Pooling water around the foundation of your home is bad news. For decades there has been one handy device that has saved thousands of homeowners the grief of structural damage and flooding in their home. This is especially true in areas that receive considerable rainfall or properties that find themselves at the bottom of a hill or in low-lying areas where rain is likely to gather. The trusted sump pump has been protecting homes for decades and here is the story of this simple yet practical device.
It’s likely that your home has a sump pump if you live in certain areas of the country. Are you keeping up with your sump pump maintenance? Have you ever wondered where this essential home device came from?
The sump pump began in the mid 20th century and continues strong. Let’s take a look.
The History of the Sump Pump
The concept of pumping out water is not a modern invention. Early iterations of pumps existed as far back as ancient civilizations and up to 17th century England, where pumping engines were used for municipal water applications. During World War II, Allied Navy’s utilized various types of pumps in U.S. submarines.
The sump pump we know and love is usually credited to Navy Electrician, Karl Neidermeyer. During this service, the sailor worked on floating dry docks and used pumps to pull ships out of the water. After returning from his time with the Navy, Neidermeyer worked at his father’s motor shop when he realized that the pumps he’d used in the Navy might be useful to divert water from homes. Nedermeyer also understood that flooding scenarios often happened due to power failures. So, he developed a pump with a backup battery system.
The pump became more and more advanced over the years. Today, pumps operate on the same concept but are far more efficient and effective. They turn on when the pump reaches a certain volume of water and starts working to pump water out.
So How Do Sump Pumps Work?
When rain falls near your home, the water infiltrates the soil and can collect and pool around your home’s foundation. This is not desirable, as pooled moisture will do damage to your home’s structure. Sump pumps will typically be installed in the basement or in the lower portion of the home. The sump basin or pit is installed with a sump pump to collect water. Once the basin collects enough water, the float switch triggers. This activates the pump. The pump’s job is then to pump up water through a discharge pipe and divert it away from your home. The installation of this diversion pipe must be carefully placed to ensure water does not return back to the home’s foundation. As the rainstorm ceases and the water level drops, the pump switches off.
The pump pushes water out through the pipe by a motor and fan system. The motor has a rotating fan that pushes the water up and away from the home. Most of these pumps are powered by electricity but also have a manual setting. Similar to your toilet, the float sensor is an important component of the pump’s overall function. Keeping this sensor in good shape ensures your pump is working well.
Considerations for your Pump
Other factors that affect whether you should or shouldn’t install a sump pump, what kind of pump to install, and where depends on other considerations as well including:
- The type of soil around your home
- The sloping of your yard
- The amount of rain and snow in your area
- Existing or previous basement water damage
- The age of your previous pump
Why Do You Need a Good Working Sump Pump in Your Home?
The short answer is: to protect your home. The long answer provides a little more information as to why a good-working pump is an essential investment for you as a homeowner. Also, if you’re purchasing a home with a sump pump, it can help you assess whether the home has damage already. A sump pump protects the home by serving 3 essential functions.
The 3 Essential Functions Your Sump Pump Performs
#1: Prevents structural damage: Structural and foundation damage is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Not only is this type of damage expensive and extensive, but it is usually not detected until the damage has spread and or has dug its heels in.
#2: Stop active flooding in your home: Having standing water or flooding water in the home is another nightmare. Not only does that mean that there are drainage issues around your home, but it very actively damages your sidings, floors, carpets, and furniture. If water seeps into your home, it can be difficult to remove and it can cause molding issues.
#3 Protects your home & property from water damage: By having a working pump, you are avoiding damage to your property that includes furniture, carpets, and floorboards. If your home has classic wooden floorboards, a big flood is the last thing you want.
What Happens to My Sump Pump During a Power Outage?
With rainstorms and thunderstorms comes the potential for power outages. And for sump pumps that are powered by electricity, this means they stop working when you need them most. So what options do you have? Here are just a few:
- Secondary electric pump
- Battery backup
- Hydraulic pumps
Have Questions About Your Sump Pump? Call Genevie Plumbing
Protecting your home is a given, but how to do so can sometimes be a little trickier. Here at Genevie Plumbing, we can help you figure out what sump pump you need or whether your existing pump needs replacement. Proper maintenance is essential to make sure the pump performs its essential functions.
Having pump problems? We offer sump pump maintenance and more. Call Genevie Plumbing today. We can help!