With spring rains in the forecast for Minnesota, it’s time to start thinking about your sump pump. If you live in a house or townhome, you probably have one. It’s a small pump installed in the basement or lowest part of your house, and is designed to keep
the area under the building dry. It’s usually located in its own sump pit. The sump pump’s job is to direct water from flooding into your basement or crawlspace. You may not even know if you have one – until it fails and you find water in your basement.
Usually your sump pump will turn on automatically as water accumulates in the sump pit. Most pump systems have a float activator or pressure sensor to sense water level, and activate the pump when it’s needed. Then water is pumped out and away from the building.
Discharge from most sump pump systems is into your yard, away from the house, and depends on gravel and other drainage material to keep the water away from the building. City and state building codes determine where the discharge can be directed and how sump pumps are to be installed.
How do sump pumps fail? The pump itself can seize up with age, the electricity supply to the pump can be interrupted, or the water inflow is too much for the pump to handle – any number of problems can occur.
Next Week: More about your sump pump – maintenance and tips for installation.