How Does A Sump Pump Work?

Welcome to DrainExpertsPlumbing! In this article, we will explore the world of sump pumps and shed light on their essential role in safeguarding your basement from water damage. Understanding how a sump pump works can help homeowners like you make informed decisions to protect your property effectively. So, let’s dive right in and discover the inner workings of these powerful devices and the types of pumps in your home.

The Purpose of a Sump Pump and How Does a Sump Pump Work? 

A sump pump is a crucial component of any basement waterproofing system. Its primary function is to prevent water accumulation by swiftly removing excess water from the sump pit—a designated space in the basement floor where water gathers. By diverting the water away from your home’s foundation, a sump pump helps maintain a dry and safe environment. A primary sump pump system is one of the best ways to prevent flooded basements.

Components of a Sump Pump:

A typical sump pump consists of three main components:

Sump Pit

The sump pit is a dug-out area in your basement floor to collect water. It is equipped with a liner to prevent water from seeping into the soil.

Pumping Mechanism

At the heart of the sump pump is an electric motor connected to an impeller. The motor drives the main pump impeller, creating centrifugal force that pumps water towards the pump’s outlet pipe.

Discharge Pipe

The discharge pipe transports water from the sump pump to a safe location away from your home. Proper installation and direction of the pipe are crucial to prevent water from re-entering your basement.

The Sump Pump Process:

Now, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of how a sump pump effectively removes water from your basement:

Water Accumulation

Excess water enters the sump pit through natural groundwater infiltration or during heavy rain, triggering the sump pump’s operation.

Activation of the Float Switch

As water levels in the sump pit rise, a float switch is automatically activated. The switch detects the water level and triggers the pump when it reaches a predetermined threshold.

Water Extraction

Once activated, the impeller of the sump pump starts spinning rapidly, creating centrifugal force. This force propels the water towards the pump’s outlet pipe, effectively removing the water out of the sump pit.


The water is pumped through the discharge pipe, carrying it away from your home’s foundation to a designated drainage area or storm sewer.

Pump Deactivation

As the water level in the sump pit lowers, the float switch detects the change and deactivates the sump pump once the water reaches a predetermined lower threshold.

Types of Sump Pumps – What Sump Pump Do I Need?

There are various kinds of sump pumps to suit different basement configurations and water management needs, so make sure the pump you choose is the the main sump you want. Two common types include:

Pedestal Sump Pumps

These pumps have a motor mounted above the sump pit, with the impeller located at the base. They are easily accessible for maintenance but can be noisier than submersible pumps.

Submersible Sump Pumps

These pumps are designed to be submerged in the sump pit, and uses the water in the sump to reduce noise. The motor is sealed within a waterproof housing, providing added protection against water damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a sump pump if my basement has never flooded before?

While past experiences can provide some indication, it’s essential to consider factors like your basement’s location, groundwater levels, and the potential for heavy rainfall. Even if your basement hasn’t flooded in the past, a sump pump can be a proactive measure to prevent future water damage and maintain a dry basement environment; sump pumps reduce the risk of water damage to your home.

How often should I maintain my sump pump?

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure your sump pump functions optimally when needed. It’s recommended to inspect your sump pump at least once a year. Check for any debris in the sump pit, test the float switch, and ensure the discharge pipe is clear of obstructions. Additionally, consider scheduling professional maintenance every few years to assess the pump’s overall condition and address any potential issues.

Can I install a sump pump by myself, or should I hire a professional?

While some homeowners with plumbing experience may be able to handle sump pump installation, it’s generally recommended to hire a professional for proper installation. A professional can assess your specific needs, ensure correct sizing and placement of the pump, and provide expert guidance on the best type of sump pump for your basement. Their expertise helps minimize the risk of installation errors and ensures the sump pump operates efficiently.

What should I do if my sump pump fails during heavy rainfall?

If your sump pump fails during heavy rainfall, act promptly to minimize potential water damage. First, check for any power issues, such as tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses, and address them if possible. Consider using a backup power source, such as a battery backup or generator, to keep the sump pump running. If the issue persists or if you don’t have a backup system, contact a professional plumber immediately to assess and repair the sump pump.

How long do sump pumps typically last?

A: The lifespan of a sump pump can vary depending on factors such as usage, maintenance, and quality of the pump. On average, a well-maintained sump pump can last around 10 years. However, it’s important to monitor its performance regularly and be prepared for replacement when signs of wear and reduced efficiency become evident. Consulting with a professional plumber can help you determine the best time to replace your sump pump and select a reliable and durable replacement.

Sump Pump Installation: Install A Sump Pump With Our Help!

A sump pump serves as an essential guardian, diligently protecting your basement from potential water damage and mold growth. By understanding how these devices work, you can appreciate their importance and make informed choices to keep your basement dry and safe. Remember, investing in a reliable sump pump and regular maintenance can save you from costly water damage repairs and provide peace of mind knowing your basement is well-protected.