How a Sump Pump Works

How a Sump Pump Works : A Sump Pump System

A sump pump system or a sump pump is a suction pump that works to remove liquid from a sump or to remove water that has accumulated in a sump pit. A pump is often installed in the basement or crawl space and is connected to a drainage system under the house that removes water from a drain or receptacle for liquids.

A sump pump systems consists of a sump or depression and pump assembly that receives groundwater infiltration flows collected by weeping tiles located around the foundations of buildings, and pumps the flows up onto the outside ground surface or basement.

A sump pump normally works automatically powered by an electric motor for the removal of drainage, except raw sewage, from a sump, pit or low point preventing the basement or crawl area from flooding.

Parts of a Sump Pump

A sump pump system consists of four major parts:

  1. A groundwater collection system;
  2. A sump tank;
  3. A pump; and
  4. An outlet drain.

How a Sump Pump Works

Groundwater is collected by drain rock and drain tile buried along the foundation and/or under the floor (in some cases). Drain tile carries the water to the sump tank that is buried in the basement floor. Large houses may have two sump tanks for proper functioning of the system.

The sump tank (also known as “basin” “crock” or “sump pit”) may be made of clay, steel, tile, concrete, fiberglass, or even polyethylene. Size of standard tanks is about 18 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 feet deep but they may vary in size.

A sump tank is normally located at the lowest point in the basement. Most of these tanks have a hole in each side for incoming drain tile. All sump tanks also have a sturdy cover. When the tank gets filled with groundwater upto a certain level, the pump automatically get activated. Some of the sump pumps are also controlled manually but they are rather less common.

Standard sump pumps are electric powered. There are two main types of standard sump pumps: submersible and pedestal.

A submersible pump is completely concealed inside the tank.

A pedestal model has a column that protrudes up through the tank’s cover. The motor is mounted on the column, above the floor level.

Both, submersible and pedestal types of sump pumps draw water in through a filter trap. This filter trap should be cleaned periodically for smooth functioning of the system. They pump water out through a discharge pipe or hose. As soon as an automatic pump empties the tank to a certain level, it’s motor turns off.

If the system is connected to a sewer, the discharge pipe has a check valve and may also have an anti-siphon device to prevent any backflow. In some cases the discharge pipe is simply connected to a hose that carries the water away from the house. Codes in most areas dictate where the water must be discharged. Check out your local codes.

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