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All About Sump Pumps

If your basement floods periodically, you’re not alone. Approximately 98% of basements experience some kind of water damage. Every day, home water damage emergencies impact 14,000 people. That damage is costly, with household water damage bills costing up to $20 billion every year. Rather than forking out money to fix the problem, more households are being proactive and solving it with a sump pump.  

What Are Sump Pumps?

Sump Pump by State Farm is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Sump pumps are small pumps that collect water from a basement or crawlspace’s sump basin and pump it outside. This water may naturally migrate into the home from the soil or come from leaky drains and pipes. Sump pumps often sit inside sump pits built into the lowest part of the basement or crawlspace. By drawing water out of the sump pit and moving it out of the home, they prevent water pooling and causing damage. Most sump pumps have one-way valves which prevent water from flowing back into the sump pit.

What Are the Benefits of Using Sump Pumps?

Sump pumps can move water out of a basement or crawlspace more effectively than any other addition to your home. While waterproofing solutions can help keep basements dry, they’re no match for floods or heavy storms. Installing a sump pump can benefit households in the following ways:

  • Preventing flooding during periods of heavy rain.
  • Protecting the home against sewage backups.
  • Reducing humidity in the basement.
  • Reducing mold and mildew growth.
  • Reducing the risk of infestations of animals attracted to stagnant water.
  • Reducing the risk of electrical damage due to water.
  • Improving indoor air quality and household health.
  • Saving money by preventing costly water damage repair bills.
  • Improving the structural integrity of the home by preventing wood rot.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Sump Pumps?

While sump pumps are an effective way to remove water from basements and crawlspaces, they do have some drawbacks:

  • They rely on electricity, so they won’t help you in a severe storm that cuts power.
  • They’re not very visually appealing, although you can hide yours with a cabinet or raised stage.
  • There is a risk of radon gas leaking from the soil into your home via the sump pump’s hole, so it’s a good idea to test for this element regularly.

What Should You Consider Before Getting a Sump Pump?

Before booking your sump pump installation, consider the following:

Type of sump pump

There are two common types of sump pump: submersible and pedestal. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Understanding their pros and cons can help you choose the right sump pump for your home. Here are the main ways these sump pumps differ:

  • Location: Submersible sump pumps sit within the sump basin, so they’re fairly inconspicuous compared to pedestal sump pumps that sit outside the basin.
  • Space: Pedestal sump pumps are ideal for smaller basements, while submersible sump pumps take up a bit more space.
  • Servicing: Since submersible sump pumps sit tucked away, they’re harder to service than pedestal sump pumps.
  • Clogging risk: Submersible sump pumps can handle more debris before clogging than pedestal sump pumps can.
  • Power: Submersible sump pumps are more powerful than pedestal sump pumps.
  • Noise: Submersible sump pumps are quieter than pedestal sump pumps, so they’re better suited to basements that double as living spaces.
  • Lifespan: Submersible sump pumps usually last between five and 15 years. Pedestal sump pumps last between 25 to 30 years if they’re properly installed and kept free of debris.
  • Price: Submersible sump pumps are more expensive than pedestal sump pumps.

Water backup insurance coverage

Any damage caused when a sump pump fails isn’t covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. That’s why many households take out additional water backup coverage. This optional extra will take care of any repair and clean-up bills resulting from a failed sump pump, sump, or similar equipment that’s not part of your standard plumbing setup. For between $50 to $250 a year, depending on your insurer, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Battery backups

As sump pumps rely on electricity, many people get battery backups to make sure their pump can help them out when they need it most. With a battery backup system, your sump pump will keep running even if severe winds or lightning disturb your regular power supply. A battery backup will cost a few hundred dollars, but with the average home insurance claim for water damage sitting at $11,098, you can see why most people agree they’re a worthwhile investment.

Features of the Best Sump Pumps

Deciding whether to install a submersible or pedestal sump pump isn’t your only choice. There are many different sump pumps in each category with a range of features and price points. Sump pumps with the following features are of the highest quality:

  • Cast-iron core for longevity and easy servicing.
  • No-screen intake design for less clogging.
  • Solid, mechanical switch rather than a pressure switch.

Testing and Maintenance of Sump Pumps

While sump pumps operate automatically when there’s enough water in the sump pump, that doesn’t mean you should simply set and forget them. Regular testing and maintenance can maximize your sump pump’s life and ensure it works when you need it to. You can test your sump pump periodically by slowly pouring a bucket of water into the pump. It should activate, drain the water out of your home, then switch off once the water drops below the shutoff level. If you’re concerned about how your sump pump’s operating, call a sump pump maintenance service.

Sump pump maintenance can also help your sump pump keep running efficiently. Good maintenance services include sump pump and filter cleaning, valve checks, and tests. Unless you’ve confident managing your maintenance, it’s a good idea to book a professional service once a year.

If you’re ready to put an end to your basement water woes, speak to the professionals at Dahme Mechanical Industries. We’re a family-owned and operated company offering plumbing, HVAC, and mechanical contractor services in Arlington Heights and the Chicagoland area. For sump pumps and more that you can trust, complete our online contact form or give us a call at 847-610-6846.