What Is a Sump Pump and How Does It Work? Answering All of Your Questions

Dry Tech Waterproofing Solutions has over 25 years of experience as a licensed contractor for residential basement waterproofing and is ready to explain what a sump pump is and how it works.

Whenever our basement waterproofing technicians are called to clean up a flooded basement, our first action is to check the sump pump. And, in most cases, it is not working properly and the homeowners had no idea that there was anything wrong with it. This is why we decided to prepare this article. 

So, what is a sump pump used for and how does it work to prevent basement flooding?

Let us start with a simple explanation. A sump pump consists of a pit situated below the basement floor level. This pit, called the basin, contains a pump equipped with valves. A discharge line, called the effluent, directs pumped water away from your building and into a designated drainage area. The drainage area can be a dry well, a body of water or a yard sloped away from the home. 

How Does It Work?

Now, how does a basement sump pump work? As we explained above, it is equipped with valves. These valves detect increased water level or water pressure. Thus, when there are heavy rains in your area and the water table begins to rise, the sump pump detects this and starts running.

How do you know if your sump pump is working? First of all, you see the results – a dry basement. But you can always listen to it in operation since it is equipped with a motor. Even a submerged sump pump (the most silent model) can be heard when it is working if you go to the basement.

Types of Sump Pumps

When you start looking for a sump pump for your home, you will find several models available. We will make a short presentation of each. However, when you decide on sump pump installation or replacement, you should always let specialists make the choice. They will examine your property, understand the dynamics of the water table and the grade of landscaping, and make the best recommendation for your needs.

Submersible Sump Pump

We already referred to this type of sump pump for home. It is the most silent model and takes up little space. The reason for this is that the entire equipment is located inside the basin. This type of sump pump is also less likely to clog than other models.

Pedestal Sump Pump

The pedestal sump pump is partly submerged and partly placed on the basement floor. The pump itself is in the basin, while its engine sits on a pedestal outside of the pit.

Battery-Backup Sump Pump

A battery-backup sump pump is an excellent choice if you live in areas with extreme weather conditions when heavy storms cut off your power supply. A regular sump pump will not work without power. Once the main power line is cut off, the pump will start using the battery to keep pumping water away from the foundation of your home.

Water-Powered Backup

This type of sump pump uses increased water pressure to remove water from the basin. With this model, you don’t have to worry about recharging the battery and monitoring the power supply. It is only used as a backup sump pump to the primary pump in case your power is out due to weather conditions. It will keep your finished basement safe during a storm and power outage. 

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

We hinted at various lifespan durations for different types of sump pumps. So, how long do sump pumps last on average? For a submersible sump pump, the average lifespan is between 7 and 10 years depending on your water table and how often the sump pump cycles.

You should also regularly test the sump pump to see if it works well. All you have to do is pour water into the basin and have a person watch the drainage exit. If the sump pump is in good condition, the water should be drained away in a matter of minutes.

Also, look out for potential signs of problems and call specialists to check on your basement sump pump:

  • Loud noises – the sump pump is approaching the end of life
  • The sump pump runs continuously – the sump pump may be undersized for your needs
  • The sump pump does not run – either the power supply is interrupted, or there is debris clogging the pit; in the worst-case scenario, it needs repair or replacement

Hire Professionals to Help Keep Your Water Issues Under Control

Dry Tech Waterproofing is a professional company with over 25 years of experience in installation of sub-floor pressure relief systems that redirect water to your sump pump and out of your basement. Our service area in PA covers:

  • Eagleville
  • Drexel Hill
  • Downingtown
  • King of Prussia
  • Norristown
  • Philadelphia
  • Pottstown

Call us now for a free estimate: 888-537-9832!


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