Sump Pumps – Small But Important
If you have a basement or crawlspace, you might have noticed a round lid on the floor in an out-of-the-way corner. Lift that lid and you’re likely to see a small pit with a mechanical object in the bottom and at least one pipe leading into the surround floor (usually toward the outside of the house). That little device in the bottom of the pit is your sump pump. It might not be much to look at but it’s is keeping your basement or crawlspace from become a wading pool.
As you can probably tell by looking at it, the sump pit is the lowest point in your house. Through a system of underground drains or by natural migration, water will flow toward and into the sump pit. The sump pump’s job then is to pump the accumulated water out and away from your house.
It does this by means of an impeller fan which forces water up and out through the outlet or discharge pipe. The impeller will run when the pump is actuated by a float activator or a pressure switch. A float activator works much like the float in your toilet: when water reaches a certain level, the float – which rises with the water – causes something to happen. In the case of a toilet, it makes the pump turn off so the tank will stop filling. In the case of a sump pit, it makes the pump turn on to start emptying the pit.
Most sump pumps are fitted with a battery powered alarm that will alert you if the system isn’t working properly or if the water rises above a certain level. The nice thing about modern sump pumps is that this doesn’t happen very often. Even though sump pumps are very reliable, a bit of maintenance will ensure that your sump pump continues its important job of keeping the water where it should be…outside. It’s always a good idea to call a plumbing contractor at least once a year to check this important piece of equipment but here are a few simple maintenance jobs you can do on your own.
Make sure your sump pump is plugged in and the cord is in good shape. If you power outlet is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), make sure the breaker hasn’t been tripped.
Make sure the pump is standing vertical. Vibrations from normal operation can cause the pump to shift which can affect its operation.
Clean the grate on the bottom of the pump to remove any stones and debris that might be lodged there.
Pour a bucket of water into the sump pit to see if the pump turns on automatically. If it doesn’t, have the pump serviced right away. If it does turn on, check the pipes to make sure they aren’t leaking. Then check the outside to make sure the water is being pumped out and draining. When the pumping action is over, check the vent hole in the discharge pipe to make sure it is clear.
Crystal Lake Plumber is proud to offer sump pump installation and service as well as kitchen plumbing, hot water, water quality, pipe repair, and drains and sewer to the residents of Crystal Lake, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, and surrounding areas.
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