The last thing Wausau homeowners want is for their basement to flood. A sump pump protects your home from heavy rains and rising water levels. Flooding damages your property and can cause expensive structural damage. In the guide below, we will discuss how a sump pump works and factors to consider when choosing the right sump pump for your home.

What Is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is designed to remove water from your basement and pump it outside. The term “sump” describes a pit or a hole carved underneath your basement floor’s surface. This pit, also called a basin, is where the sump pump is installed.

Your sump pump is a device with valves that can measure and increase water levels or pressure. When the water level or pressure gets too high, the sump pump automatically activates in order to force water out of the basement and away from your property via a discharge line. The discharge line links your sump pump to the drainage area.

The Basics of How a Sump Pump Functions

As your sump pump detects rising water levels or pressure, it monitors the levels to ensure that they don’t rise above a safe level. The pump relies on a switch to monitor the water levels in the water basin. As the water levels rise, they activate the switch, which turns on the pump, discharging water through a pipe away from the home’s foundation.

Sump pumps can be battery-, electric-, or hydro-powered. Your primary pump is going to be hardwired into your house. But many systems have secondary pumps that are hydro-powered or battery-powered, allowing them to continue to function even if a flood or a storm causes a power outage.

Preferred Sump Pump Draining Location

Your sump pump should drain into a predetermined area, such as a creek, pond, well, or neighborhood drain. You don’t want it to drain into a place where the water will return to your home. The pump should be between 10 and 20 feet from your home’s foundation or installed in harmony with the city’s building codes.

How Does a Submersible Sump Pump Work?

Submersible sump pumps combine the pump and motor in a single unit. Since a submersible pump is submerged in the water basin, they run quieter, don’t take up a lot of space, and work with fewer clogs. The downside is that since they are always underwater, they are affected by the water, so they might not last as long. However, submersible sump pumps are generally considered the best option to help homes where flooding is a major concern.

Pedestal Sump Pumps

With a pedestal sump pump, you have a motor and a pump. The motor is on a pedestal that sits above the basin in the house. There is a hose that runs to the basin connected to the pump. The pump sends water through the hose out to your preferred drainage area. The benefit of a pedestal sump pump is that it’s not submerged, giving it a longer lifespan. Additionally, it’s easier to access than a completely submerged pump. The downside is that since the motor is outside of the water, it is loud and can take up a considerable amount of space compared to its submerged counterpart.

Battery-Operated Backup Pumps

A battery-operated sump pump offers an extra layer of protection in the event of a flood. With a battery backup, your sump pump can operate without power. This is usually when you need it the most because it’s going to be a rainstorm or a flood that will knock out your power in the first place. Once power is restored, your primary sump pump will activate.

How Do You Know What Sump Pump Type Is Right for Your Situation?

One of the first features you want to look at when choosing a sump pump is its horsepower. If you choose a sump pump with lower horsepower than you need for the level of flooding where you live, you are still at risk of flooding. If you purchase a unit that has more horsepower than you need, it will cause cycling, so your unit will continually turn off and on. This increases energy bills and lowers the life span of the pump.

In most areas with high water seepage levels or homes with a far drainage point, a 1.5 hp submersible pump should do the trick. Choosing the right sump pump for your home is key to keeping your investment safe. At Southport Home Services, we have years of experience helping homeowners like you protect their investments from water damage. We would be happy to visit your property and recommend the best sump pump for you.

A sump pump that is made from cast iron is going to last longer than those that are made from stainless steel or plastic. A cast iron core helps dissipate the motor’s heat better than stainless steel or plastic. Consider purchasing a sump pump that has a built-in alarm. This alarm will alert you if the water level rises higher than the sump pump can handle because of extreme weather conditions or because your sump pump has failed.

Sump Pump Switches

Most sump pumps use a switch system. This allows the pump to be turned on independently. All switches activate the pump, but different switches offer unique features that might be beneficial, depending on the condition and location of your home.

A pressure switch monitors the amount of water pressure. As the water rises, the switch is triggered, activating the pump.

Tethered float switches have a tethered float connected to the pump. The float sits in the basin. Once the water reaches a level where the float cannot float any higher, a signal is sent to activate the pump. When the switch can’t float because the water level is low, another switch tells the pump to shut off.

An electronic switch doesn’t use a float. Instead, it senses how much water pressure is in the basin. When the water level rises, it activates probes connected to the pump, which switches on the pump.

A good sump pump is a must-have appliance in a home that is in an area prone to flooding. Flooding can damage your home and your health. Even if flooding doesn’t occur, moisture being held close to the foundation can increase mold growth, leading to allergic reactions, respiratory infections, asthma, and more. If you don’t have a way to remove water accumulating around your home’s foundation, it will eventually find its way in and flood or dampen your basement. A sump pump can protect you from this.

The Best Plumbing and HVAC Services in Wausau

At Southport Home Services, we proudly serve Wausau and the surrounding areas by providing plumbing and AC services. We are staffed with experienced NATE-certified technicians and licensed plumbers, and we are equipped to provide all the services our customers need.

Our services include HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair. We offer commercial and residential plumbing installation, maintenance, repair, and replacement services as well. Contact Southport Home Services today and let us care for your home comfort.

Meet the Author
Thomas Suchla
Thomas Suchla


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