What is a Sump Pump?

One of the most overlooked plumbing items, the sump pump is important for keeping your home dry and your plumbing working correctly. Do you really know much about how a sump pump works? We’ll walk you through the basics.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a sump pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. Its job is to help keep the area under the building dry and to prevent it from flooding. Typically, they are installed in specially constructed pits. Water flows into the sump pit through drains or normal water migration through the dirt. The sump pump’s job is to pump the water out of the pit and away from your home so the basement or crawlspace stays dry.

How does a Sump Pump Work?

A sump pump usually stands in a sump pit, a hole with a gravel base about 2 feet deep and 18 inches wide that is dug in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. As the pit fills with water, the pump turns on. It moves the liquid out of the pit through pipes that direct it away from your home to a spot where the water can drain away from your foundation. The pipe usually has a one-way valve called a check valve at the pump end to keep the water from flowing back into the pit.

Most sump pumps turn on automatically through a float activator arm or a pressure sensor. The pressure sensor works just as its name suggests: Water exerts more pressure on the sensor than air does, which causes the pump to activate. The float activator works a lot like the one in your toilet tank. A buoyant ball floats on top of the water, manually moving the arm as the water level rises. You can also buy a manually operated pump, which works only when you decide to turn it on, but these aren’t as common because of their lack of convenience. Automatic pumps also have an option for you to activate the pump if the float arm or sensor should fail to work.

With over 60% of American homes suffering from below ground wetness, keeping the sump pump functioning and in good condition is very important.

While flooding is not as high a concern in our desert Phoenix climate, sump pumps have been common in new construction homes as a preventative measure for several years.

If you need your sump pump replaced, or see that you need one installed to make sure your home doesn’t end up with water damage, call the Phoenix plumbing experts at Plumbing Masters at (602) 296-1127. You can rest easy knowing that Plumbing Masters’ AM/PM Guarantee means that we will respond to your call any time of day, any day of the year.

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