A sump pump is a machine that activates when flooding occurs and pumps water out of your basement or crawl space, thereby preventing damage. Flooding in your crawl space is more than just unsightly and unpleasant. It can be a sign of serious structural issues and the cause of damage to your home and your belongings.
Of course, fully waterproofing your crawl space is one of the best things that you can do to take care of your home and prevent water damage. The process of waterproofing can vary from home to home and is highly dependent on the needs of the property in question. However, it almost always includes a sump pump.
Where is my Sump Pump?
If you have just moved into a new home or you have never had to think about your sump pump before, it can be hard to find it in a pinch. Of course, if you know who installed the pump, you can always ask them, but this is not always an option. Whether you have a basement or a crawl space, your sump pump will be found in the lowest part of your home.
A property’s crawl space is found between the first floor and the ground, and it tends to be a hub for the vital systems in a property. If your home has a crawl space, this is where your sump pump will be.
In this space, you will also find parts of your HVAC system, plumbing system, electrical wiring, insulation, and foundation. The hidden nature of the crawl space means many homeowners may not be familiar with the access points and layout of the space. This can make identifying and dealing with sump pump issues a little more difficult.
The Sump Pit
So, if all else fails, this is where you should start looking. Once you are in your crawl space or basement, you should look for the sump pit. Generally speaking, sump pumps must be placed in a pit that is at least 24 inches deep. This pit serves an important purpose for the functioning of your sump pump.
At the lowest point in a property, above the foundation, it is very easy to direct water that gets into your home toward the sump pump, either via the natural migration of water or via drains. This concentrates the water in one place, making it simpler to drain, and allows the floating switch to operate in relative safety.
What Kinds of Sump Pumps are There?
There are many different kinds of sump pumps on the market right now, all of which have their own benefits and drawbacks. Broadly speaking, however, there are two kinds of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible.
Submersible Sump Pumps
Submersible sump pumps are the classic version of a sump pump. Submerged within a sump pit, this sump pump has a floating switch that senses the water level rising and falling. These sump pumps activate and deactivate themselves based on the presence of water within the sump pit and offer a hands-off experience. They are also very easy to set up and maintain.
Likewise, submersible sump pumps are far quieter than other models because they are partially buried in the floor of your property’s crawl space or basement. In fact, you may not notice it at all unless you are in your crawl space or basement maintaining or assessing the pump itself. Finally, submersible sump pumps are more durable as a result of the oil-cooled motors and tight seals.
Pedestal Sump Pumps
Pedestal sump pumps are the cheaper option. While these sump pumps also rely on a sump pit or trench to collect water, they are not placed within the pit. In fact, placing them in the pit or allowing them to become wet on the outside could seriously damage them.
This may seem counterintuitive, but it is necessary to ensure proper functioning.
As the name might suggest, pedestal sump pumps will need to be placed on a pedestal above the sump pit and water. While they can be effective in the right setting, we do not recommend nor provide them as the drawbacks are many. As well as being noisier than submersible pumps, they are also prone to frequent malfunctions and can lead to increased humidity in the space because of their exposed nature. As such, we always recommend a submersible pump and have many options which can be tailored to almost any space.
Signs You Need a New Sump Pump
Sump pump installation is one of the most common waterproofing products to be installed in a property’s crawl space. In fact, many homes across Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, will already have a sump pump installed in their crawl space. Of course, every sump pump has a lifespan, no matter how high quality and well maintained it may be.
If you already have a sump pump and you are considering updating it as a part of general waterproofing work, there are a few signs of deterioration you should be aware of. If you see any of these signs, it may be time to update your sump pump.
Sump pumps are complex pieces of machinery with many different moving parts at work. If any of these parts get damaged, bent, or clogged by sediment buildup, they can affect the way in which your sump pump functions. A damaged or bent impeller, for example, can cause the whole sump pump to shudder because of the way it wobbles on the shaft that it is attached to.
The impeller is the propeller that draws water into your machine to be processed and expelled from your home. An impeller is placed on a rotating shaft and balanced to ensure that it does not tug at or damage the shaft (or the pump) by moving irregularly.
