What are Sump Pumps Used For?

What is a sump pump?

The most common kind of pump that you will find in your basement is called a sump pump. The purpose of the sump pump is to pump ground water away from your house. It resides in a sump basket. The sump basket is about the size of a medium garbage can, but you do not see it because most of it is installed underground. The top of it is usually twenty to twenty-four inches and does not have to be sealed airtight. The cover has a pipe leading out of the top of it that connects the sump pump. The sump pump has a device inside of it to detect when to turn on. As ground water rises in the sump basket, the device will trigger the sump pump to turn on. Once it is turned on, it will pump the water up and out of the horizontal pipe into your yard and away from your house. If your sump pump is not working, the water will continue to rise and start to flood your basement.

photo of a black sump pump in minneapolis on a carpetted floor

Is your Sump Pump not working?

If you have a sump pump in your house, you should check it occasionally to see if there is water collecting in the sump basket that is not being pumped out. If the water level is rising and not being pumped out:

  • Check to see if the sump pump is getting power. If there is a reset button, check to see if that button has popped out. If it has popped, push the button back in. If there is a circuit breaker or fuse box in your house make sure the circuit hasn’t tripped or the fuse hasn’t blown. If it has tripped, flip the switch back or replace the fuse.
  • Check to see that the float device is not tangled up in the cords inside of the sump pump. There are two basic kinds of devices in sump pumps. The more common one has a mercury switch that is like a float. When it floats high enough, it will tell the sump pump to turn on. The second kind has lift rods with a float and when they rise high enough, they activate the switch to turn on the pump. These are generally on a pedestal sump pump. In a pedestal sump pump the motor is not submerged, the motor is up above the ground.

Once you have assured that there is no power going to the sump pump and either you cannot determine what the float is, or you can see the float and determine that it is floating and the sump pump switch is still not turning on, it is time to call a professional plumber.

Who Fixes Sump Pumps?

To fix a sump pump, it is best to call a plumber earlier rather than later as you do not know how fast the water might be rising. If a plumber cannot get to you right away and you are worried about the water level rising too quickly you can rent or buy a small utility pump. Use this pump with a garden hose attached to temporarily pump the excess water outside. It is best to pump the water out of the house. If you cannot get the hose outside, you can pump the water into a floor drain or a utility sink in your basement.

If you are having a problem with your sump pump or are just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.

Yours Truly,
Matthew Dettwiler
Social Media Manager

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