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Do Homeowners Around Indianapolis Need Sump Pumps?

Any Central Indiana home with a basement or crawlspace foundation could be vulnerable to water damage due to snow melt or weather-related flooding, a moisture problem, a plumbing leak, or drainage issue. Water can enter basements and crawlspaces when the natural water table reaches a certain level, soaking the surrounding soil and seeping in through cracks in the walls or floor – the area will be flooded without equipment installed to drain away this water, resulting in ruined personal property and wet construction materials, mold growth, and other destruction which insurance may not pay for.

Homeowners often ask, “do I need a sump pump?” Whether you’ve been in your house for years or you are a new homeowner in the process of buying one, you need a sump pump to protect your investment if the home’s foundation sits below ground. Failing to install a sump pump when you need one could end up costing a lot of money in the future in terms of preventable damage and losses.

Williams Comfort Air explains how a sump pump system works and why you may need a sump pump installed in your home. Buying and installing a sump pump as well as performing sump maintenance over the years will protect the basement or crawlspace from flooding and water issues, and save you the hassle and heartache that too often results when basements flood.

Why Basements and Crawlspaces Flood

The volume of water held within the earth surrounding your home increases and decreases throughout the year. The water table is typically lower during periods of dry weather, but it can quickly rise due to heavy rainfall or rapidly melting snow. A drainage problem can also increase groundwater levels on your property, such as blocked storm drains or clogged gutters which fail to drain water runoff far enough away from the house.

When you buy a house with a basement or crawlspace, the lowest floor of the home sits below ground level, making it susceptible to underground water fluctuations. When the groundwater level rises higher than the basement or crawlspace’s floor depth, hydrostatic pressure can force water through walls into the dry area. Gravity naturally pulls water to the lowest available point, which in this case is inside your basement or crawlspace. If there is no way for water to drain out of the area, it will continue to fill, leading to flooding.

The law of gravity can also cause flooding in crawlspaces and basements from sources inside the home and elsewhere. A burst plumbing pipe in the basement or any levels above it will send leaking water down to the lowest area. A blockage within or overwhelming rain runoff collected by connected storm sewer pipes can cause water to back up through the pipes and drain back into the basement or crawlspace instead of carrying it away from the property.

The Purpose of a Sump Pump

A sump pump is a type of plumbing pump that drains water from areas of the home that sit below ground level. Sump pumps are installed at the lowest point in the basement or crawlspace, where infiltrating water will naturally flow due to gravity.

The Sump Pit

When you need a sump pump, a component called the sump pit or sump basin is also installed. The sump pit is dug out below the flooring level of the basement or crawlspace, so the basin becomes the lowest point and any water will collect within this pit. Other water-using appliances may also empty into this pit, like a nearby dishwasher or washing machine. A sump pit is typically about 17 inches wide and 16 inches deep; a basement sump pit is commonly between 18 to 24 inches wide and 22 to 36 inches deep.

Types of Sump Pumps

The components of a sump pump include the pump and a motor that runs the pump. If you need a sump pump, there are two main types of equipment available for primary sump pump use.

  • A submersible sump pump combines the motor and pump in one piece of equipment. Installation of the submersible pump is within the sump pit.

  • A pedestal sump pump features a separate motor and pump unit. Installation of the submersible pump is within the sump pit and it is connected to the motor installed on a pedestal that sits above the basin.

How the Sump Pump Works

Once the pit’s water volume reaches a certain level, the float switch or pressure sensor activates the sump pump. The motor provides power to the pump and the pump pipes water through the drain line and out of the home. The drain line, also called the discharge line, empties at a safe distance away from the structure – at least 10 to 20 feet away from the foundation, if not otherwise dictated by local building codes.

Do I Need a Sump Pump?

When homeowners ask, “do I need a sump pump?”, the answer depends on a few different factors. Not every house will need a sump pump, but in others, sump pumps are a must to protect against water damage and flooding.

  • If your home or business was built atop a basement, it’s best to have a sump pump installed. Even if you’ve never had wet basement or moisture issues before, sump pump installation provides assurance that you’ll have the tools needed to protect the space should emergency flooding ever occur.

  • If you have a finished basement, sump pump installation is an insurance measure to safeguard this space against water damage that could ruin all the construction work you’ve done as well as the belongings you store here.

  • If your home or business is on a crawlspace foundation, you need a sump pump if the crawlspace is prone to a moisture problem, standing water, or mold growth from high humidity and water in the area.

  • The soil type on your property impacts the earth’s ability to efficiently drain water. Homes with heavy clay and silt soils need a sump pump, as clay will drain slower due to small particles and to a low point rather than outward. For homes in areas with sandy soils, particles are large so water can more easily drain.

  • Does the yard slope toward the home? If so, the slope will naturally send water toward your foundation rather than away from it, so you need a sump pump to protect against basement flooding and damage.

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

When installation is performed by a professional, a sump pump can be expected to have a lifespan between 7 to 10 years. However, the actual service life of your pump can be greatly impacted by the amount of time it operates. Sump pumps that run frequently and for long periods of time see more use, which results in more wear and tear that causes the system to fail earlier than if the sump pump’s use was minimal.

Maintenance Care for a Sump Pump

To keep your sump pump in good condition and functioning correctly, you need to perform maintenance on a regular basis. An additional free benefit of this work is that it will help maximize service life from your sump pump.

  • Disconnect power and clean the pump screen or inlet opening monthly for pumps that handle wastewater from appliances so it is free of debris. Do this every three months for those that do not handle this discharge.

  • Quarterly, remove any debris that have collected in the pit. Test the sump pump by pouring enough water into the pit so that the float switch activates and starts the pump.

  • Each year, pull the sump pump out and clean it as well as the sump pit. Check the pump and motor for corrosion and rust.

Do I Need a Sump Pump Backup?

Because flooding and water damage can cost a lot of money to repair and homeowners insurance policies do not typically cover flooding, you need to consider installation of a battery backup sump pump as extra insurance to prevent this problem.

A battery backup sump pump is an extra sump pump installed to run if the main sump pump fails for some reason. A power outage for example could stop your main sump pump from activating and running as needed, leaving your basement vulnerable to water. A backup sump pump does not run using the home’s electrical services but instead has its own dedicated battery. As long as the battery is charged correctly, the backup pump will be able to run even when the main unit cannot.

Sump Pump Services in Central Indiana

Many Central Indiana homes can benefit from sump pump installation services – is your home one of them? Contact Williams Comfort Air to find out if you need a sump pump and our skilled plumbers will perform the install work you need to keep your basement or crawlspace nice and dry. Call us today to request an estimate if you need a sump pump or schedule an appointment for sump pump repair services.

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