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What is a Sump Pump and when is one needed?

A sump pump is a pump that removes water that accumulates in a water-collecting sump basin. You will commonly find them in the basements of homes. The water may enter via the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, funneling into the basin or because of rain or natural ground water, if the basement is below the water table level.

Sump pumps are preventative measures. They’re also effective where basement flooding happens regularly and to solve dampness where the water table is above the foundation of a home. Sump pumps send water away from a house to any place where it is no longer problematic. It could be particularly helpful with concrete block foundations.


In older homes, the water should pump into the sanitary sewer system. However, this is now against the plumbing code as it overwhelms the municipal sewage treatment system. Municipalities urge home owners to reroute their existing pumps to another locations. This will help ease the burden on the treatment system. If you’re considering doing renovations on an older home, it may be worth adding a sump pump (in some municipalities it’s mandatory.


How Do You Know If you Need One?

Not all homes have a sump pump because not all homes require one. If your home is prone to basement flooding, installing a sump pump will help remedy the situation and protect your home from future flooding. Additionally, if your home meets any of the following, you should have a sump pump installed. Also, you won’t find a sump pump in styles of homes that don’t need them (condos, for example). Sump pumps are pretty much exclusive to detached homes, although you will find them in some townhomes.

  1. If your basement has already flooded once before, it’s a good idea to install a sump pump as a preventative measure.

  2. Your home is built on flat ground with soil that traps water easily.

  3. You live in a climate that has large quantities of frequent rain and/or snow.

  4. You have a nicely finished basement that you want to protect against water damage.

Above are just some of the reason why you should install a sump pump in your house. Ultimately, it would be best to have a certified plumber in to inspect your house and give their opinion.


Alternatives

A sump pump is not always the answer. There are many other options to stop water from entering your home through the foundation. You should consider and investigate this first! It may be the true fix in order to stop water from getting into the house in the first place! Installing a sump pump can be a big and literally messy job. Another solution may be just as efficient for less money. Take a walk around your house to see if you see anything unusual. Of key importance is to ensure that all grading goes away from your house. Grading that goes towards/ into the house is the most common water issue in homes. This fix is almost free and may be the source of water in your basement!


Also, investigate eavestroughs and drains to ensure they are functioning properly. Make sure they bring water away from your foundation as far as reasonably possible. And if a walkway, patio, or pool deck slopes toward your house instead of away from it, they are contributing a ton of water into a foundation.


Some contractors and products can re-level slabs so they drain away from the house. You can install and remove many types of patios with proper slope at minimal expense. If pouring a concrete driveway, ensure it drains away from the house and that there is no gap between the driveway and house.

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