Do Cincinnati Homeowners Need Sump Pumps?

If your Cincinnati house’s construction includes a crawlspace or basement foundation, it could be susceptible to flooding. Water may seep in through the floor and walls of a basement or crawlspace when water saturation of the surrounding ground reaches a certain level, which is often related to bad weather with heavy rainfall or large volumes of melting snow.

When basements flood, this can lead to serious water damage to your home and personal property or a moisture problem that leads to mold growth if you do not install plumbing equipment to protect your home in this emergency situation. Sump pumps provide homeowners a means to drain the area when the foundation takes on water. Whether you’re a long-time resident or you’re about to buy a house for the first time, ask yourself this important question – “Do I need a sump pump?”

Thomas & Galbraith walks you through the way a sump pump works and how to know if you need a sump pump installed. Buying and installing sump pumps provides a layer of insurance against a flooded basement or crawlspace that could save you a great deal of money repairing damage and replacing destroyed items that insurance may not cover.

Why Is Flooding Common in Basements and Crawlspaces?

Water level in the soil surrounding your house rises and falls often over the course of a year. When the weather is dry, there is less moisture in the ground; during periods of rainy weather or when the remaining snow rapidly melts come spring, water content can increase drastically. Drainage issues on the property can also cause a backup of water in the ground around the house, like gutter clogs, misdirected downspouts, and storm drain blockages.

Gravity causes water to search out the lowest spot. Because the flat bottom of a basement or crawlspace is below ground level, water can infiltrate the area if the water table is higher than the floor. Cracks in walls and the floor can let water in due to hydrostatic pressure. Without the installation of a pump to drain it, flooding can result.

High groundwater levels aren’t the only cause of flooding in basements and crawlspaces. Plumbing leaks in the home allow water to drain toward the foundation, following the law of gravity. If the foundation is outfitted with a floor drain that connects to a storm sewer, a backup in these pipes can send water back into the basement.

How Sump Pumps Protect a Home

A sump pump is a pump used to remove water from basements and crawlspaces that are below ground. A homeowner has a sump pump installed in the lowest spot of the foundation, as gravity forces any water that comes in to travel to this spot.

Where Is a Sump Pump Placed?

Before the sump pump is installed, installation of a sump pit is necessary. Also referred to as a sump basin, it is an area at the lowest point in the basement or crawlspace that is dug out below the foundation. Why do you need one? Incoming water drains down into the sump basin so it can be collected and removed by the sump pump instead of leaving this moisture to collect at floor level.

For crawlspaces, a sump pit is usually 17 inches wide by 16 inches deep; in basements, the sump pit can be between 18 to 24 inches wide by 22 to 36 inches deep. Installation of the sump pit will benefit you in other ways, as other appliances that produce wastewater can be routed to empty into the basin for removal.

Sump Pump Options

Every sump pump uses a pump to extract water and a motor to operate the pump. There are two basic types of primary sump pumps for installation in a home: a submersible pump and a pedestal pump.

  • When you install a submersible pump, both the motor and pump are housed together in one casing, which sits down inside the sump pit. A submersible pump offers quieter operation and is able to remove greater volumes of water as well as solid matter, but costs more money to repair or replace due to its installation location.

  • If you install a pedestal sump pump, the pump sits down in the sump basin and is connected to the motor, which sits outside of the pit atop a pedestal stand. A pedestal sump pump is easily accessible and offers a longer lifespan than a submersible pump, but cannot handle solids or large volumes of water and could be accidentally damaged more easily.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

When water in the sump pit climbs to a certain level, it activates a float switch or pressure sensor that starts the sump pump. The motor will power the pump as it extracts water, expelling it through the discharge lines that run out of the home. System discharge lines empty water at least 10 to 20 feet away from the house on the property – local construction codes may stipulate specifics for sump pump drain line distance.

Do I Need a Sump Pump?

Before running out and buying one, homeowners need to determine “Do I need a sump pump?” To determine if you need a sump pump, consider the following:

  • If your home or business has a basement or crawlspace, installing a sump pump is a safe bet as flooding is always a possibility in the future. If you’ve never had a problem with moisture or a wet basement before, you’re still not totally free from the risk of flooding, as installation of a sump pump can save your basement and belongings from water damage related to a leak in the house or emergency flash flooding.

  • Homeowners who buy a house with a finished basement or finish it themselves need to have one installed to safeguard this investment. Standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover all types of basement flooding and resulting water damage.

  • If you have a home or business with a crawlspace, this belowground area is potentially susceptible to a moisture problem, which can leave the area wet and humid, resulting in mold damage. Installation of a sump pump can keep this area dry so you avoid such a problem.

  • Certain types of soil drain better than others, so consider the makeup of the earth surrounding your home. Heavy clay and silt content cause slower draining and their small particles can cause water to move low instead of away from the structure, creating the need for a sump pump.

  • The slope of a property can contribute to a basement flood. If the ground slopes toward your house, water will also move toward it; sump pump installation will act as insurance to help keep your basement free of flooding. If the slope angles away from the home, water will move away from it.

How Long Will a Sump Pump Last?

When buying a sump pump, search for a professional and call for installation services to maximize the lifespan of this equipment. Most sump pumps average about 7 to 10 years of useful life, but the actual time your sump pump will last depends on its maintenance and run time over the years. Sump pumps that run more frequently and for extended time periods require replacement sooner due to increased wear and tear.

What Is a Battery Backup Sump Pump and Do I Need One?

Insurance policies do not cover all types of basement flooding, so the addition of an extra sump pump could save you a lot of money and heartache in the event of a disaster. The idea to install a secondary sump pump will offer protection in the event the main sump pump fails.

Battery backup sump pumps are an additional sump pump that activates if the primary pump does not work. Your main sump pump could fail to remove water due to a clog in the discharge line or even a power outage. Because the secondary pump doesn’t use electricity and runs off a dedicated battery, it is able to pump even when the electricity is out in your home – a common occurrence during stormy weather. With correct maintenance and charging, this secondary system will add an extra layer of protection against water damage to your home.

Sump Pump Services in Cincinnati

Avoid a wet basement or crawlspace in your Cincinnati area home with sump pump services from Thomas & Galbraith. Our professionals can help you determine if you need a sump pump or backup sump pump as extra insurance and install it for you. We can also test, maintain, and repair existing sump pumps so your home is well protected. Contact us today to request an appointment.

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