How Does A Sump Pump Work | A Detailed Guide

How Does a Sump Pump Work

Having a wonderful house is a blessing, but at the time, it is a lot of work. You have to spend a ton of time thinking about decorating or organizing your house. However, at the end of the day, a good home is the result of good maintenance. Besides, most homeowners have a sump pump in their basement. While they do know the basic purpose of having a pump, nobody cares about the intricacies too much.

Still, there is a band of curious customers who care about the details. They are not satisfied with simple plug-and-play operations. They’re interested in the science behind the machine. So, this article is detail-oriented. If you’re a member of the curious band, then let us take you into a pump-end-up tour (pun intended) that explains how does a sump pump work.

How Does a Sump Pump Work


What Is A Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a compact unit installed in a crawlspace or inside a pit of your basement. When the water level rises inside the basement reaches a critical threshold, the sump goes into action. It takes the incoming water and pushes it outside your home through the drain. So, its job is to protect your home from flooding. Whether it is below-ground wetness, heavy rainstorm, and water coming from the clogged sewer system, you’ll be protected.

Even though you won’t see it working every time but when it does, you will acknowledge its importance. If you live in a low-lying area or your house has a flooding history, then the sump pump should be on your ‘must-have’ list. In simple terms, a sump pump is a powerful unit that keeps the water out of any crawlspace of our house.

However, sump pumps differ, considering their features, which divides them into two specific categories. There are two types of sump pump one is submersible, and the other is the pedestal.

· Submersible Sump Pump

The submersible sump pump comes with a waterproof casing and sits inside the water (the sump basin). The entire unit, including the motor, remains underwater and connects with the power outlet using a long power cord.

· Pedestal Sump Pump

A pedestal pump comes with all the same components as a submersible pump. Its float switch and discharge pump remain inside water, whereas the motor stays outside the pit. It requires an inlet pipe that goes down to the basin and pumps the water out. Now that we’re done with the basics let’s take it a step further by looking into the nitty-gritty details.

How Does Sump Pump Work

Even though there are different types of sump pumps based on design, model, and features, it functions using the same principle. In that case, regardless of which type you bought, it will eventually be settled down in your basement to prevent water overflow.

How Does Sump Pump Work in A Basement or Crawlspace?

Sump pumps are installed to move water out from your basement; thus, you have to make a hole using approximate measurement for your pump. The hole is usually dug underneath the surface of your basement. The float switch always remains inside the pit. It senses the water lever immediately and turns on the motor. Then, the pump starts pushing out water through a discharge pipe that usually connects with a designated sewer system.

Now let us see the main components of a sump pump.

Sump Pump Consists Of

Pit or gravel-bottomed basin

– Float activator or pressure sensor

– Check valve

– Impeller

– Centrifugal pump

– Discharge pipe

How Submersible Sump Pump Work

A submersible pump is usually installed inside a basin, which is 60 centimeters in depth and 45 centimeters in width. Homeowners prefer digging the sump pit in the lowest area of the house. So, the pumps automatically turn on when a particular portion of the pit fills with water. It starts moving the water out of the pit through the discharge pipe, where the water finds its way into a sewer. Almost all the pumps have a check valve that lets the water out of the pit but stops the water from reverting back inside the pit.

Homeowners prefer installing automated pumps, so nowadays, most of them have a float switch or pressure sensor. It helps to activate the motor automatically when the water flow goes to a certain level. So, the basic principle is that when the water pressure is higher than air pressure, it causes the pump to start working. However, you will also find manually operated pumps that turn on only if you press a button.

submersible uses a centrifugal pump to operate this water discharging. The impeller turns on when you connect the power source. The impeller creates a low pressure at the center of the pit using centrifugal force. It makes the water run toward the void, and finally, the spinning impeller pushes the liquid outside the pit through these pipes.

How Pedestal Sump Pumps Work

The pedestal pumps are a little different than a submersible. This unit’s motor stands outside the pit, which cannot be in a moist or wet area. It requires a bracket to hold the engine while conducting water discharge. However, the vertical float switch of this pump sits inside the pit. It measures the level of water, and the pump turns on when it comes to or exceeds a preset height.

It automatically turns off when the water level goes below a particular threshold. The pump continues the same procedure as its submersible sibling to discharge water from a crawl space of your house. Even though the pedestal and submersible follow the same fundamentals, the pedestal cannot handle solids. On the other hand, many submersible pumps can easily handle spherical wastes.

We have talked about indoor pumps, but there is another kind known as an exterior sump pump. So, let’s see how this works.

How Does an Outdoor Sump Pump Work?

Exterior or outdoor sump pumps help remove unwanted rainwater from the backyard of your house to your desired drainage. There are two ways to get rid of the overflooded backyard. One is to connect the discharge pipe with the nearest sewer system, and the other is to construct a French drain. You can install a submersible pump outside of your house where the procedure is the same as before. It has to be inside the pit and connected with a power outlet.

The primary difference is that you have constructed a French drain or perimeter drainage that will help pass the water out from your backyard. Once you have settled everything properly, connect the pump with the pipe. Likewise, the pump turns on when the water reaches a certain threshold in the sump pit. It starts moving out the water through a gateway, depending on the flow rate of your sump pump.

Outdoor sump pumps are quite useful, especially when there is an unexpected rainstorm. They work as long-term yard drainage solutions, and you can quickly get rid of the overflow of water.

How Often Should a Sump Pump Run

A lot of users worry about their pump’s longevity. The question that haunts them is whether the pump’s workload will hasten its death. Well, that’s really not the case. A sump pump is designed to take on heavy beating. So, it’ll not give up when things get ugly. If your house is in a low-lying area and tends to accumulate water in the basement usually, then the pump might kick more than two times a day. That’s okay. However, if the pump turns on for no reason, then it is a possible sign of damage to the system.

Some of The Reasons Are Listed Below

– Broken check valve

– Clogged discharge line

– Too little motor power

– Clogged pump or switch

– The excessively large or small sump pit

– Defective ground foundation

– Broken sewer system

These are some reasons that your pump might turn on automatically. So, keep in mind that the pump should not run if there is no water attack.

Wrapping Up

A sump pump is not a luxury item; it’s a necessity. It’s not essential to understand the science behind a pump’s operation. However, there’s no harm in broadening your mind. So, let’s do a quick recap before we draw the curtains. There are two types of pumps. One is submersible, and the other is a pedestal pump. Both work by sensing the water level inside the pit, but it differs only in terms of the motor setup.

Moreover, some homeowners install sump pumps in the backyard that usually helps in emergencies. People refer to it as an outdoor sump pump. It uses a parameter or French drainage to move out the water. You will also find some with a battery backup sump pump, which means it will run even in the absence of a power connection. That’s about it.

In this article, we tried to shed some light on how do sump pumps work. So, if you’re the curious cat, then we hope the details here have quenched your thirst. We wish you a wonderful day ahead!

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