If something is loose, clogged, or deteriorating within your sump pump, you are likely to hear a strange rattling, clicking, or humming emitting from it. While certain older models may make noises as a matter of course, the sounds produced by a pump that is starting to deteriorate are quite different. Listen to irregularities, whining sounds, and noticeable rattles.
When you are new to a property, it can be hard to tell when something goes wrong, but for owners who have been living in the same home for a long time, noticing issues is much easier. Of course, when in doubt, it is far better to simply contact a professional to perform an inspection.
If you can see visible rust on your sump pump, or the water in your sump pit is noticeably discolored, there are a number of potential causes. The most likely is rust, seepage from your battery terminals, or bacterial growth. All are potentially harmful to your sump pump and home.
The most likely type of bacterial growth you could find in a sump pit is a form called iron bacteria. Iron bacteria feed on iron in the water, cause discoloration, and can even lead to the formation of a gel-like substance called iron ochre that can clog your sump pump and cause flooding in your home. This can be cleared up with some specialist treatments.
Rust formations, however, are a sign of corrosion within your pump. This is a little more final in terms of the possible rehabilitation of your sump pump. In fact, if your sump pump is rusty, we recommend that you start to think about replacement.
One of the most obvious signs that a sump pump has begun to pass its useful lifespan is repeated breakdowns and failures. These can be caused by a number of things within the pump or power supply, of course, but unless the issue lies outside of the pump itself, repeated failures are a sign that it’s time to replace your sump pump.
- Failure to start
- Failure to switch off
- Erratic draining
- Failure to remove water despite being active
Increased Humidity or Dampness
Increases in dampness or humidity that have no visible or obvious cause can often be your first warning. They indicate a steady deterioration in the effectiveness of waterproofing or water removal appliances, like sump pumps. If you notice issues like this, you should check to see if your sump pit is full of water or if there is water in your pit that is draining very slowly.
If left to deteriorate further, this could lead to flooding in your crawl space (and all the problems that brings).
If you see these signs, we urge you to contact a professional for a full assessment of your sump pump and your crawl space. This will help you to identify issues and recognize any damage that may have started to take root as a result of the increased dampness and damage.
Contact a Professional for Advice
Whether you have simply decided it is time to upgrade your sump pump and crawl space waterproofing or you are concerned there may be active damage at work in your home, we urge you not to go it alone. For the best sump pump at the best price, you will need to contact a local expert. Here at Ohio Basement Authority, we swear by SafeDri™ sump pumps.
Why We Recommend a SafeDri™ Sump Pump
Our intensive research that included testing and analyzing a variety of sump pumps has shown that SafeDri™ cast iron sump pumps are far superior to plastic sump pumps for a number of reasons.
First, cast-iron sump pumps of any kind are better at dispersing heat than plastic pumps. Unlike plastic, cast-iron pumps transfer heat from the engine casing into the water around them. This means that they are less likely to overheat and fail when you need them most.
SafeDri™ pumps in particular have many benefits that supersede those offered by generic cast-iron sump pumps. They are incredibly powerful and can remove thousands of gallons of water per hour. Secondly, they have reliable and durable float switches that are resistant to the common breaking, sticking, and jamming that plagues free-floating arms. Finally, all SafeDri™ pumps are clog-resistant thanks to their sump pump liner and unique intake valves. These unique features address the clogging and blockages that are so common with conventional sump pump models.
SafeDri™ sump pumps and backup pumps are also compatible with our crawl space vapor barrier and specially designed interior drainage system. This means that you will get a seamless and effective result. As such, choosing SafeDri™ is an investment that will pay off in the long run.
Crawl Space Sump Pump
From safety and hygiene to money-saving and energy efficiency, installing a new sump pump can make a huge difference to your home, even if you do not invest in wider waterproofing measures. Here are the benefits you should be most aware of.
Prevent Dampness and Damage
Installing a sump pump, or upgrading an old sump pump system, has many benefits, but it primarily protects your property, and your investment, from dampness and humidity by removing any water which enters your home quickly and efficiently. This effect is maximized when deployed as a part of a wider system, of course, but the right sump pump system can make a huge difference on its own.
