The general purpose of a sump pump is to force water to another location. Their most common use is in marine systems, most often to drain bilges of excess water. They are often used to raise a sunken boat. In homes they are used in interior basement waterproofing drainage systems. In these systems water is collected via interior, and sometimes exterior, drainage pipes often situated in or below the basement floor. These pipes drain to a collection well where the sump pump sits. The term for this well, whether it has a pump in it or not is a ‘sump’ (from the German word sumpf, which means swamp). Sumps are otherwise commonly known as a sump wells. A ‘sump pump’ is simply the type of pump designed to be installed in these types of wells.
Types Of Pumps
Submersible Pumps are the type described above that sit in sump wells can operate under water (submersible) and operates via a switch assembly that is operated by a float. It is often these float assemblies that become unsealed take on water and fail to raise and trigger the pump. This simple failure is common and can cause flooding from a sump pit even though the mechanical pumping action is still operational the pump does not engage when the float does not raise. Checking this assembly regularly is always wise if you have a subfloor drainage system.
Pedestal Pumps are the same as submersible but their motor assembly is above the well and water. They still operate using a float. They substantially louder and are what most people think of when they talk about sump pumps being loud.
Floor Sucker Pumps are designed to extract water off of a flat surface: floor, cellar, roof, basement etc. They can collect water to less than 1/8’’ from the surface and are often used to clean up water damage on site or to prep an area for work. Most commonly they have an attachment for a garden hose to discharge the collected water. These are not considered as a waterproofing or drainage system, but for water collection after a flood has occured.
Water Powered Pumps operate using the houses existing plumbing. These still use an internal float system yet has fewer other moving parts to fail. These are not used in interior residential waterproofing systems