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Your Sump Pump Questions Answered

A sump pump may very well be one of the most important purchases you make for your home or cottage.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

A sump pump’s primary function is to redirect groundwater away from your foundation to help keep the area around your home dry and prevent flooding. Installed into the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace, the sump pump works with the weeping tile system surrounding your house to collect water in its basin. When the pump’s valves sense escalating water levels or pressure, the sump pump activates to expel the water out to a well, creek, pond, neighbourhood drain or permeable surface — at a distance to ensure it doesn’t flow back toward your foundation.

How Do I Know If I Need a Sump Pump?

If you live in an area prone to flooding (especially below the water table) or even if it has the potential to become an area that floods (hello, climate change!), it’s pretty much a no-brainer decision.

If you’re new to a neighbourhood and are (re)building a home or cottage, ask neighbours if anyone they know nearby has experienced a wet basement to give you an idea of potential risks. Of course, if you’ve never had a water problem and it’s always dry and warm where you live, you could skip this investment for another basement project — wine cellar, anyone?

What Are the Different Kinds of Sump Pumps?

There are two main camps of sump pumps — submersible and pedestal. As the name suggests, submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in water, are installed below floor level in your basement and contain the motor and the basin in a single unit. They tend to be quieter, use less floorspace and clog less often. But — and there’s always a but — submersible pumps also tend to age faster. In pedestal pumps, the motor rests out of the water on a pedestal above the basin, with a hose running to the basin where the pump is installed.

Horsepower and head pressure are other variables to consider. The former relates to how much oomph your sump pump has, and the latter focuses on how high the pump can raise the water to expel it from the house.

Many of today’s sump pumps are equipped with flood or water-level alarms. These are often battery-powered and will notify you if your sump pump is malfunctioning or if water is backing up. App-happy homeowners will be pleased to hear there are also apps available that serve the same purpose.

A plumbing professional from Reliance™ can determine which model works best with your home and geographical location.

How Much Does a Sump Pump Cost?

New sump pumps can be expensive based on many factors, but investing in one could be exponentially cheaper than repairing a home that’s been damaged by flooding (think: mould and rotten baseboards, drywall and joints). Visit our Sump Pump page to get in touch and find out about any available sump pump offers or coupons.

Depending on where you live, you may qualify for a partial subsidy on a sump pump and its installation. Visit our Rebates page for more information.

How Do I Know If My Sump Pump Needs to Be Repaired or Replaced?

Sump pumps do need to be checked/tested and maintained regularly to make sure they are working. Many things can affect a sump pump’s lifespan — such as an incorrect installation, an unreliable electrical source or living in an area below the water table that’s regularly hit with heavy rainfalls/snowfalls. The best way to know if your sump pump needs to be repaired or replaced is to call a plumbing professional from Reliance to examine it. However, you may already have your answer if you hear strange noises — roaring, rattling, screeching, clanging — coming from the unit or there’s dirt accumulation in the sump.

What Happens in a Power Outage?

Sump pumps depend on electricity, so they’re slaves to the power grid and will shut off in the event of a power outage. Seeing as flooding can sometimes knock out your power, a power backup may be a wise choice to keep things running smoothly. Many sump pumps have a built-in battery backup, but if yours doesn’t, be sure to visit our Generators page to learn more about how a standby generator can be a lifesaver in a blackout.

Just Call on Reliance™

When plumbing goes wrong in your basement or backyard, you need help fast. Whether it’s a broken sump-pump, blocked sewer line, or a faulty outdoor faucet, the plumbing experts at Reliance are only a phone call away. We offer the following basement, laundry room, and outdoor plumbing services:

  • Repair or replace sump-pumps
  • Replace broken laundry hose
  • Remove blockages in main drain sewer
  • Repair or replace backwater valve
  • Replace water shut-off valve
  • Repair or replace outdoor hose bibs / outdoor faucets

Have more plumbing questions? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Plumbing Guide!

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