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Basement Waterproofing: Why Your Home Needs a Sump Pump

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Bathroom Renovation

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 @ 4:55pm

Should Your Basement Have A Sump Pump?

A flooded basement is a huge pain – not to mention a potential insurance nightmare. You want to prevent being caught off guard by a flooded basement. I always say your home’s #1 enemy is water. A strong roof and a proper drainage strategy are the best ways to prevent flooding. That means having gutters, eavestroughs, and proper landscaping to promote water running away from the home. Another handy tool is a sump pump.

Here’s everything you need to know about sump pumps and if you need to get one installed.


What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a small, mechanized water pump located in a lined hole called a sump pit. When the water level in the sump pit reaches a certain height, the sump pump turns on automatically and expels the water. When the water level drops far enough, the pump turns off.

The sump pump’s job is to remove excess water from your home.


If you have a wet basement, installing a sump pump can protect your home and give you peace of mind.


How Do You Know If You Need a Sump Pump?

If your home is prone to basement flooding, installing a sump pump will help stop flooding and protect your home from future flooding. Also, with our weather patterns becoming more extreme – it’s a good preventative tool too!

If you’ve experienced any of the below scenarios you might want to consider getting a pump installed:

  1. If you’ve experienced at least one incident of flooding in your basement
  2. If your home is built on flat ground with poor drainage or soil, or your home is below the local water table.
  3. If you live in a region that has large quantities of frequent rain and/or snow.
  4. If you’ve just renovated your basement – you want to protect it against water damage.
  5. If you have a sump pump that is nearing the end of its life (about 10 years) – you may want to replace it


How Does A Sump Pump protect my home?

It’s a small device with a pretty big job – to pump water away from your home, where it can’t do any damage. It will take any excessive below-grade water and help pump it away from your foundation.

Not every home will have one, but in areas with a lot of moisture or a high water table, they can save a homeowner from a big flood.


If you do have a sump pump, it is most likely in your basement or crawl space.


Tip: The water table is the upper level of an underground surface where the soil is permanently saturated with water.


It requires some form of power to run, so in the case, a storm knocks out the power, you’ll need some kind of battery backup. Your sump pump should also include an alert system so that if it stops running suddenly, you’ll get a notification on your phone.


How Does A Sump Pump Work?

Sump pumps gather excess water in your home into a ditch (also known as a sump pit) that has been installed in your basement floor. Once the water hits a certain level, the sump pump will automatically get rid of the water by transferring it out of your home into a local sewer drain. 



Experienced a basement flooding? Here is what to do after a flood

Here are some flood safety tips



How Often Do You Need To Maintain It?

Most homeowners won’t know they have an issue with their sump pump until they notice water in their basements. If you know there’s a major storm coming, having a licensed plumber come check it’s working properly may be a good idea.

You should be checking your sump pump every year.

Inspect your sump pit for any debris that can affect the functionality of the pump. Then test it by dumping a few gallons of water into the pit.

Types of Sump Pumps:


Submersible pumps contain the pump and motor in one unit. They sit submerged and closed inside a basin in your basement.

Pedestal Pumps

This type has a separate motor and pump. The motor sits on a pedestal above the basin, and a hose runs to the basin where the pump is placed. The pump sends water through the hose and out to your designated drain area. 

Battery-Operated Back Up

I recommend getting a battery backup sump pump system with smart wi-fi capabilities. I’m a big fan of smart devices, and a system that can instantly alert you if there is an issue or maintenance required-I love that.


Here’s a video on what to look for when adding a sump pit from Holmes Approved Builder, Generations Master Builder.


Why Does Sump Pump Fail?

A lot of failures result from incorrect installation. The money you are trying to save by installing it yourself is not worth the cost of a basement flooding. Always hire a professional for routine sump pump maintenance, sump pump installation, sump pump replacement and emergency sump pump repair.

Another common reason is simply lifespan. Unfortunately, they don’t last forever; it depends on the frequency of use, but they typically last 10 years or so.



The Complete Home Maintenance Checklist


Hopefully, your sump pump includes its own battery backup, but to be safe I’d want to guarantee it’s working, with the added security a backup generator provides.



Here are the most common mistakes I see in basement renovations.

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