also known as the basin, will hold the sump pump, which is equipped with valves to sense when water levels or pressure escalate.

If the water levels increase, the sump pump starts automatically and begins pumping the excess water out of the area to a safe distance away from your house.  An effluent, or discharge line is connected to the sump pump and will take the excess water to a designated drainage area.

Where Should Excess Water Be Drained To?

The effluent, or discharge line should have a designed drainage area to a neighborhood drainage system, pond, creek, or dry well if available. You want to be sure the drainage point is not somewhere the water can find a way back into your home. Typically, the drainage point is set ten to twenty feet away from your home’s foundation.

In some cities, there are building codes that restrict where you can designate your sump pump to drain. Check with your local government before choosing the neighborhood drainage system as your designated point.

Basics of the Sump Pump

Generally, a sump pump will stand in a pit, or constructed basin with a gravel base approximately two feet deep and eighteen inches wide. When the pit fills with excess water, the pump will automatically turn on. When started, the sump pump will begin to move the water out of the pit through pipes that will carry it away from your home where it can drain without coming back towards your foundation.

The pipe attached to the sump pump typically has a one-way valve, or check valve on the pump’s end to prevent the water from flowing back into the basin. The sump pump automatically turns on through a pressure sensor or float activator. This piece works when more pressure is exerted on the sensor than air, which activates the pump.

The float activator is much like the one found in your toilet. There is a buoyant ball that floats on top of the water, and when the water level increases it moves the arm. Sump pumps normally have an option for you to turn them on manually should the float activator or pressure sensor fail to work.

Primary Types of Sump Pumps

There are two primary types of sump pumps. Both of these models are approximately two-and-half to three feet high. One type is the submersible model which is encased in a waterproof housing. This pump sits in the basin with the outlet pipe at the top of the unit. There is a flat grate or screen which protects the pump from debris. When the submersible sump pump activates, water is sucked up through the screen and sent to the pipe and out of your home.

The other primary type of sump pump is the pedestal version. Pedestal sump pumps resemble a long stick with a fat head. This model keeps the pump out of the basin and away from the water even if the basin becomes full of water. An inlet pipe reaches into the basin to pull the water out. Because the pedestal pump is kept out of the basin and water, these models are typically louder when operating.

Where to Learn More About Sump Pumps

B&L Plumbing Service is a full service, top-quality residential and commercial plumbing contractor in Kansas City. We can provide sump pump installation, maintenance and repairs. These units are essential to Kansas City homes to keep your basement protected and dry from excess water. If you need sump pump installation or repair, call and talk to one of our expert technicians to learn how we can affordably meet your needs.