What is a Sump Pump and What Do They Do?

As a homeowner or business owner, you may have heard of the term “sump pump”, but what does a sump pump do and why are they important? Below, as Edmonton’s basement experts, we’ve provided a basic understanding of what a sump pump does, how it works, and how to know if you need a sump pump. Preventative maintenance and proper sump pump installation is key in preventing a flooded basement in the future.

Commonly, a sump pump is used to remove water from your basement and out to your home or building’s outdoor drainage system, where it will no longer be a problem. This helps prevent flooding in your basement, especially in climates with extreme temperature variation or lots of moisture. Usually your sump pump and sump pit (catch basin) can be found in the basement or crawl spaces of your home or building. 

There are three major parts of how a sump pump works: the sump pit (catch basin), sump pump, and an outlet drain. The catch basin is a retaining area in the basement that holds the sump pump. The sump pump then sits in the basin and is equipped with a valve that senses water levels or pressure. When the water gets too high in the catch basin, the sump pump automatically pumps excess water out of the outlet drain to a designated drainage area. 


Different Kinds of Sump Pumps

There are different options when it comes to installing a sump pump, but they tend to share some common functionalities. A majority of sump pumps are electric, and can be easily powered by simple household electricity, requiring no additional power source to be added when installing. The most commonly utilized type of pump is the submersible pump. Submersive pumps rest in the water and are completely concealed inside a sump pit to prevent electrical short circuits. They are often quieter, save space in your basement, and clog less compared to other styles of sump pumps. 

Do You Need A Sump Pump?

There are a few different ways to determine if your basement needs a sump pump.

First, you will need to establish if moisture or water is accumulating in your basement. You can easily check this after a heavy rain or during the spring melt, if you live in a colder climate. Establishing if there is water in your basement, leads to the next step of determining where it is coming from. 

If your basement already has foundation wall cracks (which are common as a home settles after being built and over time) and the water is coming through those cracks, then a sump pump may not be effective. You may need to have the cracks assessed by a local professional and ultimately repaired externally. If your basement is gathering water from hydrostatic pressure or a high-water table, you will potentially need a weeping tile system that includes a sump pit and a sump pump.  

In addition, to establish if you need a sump pump for your basement there are other items that should also be considered. 

  • Is a sump pump required by your home building codes and standards?
  • Additionally, if your home is not prone to flooding, moisture could still be present. Moisture can cause several types of mold that increase the risk for upper respiratory infections, allergic reactions, and asthma complications. We suggest you run a dehumidifier in the basement, and check for moisture again a few weeks later. If it is still moist, we suggest contacting a foundation repair company.

As a family-owned business located in Edmonton, we offer free estimates. Keeping your basement dry, free of mold, and safe for use is our goal. We’re your go-to for sump pumps in Edmonton and the surrounding area.