What Is a Sump Pump? A Short Guide!

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Unwanted excess water from rainfall, underground, and plumbing leaks in your basement or crawlspace can spiral the situation out of control. Here, a sump pump comes into play. Knowing the purpose of this device, how it works, the different types, and what to do to keep the area dry if it starts acting up is really beneficial for the integrity of your property. 

Sump Pump Video Explanation

Sump pumps remove water that’s accumulated within a sump basin. It protects your foundation and the structural integrity of your property by preventing water damage and reducing the risk of mold damage. 

If your sump pump isn’t working, here are three quick tips. 

🔌 Make sure it’s plugged in and the circuit breaker is on

🚰 Clean the inlet screen of any debris, and make sure the float mechanism isn’t obstructed

💦 Last, pour a bucket of water into the sump to test and make sure it starts

Uses of the Sump Pump

Water pooling in the basement has the potential of flooding it. A sump pump can help you move it away from your property. By doing so, it helps you: 

  • Keep the foundation strong
  • Prevents mold growth
  • Makes additional living space by keeping the area dry
  • Protects any items stored in cellars, like furniture, electronics, and personal belongings, from water damage 
  • Improves the overall air quality in your home or business space

Properties with effective water management systems, including sump pumps, are usually more attractive to buyers and potentially increase their market value.

How a Sump Pump Works?

In a sump pump, there are 4 working parts:

  • Sump basin
  • Pump
  • Float switch
  • Discharge pipe

First, the water makes its way to the sump basin. The basin then collects it and stops it from spreading across the basement floor.

When the water level rises in the basin, it hoists the float switch to a particular height. This is a cue for the pump to switch on.

Next, the pump forces the water to the discharge pipe. The pipe then directs it away to a storm drain or a dry well.

When the water level in the basin decreases while the pump continuously removes it, the switch is lowered. This makes the pump turn off automatically. The cycle repeats until the area is dry.

Types of Sump Pumps

Submersible Sump Pump

In a submersible sump pump, a waterproof casing covers the motor. It is then placed directly in the sump basin, which is completely submerged in water when in operation. 

Submersible models are quieter and more efficient at pumping water than other types. They usually have a longer life. It’s mostly because of better cooling from the surrounding water.

The downside is a submersible sump pump can be hard to access for maintenance.

Pedestal Sump Pump

In this type, the motor is mounted on a pedestal on top of the sump basin, out of the water to stay dry. But the pump is still at the bottom. Pedestal sump pumps cost less than submersible ones and are easier to service and maintain. However, they are a bit noisy because the motor is above water, and this dry working contributes to a shorter lifespan.  

Battery Backup Sump Pump

The battery backup sump pump is often used with either submersible or pedestal pumps. It activates when the main pump malfunctions or loses power due to an outage. This way, water continues to force out of the sump basin to stop the basement from flooding.

But that doesn’t last too long. The battery makes the sump pump operational until it runs out of juice.  

Water-Powered Sump Pump

A water-powered sump pump uses the pressure of the municipal water supply to make a vacuum and remove water from the sump basin. It does not rely on electricity and can work without needing a battery backup sump pump for outages.

The catch here is that water-powered sump pumps require sufficient pressure to operate flawlessly and are more expensive to maintain over time.

Combination Sump Pump

It has a main electric pump with a battery backup pump in a single unit to make sure water continues to discharge during power outages. The flip side is it requires maintenance for both the primary pump and the backup system, which can be hard on your pocket.

Sewage Ejector Pump

These pumps are designed to move solid waste into a septic or sewage system. An ejector pump is mounted into the sump basin to collect and grind the waste into smaller particles, which is then pumped to the main sewer line. 

A sewage ejector pump is more powerful than other sump pumps and can clear the lines of basement bathrooms and other plumbing fixtures below the sewer line. However, it is expensive, difficult to install, and needs extra maintenance due to handling waste materials.


Sump pumps are a great choice for protecting your home or commercial ground level. Therefore, regularly check and maintain the one installed on your property to further improve its effectiveness for a safe environment.