Basement Waterproofing and Sump Pumps

by J on November 24, 2009

If you have a basement, you know the last thing you want in a lower level is moisture or worse yet, standing water. As a homeowner, taking preventative waterproofing measures helps to reduce the possibility of larger problems occurring later. By regulating the moisture levels in your basement, you are helping to protect your carpet, furniture and walls from problems such as mold. Purchasing and using a dehumidifier is a great start.  An even better step to take is to make sure you have a sump pump installed.

A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that accumulates in a pit (commonly found in home basements to collect water). The sump pump then pumps the water out of the pit and pipes it outside of the house so that it can be safely drained. Note:  never allow the hose to drain onto a septic field in your yard; it’s also best to not drain it into a basement floor drain. The preferable way to handle it is to discharge the water at least 20 feet away from the house; make sure the water drains in the opposite direction of the house.

When you purchase a sump pump, you may choose between two basic styles. A pedestal pump has a motor on top of the pedestal and the pump at the base, which sits on the bottom of the sump. A submersible pump, just as its name suggests, is designed to be submerged in water and sit on the bottom of the sump. Both types of pumps should have a check valve on the water outlet pipe to prevent water from flowing back into the sump when the pump shuts off. A one-third horsepower pump is adequate for most houses; a one-half horsepower pump will pump more water and lift it higher for just a bit more investment.

Some homes like to invest in a battery-powered second sump pump to back up the first one. That way if the main pump fails due to an electrical outage or pump malfunction, the backup will kick on. This is a good idea, especially if you travel for extended periods of time or live in a flood-prone area.

As usual, it’s helpful to have a local basement waterproofing expert install the sump pump for you. A little foresight on your part will ensure that your basement stays dry and comfortable for years to come.

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