When The Water Table Rises, Are You Confident Your Sump Pump Will Work?
Here in New England, we're typically blessed with ample rainfall to keep our lawns and gardens lush and green throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, all of that rain can often result in soggy soil and wet basements throughout the year. Fortunately, for many New Englanders,' this is little more than a minor nuisance thanks to their trusty sump pumps!
A sump pump is usually housed in a small hole (or sump) located in the basement and when water enters the sump it engages and removes the water out of your home either through a hose or your sewer or septic system. A sump pump can be battery powered or run on electricity and has either a manual switch or an automatic switch that turns the pump on when the water in the sump reaches a certain level. Depending on the model, make and type of pump it may have several other features.
How Does a Sump Pump Work?
If you live in an area with a high water table, or you've experienced heavy rains and the soil becomes soaked, water can enter your home through your foundation. Your basement sump is designed to collect this water. As the water level rises many sump pumps have a float mechanism which senses the rising water and turns the sump pump on when it reaches a pre-programmed level. Other sump pumps feature a manual switch which means you need to monitor your basement and when the water reaches a certain level you manually flip the switch to engage the pump and remove the water.
A submersible pump sits inside the sump and they are a common choice because they are completely out of sight when not in use. A pedestal pump sits just above the sump and is slightly more visible. Both types use a fan-like impeller on the bottom of the motor which creates suction and funnels the water through the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe can be made of a number of different materials with the most common being long-lasting PVC.
Should You Have A Backup Sump Pump?
Typically the sump pump you already have installed is sufficient to do the job during heavy rains and snow melt. This is your primary pump and is most likely run using electricity, perhaps it's even hardwired into your system. This is probably sufficient If you live in an area that doesn't frequently lose power. However, if you live in a more rural area and experience power outages frequently during stormy periods, it may be a good idea to have a battery powered back up, just in case. This is a relatively inexpensive insurance policy if you lose power during a powerful spring storm. Even an inch of water can cause heavy damage from mold, destroy personal property that's not raised off the floor and cause a hard to remove musty smell.
What Should You Look For When Buying A Sump Pump?
First, consider the pump's use. Is it a primary or backup pump? Do you want an automatic submersible pump or do you prefer a manual one?
Make sure any pump you consider is made of high-quality materials, while you may not need it often, you want a pump that is reliable. The most durable are made using engineered PVC, thermoplastic, and cast iron, but make sure if you choose a cast iron pump that is baked in epoxy paint to prevent corrosion. Internal parts should be made of metal. Power is another important consideration. A pump with ¼ to ½ horsepower should be fine for most residential use, although if you live in an area prone to flooding, you may want to consider a more powerful pump of up to 1 horsepower.
Picking the brand is the final choice and it's usually the most difficult. Most homeowners will buy one or two sum pumps in a lifetime and may not know what brand offers the best quality. At Skillings and Sons, we highly recommend Zoeller. Their Might-Mate 50 series is durable and moderately priced and we can install the pump for you.
If you're not sure or have questions about which sump pump to choose, give the experts at Skillings and Sons a call. We can help you choose the best pump to meet your needs and we can install it too!