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Do You Need a Sump Pump for a Home in Louisville, KY?

Whether you buy a house that’s new construction or one that’s been standing for years, basements and crawlspaces are common foundation choices for homes in the Louisville area. However, you need to be aware of the possibility of flooding in these areas of the home, which can be weather related, caused by melting snow in the spring, or even a plumbing problem. A property with a wet basement or crawlspace is prone to moisture issues that can lead to water damage and damage caused by mold growth.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover all potential causes of a flood in basements, so this sort of emergency could leave you responsible to come up with the money for repairs and replacing destroyed items. Installation of sump pumps provides a means of protection against a flooded house, but do you know if you need a sump pump? Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing hears this question often from area residents: “do I need a sump pump?” Let our professional plumbers answer this and share what a sump pump system can do for you.

Why Flooding Is a Common Problem in Basements and Crawlspaces

The water table is the level of belowground water, which will rise and fall over time. When the weather is dry, the water level is lower; when the weather brings heavy rains or the seasonal change causes rapid snow melt, groundwater can quickly rise. Outdoor drainage issues can also increase underground water volume around a home, such as when gutters and downspouts are blocked by leaves or storm sewers clogged with debris or are overwhelmed by heavy rains.

A home with a basement or crawlspace has the lowest level sitting below the surface of the ground, which puts it in a position that is vulnerable to flooding. If the water table climbs to a certain level that is above the level of the foundation, water exerts hydrostatic pressure on walls and floors, causing water seepage into the area. Water will always move to the lowest area available due to gravity, which in this case is your basement or crawlspace. When you don’t have a means to remove this water from the space, a flood is highly likely.

Gravity can also lead to a flooded basement or crawlspace when plumbing leaks occur in the house. Water that escapes the pipes will naturally flow downward into the area, and the space will fill if it has no way to drain. Floor drains in the foundation can experience backup if the pipes are damaged or blocked, causing the area to fill with water.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

Sump pumps remove water from low areas like a basement or crawlspace. Homeowners have a sump pump installed at the lowest part of the foundation as this is the area that collects water accumulation due to gravity.

Installing Sump Pits

Instead of allowing water to collect on the floor, a sump pit or basin is dug out below the foundation to provide a space for water to accumulate without causing severe damage to the home. After the sump pit is created, there will be a sump pump installed inside or atop the basin to remove water when it reaches a specified level to protect the area. A sump pit in a crawlspace is usually 17 inches wide by 16 inches deep; the basin for a basement sump pump is between 18 to 24 inches wide by 22 to 36 inches deep.

Types of Sump Pumps for Your Home

A sump pump system includes a pump that removes water, a motor to power the pump, a float or pressure switch which activates the unit, and discharge lines that carry water out of the house. If you need a sump pump, you have two categories of equipment to choose from:

  • A submersible sump pump holds the motor and pump in one unit which is installed within the sump pit – it’s called submersible because the unit sits below the water. The submersible pump is able to remove larger water volumes as well as solid matter, though it typically costs more money to repair or replace due to its location and does not last as long as the alternative option.

  • A pedestal sump pump has a submersible pump installed down in the sump basin with a separate motor that you install on a pedestal above the area. Pedestal sump pumps aren’t able to handle the large water volumes or solids that a submersible pump can, but they do last longer and are less expensive to repair.

How Sump Pumps Mitigate Flooding

As water inside the sump pit hits a certain level, the pressure or float switch activates to start the sump pump. The motor will power the pump to extract water and eject it through the discharge pipe. The discharge line will drain water away from the home elsewhere on the property, usually around 10 to 20 feet away from the house.

Do I Need a Sump Pump?

Homeowners really need to ask, “do I need a sump pump?”, as the answer can deliver an important layer of insurance to protect against water damage and flooding in the home. Not every Louisville area house is in need of a sump pump, but installing sump pumps in certain homes will go a long way toward the prevention of such a problem. Do determine if you need one, consider the following:

  • A home or business building with a basement should always install a sump pump. It doesn’t matter if a wet basement has been an issue in the past or not, as it is always possible for flooding to occur in the future – the risk of water damage in this area is never zero, and emergency situations do occur.

  • When buying a home that has a finished basement or if you are completing the construction in your existing home, install a sump pump to add some insurance for this large investment, as your homeowners insurance policy likely doesn’t cover you for all types of flooding and the resulting damage to your home and personal items – and this can create an expensive problem that will cost you a lot of money out of pocket to fix.

  • For a home or business with a crawlspace foundation, you should install a sump pump to prevent a moisture problem below the house. Standing pools of water can increase humidity and moisture, causing mold to grow throughout the space.

  • The type of soil on the property plays a role in decisions for buying sump pumps. High clay content causes water to drain slowly as well as to the lowest spot instead of out and away from the home. Sandy soiled areas have better drainage thanks to smaller particle size so a sump pump isn’t always a need, depending on other factors.

  • The slope of the land surrounding the home impacts water’s ability to drain. Land that is flat or sloping toward the home allows water runoff to move back toward the structure while land sloping away from the home helps to prevent basement flooding.

How Many Years Will My Sump Pump Last?

When you search out and call for a plumber’s skilled services to ensure your sump pump is installed correctly and receives proper maintenance, these services can help you save your equipment and get the longest lifespan from your pump. The average lifespan of a sump pump is between 7 to 10 years, but usage and maintenance care will impact the actual useful life for the pump. If your sump pump is running often and for long periods of time, wear and tear will take the pump out of service sooner than equipment that is used sparingly.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps – Should I Install One?

As a homeowner, do you know what types of flooding damage your insurance policy will cover? Standard insurance does not cover flooding due to sump pump failure unless you carry a special insurance rider. If your main sump pump fails to work when it is needed, your home could sustain severe water damage to the basement and its contents.

Even if you test your sump pump regularly, there’s still a chance it will not work when you need it to. Sump pumps can fail due to electrical outages and clogs, leaving the basement vulnerable to taking on water. In this situation, the installation of a battery-operated sump pump could save you a great deal of hassle and avoidable expenses.

Battery backup sump pumps are secondary sump pumps installed alongside the primary home sump pump. If for some reason the main sump pump doesn’t turn on when water in the sump pit reaches a set level, the backup sump pump turns on to remove water from your basement floor. The unit’s battery provides a dedicated energy supply so the secondary sump pump is able to operate even when electricity is out at your home. With proper charging and care, this extra sump pump could greatly benefit your family in urgent situations.

Sump Pump Installation and Service in Louisville

For sump pump installation and repair services in the Louisville area, contact Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today. Our professionals provide the installation and other services you need to equip your home with a reliable sump pump and keep it working well throughout the years.

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