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A Quick Look at Sump Pumps

Published by 911 Restoration Portland on April 4, 2014 in category: Water Damage Restoration with tags:

Sump pumps are devices installed in basements or crawlspaces to keep the area dry. If you’ve never stood in water in your basement, you probably don’t need a sump pump. But if your property experiences floods, has a musty odor or consistently has a damp feel, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with sump pumps. If you have any of these issues but no sump pump, I’m here to give you a quick lesson.

Water could be seeping into your house through a leaking water pipe, through a shower, toilet or bathtub, or through unseen gaps around doors and windows. Indoor humidity is the result of day-to-day routines like cooking, drying clothes and showering. These conditions are a threat to the property’s foundation. It leads to bacteria, mildew, mold and other unwanted biological growth. Over time, floods, water leaks and humidity will produce structural damage, rot, paint failure and a range of health issues.

If you have a sump pump, you already know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, it’s unlikely you’re experiencing any of this. One way to find out for sure is to tape a two foot square piece of plastic to any surface in your basement. Let it sit there for a couple of days. You should probably do this in several places, just to get good results. After the period has passed, check the side attached to the surface. If it’s wet, I think it’s time to look at a sump pump.

Let’s look at some of your options.

Manual or Automatic

Manual is obviously the more affordable choice. But if you prefer spending a little less time operating the device, go for the automatic.


Save yourself some money and only go with a powerful device if you have serious flooding. For the majority of moisture issues, a low horsepower should do the job. The best way to find out is to have a consultation with a plumbing expert.

Head pressure is the height the sump pump can raise water. Depending on the severity of your flooding, you want a device that can perform this action sufficiently. Again, a plumber or home improvement pro can help with this.

Cord Length

It’s not effective to use extension cords or power supplies with sump pumps. You want to plug it directly into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet. Make sure your cord can reach an outlet because where you place the device is more important than whether it’s near an outlet.


Sump pumps run on standard 110 watts. There are more powerful ones for industrial purposes.

Where the sump pump ends up is going to be determined by your problem area. Where you’re finding the development of mold or perhaps there’s heavy spotting in the ceiling below the bathroom can be factors.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to speak with an experienced plumber or home improvement pro that knows sump pumps. Otherwise you could end up wasting a lot of money or not helping the problem at all.

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