A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a sump pit. The sump pit is typically in the basement of the home or building and is simply a hole at the lowest point in the basement to collect water. The water may enter via the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system which have been designed to channel water into the sump pit, or the water may be present due to rain or because of natural ground water, if the basement is below the water table level.
Sump pumps are installed particularly where basement flooding is seen as a problem, but are also used to reduce dampness where the water table may rise to be above the foundation of a home. Sump pumps send water away from a house to any place where it no longer presents a problem, such as a municipal storm drain or a dry well. Older properties may have their sump pumps connected to the sanitary sewer, but this is not best practice now and should be avoided because it can overwhelm the municipal sewage treatment system.
Sump pumps are usually hardwired into a home’s electrical system, and may even have a battery backup. Some even use the home’s pressurized water supply to power the pump, eliminating the need for electricity. Since a sump pit may overflow if not constantly pumped, a backup system is important for cases when the main power is out for prolonged periods of time.