With all the recent snow and rain in our area, it brings to mind a very important feature is many homes: sump pumps. As seen in the most recent “Home Schooled,” sump pumps are pumps used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basements of homes. In short, sump pumps prevent flooding in a home by discharging water outside of the home.

As demonstrated in the “Home Schooled” video, sump pumps are comprised of numerous parts and piping. First, there is the sump pump pit wherein the water is collected. Some pits are rather deep and, therefore, should have a cover on the same for safety reasons. The pump is connected to PVC piping that goes into the pit where the water is accumulating. When the pump is activated, the water is discharged through the piping and, eventually, funneled outside of the home.

Moreover, there is a check valve contained within the piping that allows water to be discharged outside of the home without allowing it to come back in. Finally, the pump usually has what is referred to as a “float.” The “float” is a basically a weight located on the pump and within the pit that will rise when enough water has accumulated, thereby forcing the pump to activate and discharge the water.

One of the most important aspects of the sump pump is that it is powered by electricity. As a result, the pump is usually plugged in and directly connected to a dedicated GFCI outlet contained directly next to the sump pump. While there is some debate as to whether a GFCI outlet needs to be utilized, it should be used for safety reasons. Specifically, if flooding in a basement does occur, you want the outlet
to trip, thereby preventing the water from becoming electrified. Moreover, you want to ensure the GFCI outlet being utilized for the sump pump is directly wired to your electrical panel.

Sump pumps should be checked frequently to ensure the same are operating properly, most notably after heavy rain or snow. Quite simply, a faulty sump pump can lead to flooding in one’s home and very costly repairs. Therefore, please check to see if your sump pump is operating properly by pulling up on the “float” to ascertain whether the pump is activated. If not, make sure you contact a qualified licensed professional to repair the same. Next week, please be sure to tune in to the next Tip at Ten in the next version of “Home Schooled.” Also, please continue to check this blog periodically for vital information about the home inspection process.