Basement flooding and its many causes have the potential to threaten family safety and be extremely costly in terms of structural damage, mold and the loss of treasured items. Whether you live in an area prone to flooding or have your washing machine in the basement, a good sump pump is a homeowner’s first line of defense against a basement flood.
Even what some might consider a “small” basement flood can result in thousands of dollars in damage: the average amount homeowners pay to clean up a flooded basement ranges from 1,138 to $4,284. A sump pump system will remove ground water before it can seep through the floor and walls, damaging appliances, furniture and everything else in its path.
What is a Sump Pump?
A sump pump is a small pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. Sump pumps are installed in specially constructed sump pits. Water enters the sump pit through drains or by natural water migration through the soil. The sump pump’s job is to pump water out of the pit and away from the building so the basement or crawlspace stays dry.
Types of Sump Pumps
“Primary” sump pumps are the standard used in most residences. They are designed to pump seepage water out of your basement and can pump up to several thousand gallons an hour. There are two types of primary sump pumps:
Pedestal Sump Pump — The motor on this type of pump is mounted on a shaft and positioned above your sump basin. Pedestal sump pumps are good for small basins (10” or less), as the pump base is submerged but the pump motor is not.
Submersible Sump Pump – This type of pump has a sealed motor and the entire unit sits under the water, which means you will need a bigger pit. A submersible sump pump like Metropolitan Industries X-ONEi 1/2 HP Submersible All in One Pump is recommended for home installations because it is quieter and less obtrusive. These pumps are also safer if there are children or pets in the house because the basin can be covered with a lid.
Choosing the Right Size Pump
Sump pumps range in horsepower and pumping capacity varies accordingly. Generally speaking, the higher the horsepower, the more gallons per hour it will pump.
Average Homes — A ½ HP or ⅓ HP sump pump is adequate for most homes. A ⅓ HP pump like the high performance Ion StormPro WC33i by Metropolitan Industries can pump 44 gallons of wastewater per minute at 10’ levels.
Homes Susceptible to Flooding — If you live in an area with a high water table, flood plain or low lying area, or if you have an installation with a high vertical lift (20′ to 30′) and/or long horizontal run (150′ to 250′, you may need a stronger ¾ HP pump. The Ion StormPro BA75i by Metropolitan Industries provides 20 to 25% more pumping capacity over a ½ HP sump pump, or around 75 gallons per minute.
DIY Installation is Quick and Easy
Installing a sump pump in your basement can be a DIY project if you are handy and have the right tools. Follow these step-by-step directions if you are up to the task. If the construction or configuration of your basement makes installation a challenge, we suggest that you hire a plumber with sump pump experience, a basement waterproofing company or a contractor who specializes in pump installations.
Add Extra Protection with an Alarm
If there’s a power outage or a mechanical failure, your sump pump won’t operate. It’s a good idea to include a sump pump alarm to warn you that the system is not functioning and the water level in the sump pit is rising. This will give you time to intervene before your basement floods. Some sump pump models come with built-in high water alarms or you can purchase one separately.
Options include a “local” alarm that will sound a loud audible alert, such as the Floodfree. Or choose a “remote monitoring” alarm that will notify you by phone, email or text message, like the PumpAlarm Cellular Water Alarm that communicates via a cellular connection.
In addition to equipping your sump pump with an alarm, consider adding a battery-powered backup system so your pump will continue to function even if the power goes out.
Contact Us for Expert Advice
When it comes to basement flooding, a sump pump is a wise investment for your home and your peace of mind. Sump pumps are an effective way to keep your basement dry, foundation strong, and your home free of health hazards like mold and mildew. Unsure what size pump to get or have questions about a DIY installation? The technical advisors at diycontols.com are here to offer advice and expertise.