Many homeowners seek homes with basements for the extra space they afford, but they also may come with unique problems. Flooding is a common problem with basements, especially in houses built on flat land where rain and snow melt will not run off to lower ground. When the ground around a basement becomes saturated, the water pressure builds, and water will go in the path of least resistance.
If there are any fissures or cracks in foundation floors or walls, it will seep into the basement, requiring a basement sump system. Some areas require that basement sump systems be installed in new construction homes with basements.
A basement sump can be bought at most home improvement stores or from waterproofing contractors in most areas. Depending on the quality of the sump, the prices can be anywhere from about $60 to more than $500. The price of the system depends largely on its strength, with the least expensive models being the weakest. Sump pumps are measured in terms of horsepower, ranging from 1/6 to 1/2 horsepower.
Types of Sump Pumps
Basement sump systems come in pedestal and submersible pump varieties. A submersible pump is popular because it is kept out of sight and is much safer for any children in the house. And being out of sight, they are also out of earshot, which is important if there are much-used living areas in the basement.
Pedestal pumps will last longer than a submersible, and are less expensive. Submersible basement sump systems sit in water a most of the time, shortening their life span to about 5 to 15 years. Pedestals systems can last 25 to 30 years, and are much easier to repair.
The materials that the basement sump is made of will also affect its price. Parts made of cast bronze or stainless steel, and housings made of epoxy-coated cast iron, are the best materials to look for in a sump. Sumps made of sheet metal should be avoided, as they will corrode over time.
Features to Look For
Some basement sump systems come with automatic switches to turn on the pump whenever the basement begins to flood. This can be with through floats, diaphragms, or through other means. This feature is extremely useful if there is a chance that you will not be home when the basement floods.
A manual controlled sump requires someone to switch on the unit in the event of flooding. Automatic switches can save a basement from damage, but it can also prolong the life of the sump in the event of a flood. If a sump is left to run dry, it will burn out completely. An automatic switch will let the sump turn itself off if the flooding has ended.
Another helpful feature is a long power cord length. Because basement sump pumps should not be used extension cords, it is a good idea to get one with a cord that has the amount of length that will be needed. Sumps come with cords as long as 25 feet and as short as 5 feet, so it is best to notice the length of the cord before purchasing the unit.
Also important is the amount of water that the basement sump can move. The amount is measured in gallons per minute or in gallons per hour. The amount of space and capacity for flooding should be considered when choosing a pump rate.