Sump Pumps: The Most Effective Basement Waterproofing Solution
From losing sentimental items to suffering financially, dealing with a flooded basement can feel defeating. To avoid this damage, the experts recommend having a sump pump installed.
Sump pumps can keep your basement dry in even the most severe storms. Let’s take a closer look into what a sump pump is and how it works.
A sump pump is a water drainage mechanism placed in the lowest point of your home, in contact with the soil below, in a basin. This sump basin has a float that activates it when water levels rise too high. If it rains or if snow melts, it is able to detect this water and start up on its own.
It then drains the collected water through a series of interconnected pipes that make up your drainage system. These pipes divert the water to a safe spot outside, far from your vulnerable foundation. Typically, this spot may be a nearby storm drain, trench, or similar drainage point.
The sump pump is a great line of defense for homes in climates with frequent precipitation through snow or rain.
Sump Pumps Work Together With Other Waterproofing Systems
Interior Drainage System
Water will follow the path of least resistance. If you have a crack or leak in your basement, gravity will pull the water down into it. Simply patching these cracks up is not enough. New cracks or leaks might pop up during the rainy seasons. Even old, previously fixed cracks are prone to resurfacing if the weather permits it.
It will also not help if you have a poor, clogged, or misaligned drainage system. If the water has nowhere else to go, it will simply remain in your basement.
If you install an interior drainage system, however, the water’s flow will change course. The drainage system redirects the flood down toward the sump pump where it belongs. These systems work in tandem to keep water away from your healthy home.
Are There Different Kinds of Sump Pumps?
Sump pumps function in similar ways but do have differences based on your home’s needs. There are three main types of sump pumps: pedestal sump pumps, submersible sump pumps, and water-powered sump pumps.
- Pedestal Sump Pumps
Unlike other types of sump pumps, pedestal sump pumps are not buried in a sump pit or trench. Specialists will advise to store these pumps above the water line next to the trench. Though it seems counterintuitive, moisture can actually ruin these pumps should the outside become wet, hence keeping them up on a “pedestal” above the water.
These pumps are the most cost-effective option, ranging anywhere between $60 to $200 on average. However, these pumps tend to be a little noisier than others, and they frequently malfunction. Additionally, they can easily allow water or moisture back into the basement or flood it altogether since there is no lid to conceal the inner workings of the sump pump or the sump pit.
- Submersible Sump Pumps
As their name suggests, submersible sump pumps are submerged within the sump pit. The float component senses rising and falling water levels within this pit or trench, which then activates the pump itself. Automated sump pumps like these are thus very easy to set up and maintain.
Submersible sump pumps also present other benefits as well. Because of their submersion within your basement’s floor, they tend to be the quietest of all the types of sump pumps. You might not even notice it at work unless you head down to find a dry basement floor. They also have oil-cooled motors and tight seals that provide these machines with a long lifespan.
While submersible sump pumps can cost a little more outright, the investment will pay for itself in the event of a flood. Your home and valuables will stay protected, and you’ll save money in the long run. These are the types of pumps each Groundworks company installs.
- Water-Powered Sump Pumps
Water-powered pumps are typically used as backups to the main pump. Should the main pump ever experience an electrical or mechanical snag, the water-powered pump will still work to redirect water away from your basement.
These pumps are perhaps the most effective during heavy storms, as they are able to pump out water pressure of greater than 20 psi. Water-powered sump pumps typically work best with unrestricted water supplies that come directly from your home’s water meter outlet.
Basement Waterproofing Problem Signs
Sump pumps are great solutions if you have basement waterproofing issues. How do you know your basement needs one? What are some problem signs you can look out for?
- Cracks and Leaks
It does not matter how small the crack or leak is. Water can trickle in through any cracks in your walls or floor to completely flood your basement within minutes.
- Uneven Foundation
A stable foundation can help keep your basement relatively dry. Uneven foundations can create even more cracks along your basement’s walls and floors that let water in.
How Water Gets in Your Basement
There are plenty of ways for water to creep into your basement. Even the smallest leak or crack can invite a potential flood indoors. Understanding how water gets into your basement is the first step in figuring out how to permanently keep it out.
- Climate Consideration
Areas that suffer from heavy rainfall or storms will obviously deal with flooded basements often. Heavy snowfall surrounding your lawn will also likely melt in the warmer months and flood your basement. Thick humidity in the summers can also bring in unwanted moisture that can destroy concrete foundations.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
The formation of cracks or leaks in your basement can largely be contributed to hydrostatic pressure. The soil surrounding your foundation can take on more water than it can hold. In fact, the concrete itself has pores that may absorb moisture.
This collected water can push the soil up against the foundation. Pressure builds the more water there is in the soil and concrete pores. The combination of both may then cause the foundation to crack or leak. How quickly your foundation’s soil crumbles simply depends on the type and quality of the soil itself. Of course, extreme storms or other wet weather conditions may cause this damage in a single day.
Additionally, moisture trapped within concrete pores will likely freeze in the winter. The expanding ice can then cause the concrete to crack or shift out of alignment.
- Settling Foundation
The foundation often hovers over compact soil. When that soil shifts or converges, it can create cracks in the foundation when it settles.
A storm might erode the soil away. This creates voids for the water to fill instead. When the soil dries out, it will collapse and shift your foundation. Once it settles again, it may crack.
Any moisture trapped within the foundation itself is likely to make it shift, too. After settling, it will very likely fracture.
Prevent Flooding Altogether
Waterproofing your basement does not have to be difficult. It can be as simple as installing a simple device to pump all that water away for you. The right sump pump can permanently prevent your basement from flooding—even during a huge rainstorm.
Installing an entire drainage system and sump pump, however, might be confusing for a novice. It is best to leave all that to the local basement waterproofing experts.