Greenwood Plumbing & Heating

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A Guide to Sump Pumps

Many homeowners are quick to invest thousands into a new TV or expensive furniture.  Why is it then that when choosing a sump pump, many people tend to reach for the cheapest they can find?  A sump pump can be the most important appliance in a home that needs and utilizes it.  Learn how a functioning sump pump can save your home, and your hard-earned possessions from the adverse effects of water.

How do they work?

A pit, also known as a “sump trench” can be dug at the lowest part of your basement floor to capture and contain any flowing water.  Your sump pump sits at the bottom of this trench sensing the rising and falling of the water levels; the pump will activate and deactivate depending on these levels.  Sump pumps function to expel water through a series of pipes to a suitable discharge point outside of your home.


Sump pumps, especially those that run constantly, must be kept clean of debris. An inlet screen, when cleaned regularly, will prevent the passage of dirt and solid material from entering the pump.

Pumps can be tested by pouring water into the pit to make sure it becomes activated and expels water.  If your sump pump does not activate during this test- give a professional a call!

Warning: Never reach into the pit when testing the sump pump!

Things Inspectors Will Check For

  1. The ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault. There is considerable debate concerning whether or not a sump pump should be connected to a GFCI. Benefits of GFCIs ensure that electrocution could not occur, however it is unlikely that a sump would become energized in water in the first place.  A nuisance trip resulting in the deactivation of a sump pump during a time when it is needed could be catastrophic for a home.


  1. An alarm: Sump pumps malfunction in a variety of other ways. It is valuable to have a warning device installed that will signal water build-up. These alarms can also alert homeowners or neighbors of flooding so that it can be resolved before water damage occurs.


  1. A backup power source: Power outages are most likely to happen during heavy rains and floods, which are situations when the sump pump is most needed. A pump powered by a battery or the home’s water pressure can be installed as a backup.


  1. That the pit that is large enough for the pump: For most homes, the sump pit should not be less than 24 inches deep and 18 inches wide. One of the most common reasons why sump pumps fail is that the float gets jammed between the pump and the pit because the pit is too cramped.


Know When to Call A Professional

 An appliance as important as a sump pump is best left in the hands of a professional.  Luckily for you, the professionals at Greenwood Plumbing and Heating are here for you 24/7! Call: 401-738-9245 or book an appointment online:

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