By ensuring that water is not allowed to stand in your crawl space and stagnate, a sump pump will lower relative humidity and dampness by not allowing it to evaporate over time. This has a number of benefits, including a much reduced risk of damp-related issues like mold and mildew formation, wood rot, and condensation.
Increased Interior Climate Control
Once you install a new sump in your crawl space, you are likely to notice that the climate inside your home becomes more stable. Levels of relative humidity, temperature, and airflow will stabilize at a comfortable range for your home. There are many extra advantages to this benefit, however. First and foremost, a more stable environment is a more comfortable and efficient one.
Secondly, when the environment stabilizes, you will be able to tell if there is anything that needs to change. For example, if your home still has elevated levels of relative humidity or is generally cold, you will know that not all the problems in your property originated within your crawl space. This will also make identifying issues easier in the long run.
A backup sump pump or backup power source for the main sump pump is something many professionals recommend. Doing so has many benefits, of course, and can save you a lot of money in the long run. That said, the precise nature of these benefits will depend on the type of sump pump you have.
There are many benefits to having your sump pump connected to your property’s main electricity supply. First and foremost, sump pumps of this nature have a longer lifespan than battery-powered alternatives. They are also very low maintenance and can operate autonomously in many cases. This makes them ideal for larger homes or homes where accessing the pump on short notice may be hard.
However, the main drawback for this kind of sump pump is the fact that it cannot be relied upon when a storm causes a blackout. If there is a power outage in your area, a main-powered sump pump will stop working altogether. Installing a backup pump or backup power supply is an easy way to address this. Many backup pumps or power supplies will be set up to activate when the main power fails, making the transition relatively seamless.
Battery Powered Pump
Battery-powered main sump pumps have the benefit of not being affected by power shortages or blackouts in and around your home. This is why many backup sump pumps are battery-powered as a matter of course. However, there are many homeowners who choose to use a battery-powered pump to just support their main sump pump.
One of the main downsides to battery-operated sump pumps is the fact that their batteries can run out and will need to be replaced over time. This can be incredibly inconvenient, especially if it fails in the wettest months of the year. However, investing in a backup battery or power source can address this problem effectively. Likewise, regular maintenance and inspections should alert you to a failing battery before it becomes an active problem.
Installing a sump pump system is a good choice if you live in a very damp, flood prone area, of course, but a sump pump is not a silver bullet when it comes to combating water damage. Waterproofing your crawl space in a wider sense will maximize the benefits of a sump pump and add a few more, too. There are many different benefits to waterproofing your property’s crawl space.
Reduced Energy Costs
Properties that have fully waterproofed and encapsulated crawl spaces are far more energy-efficient than their non-waterproofed counterparts. This is partly because of the extra insulation, but also because of the reduction in humidity. Humidity and dampness make air harder to heat or cool, which will make your HVAC system work harder.
In short, a property with a waterproofed crawl space will find it easier to heat or cool its interior spaces and will be better at retaining the heat or cold that is created. This adds up to increased energy efficiency and lowered bills.
Increased Property Value
Waterproofing your home’s crawl space will increase the value of your property noticeably for a number of reasons. First and foremost, properties that have already had this work done lessen the load of potential renovations that a new owner may have to go through. This, as well as the increased energy efficiency waterproofing provides, will make properties like this more attractive to many people.
Secondly, a fully encapsulated and waterproofed crawl space can be used as a storage space for seasonal items. In fact, this could double the space in a property, making it incredibly attractive to people looking to buy, but also very useful for you and your family. As well as these general benefits, there are other, more personal benefits that come with crawl space encapsulation and waterproofing. Consult a professional to find out just what waterproofing could do for you.
Ohio Basement Authority Can Meet All Your Sump Pump Needs
If you have concerns about your property’s crawl space or sump pump, it’s time to contact Ohio Basement Authority. We are considered one of the premier crawl space and foundation repair services in Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, for very good reason. Since opening our doors in 2009, we have helped thousands of homeowners across Ohio to restore their properties to full health.
We offer free inspection appointments to all homeowners in our service area without obligation or pressure to book work through us. Our friendly and thorough inspectors are highly trained and skilled. They will identify all the underlying issues at work in your home with ease and provide you with a written estimate for all costs. This will ensure you have all the information you need in order to make an informed decision about what is best for you and your home.