What Is A Sump Pump?

What is a Sump Pump? - Image 1

As a homeowner, you've probably heard of a sump pump, but do you know what it does and why it's important? Whether you've experienced basement flooding or are just looking to prevent any potential water damage, understanding the role of a sump pump is a great place to start. Let's dive into the basics of a sump pump, how they work, what they do, and why they're a valuable addition to your home. 

What is a sump pump, and what does it do?

Hands on a discharge line of a sump pump

A sump pump is a cylindrical device in your basement or crawlspace. Water collects due to heavy rainfall or rising groundwater levels, and when the water reaches the top, the sump pump turns on to remove the excess water.

Simply put, sump pumps prevent basements and crawl spaces from flooding. Water can get into your home in several ways, but you probably notice it the most after it rains. Your sump pump removing the excess water plays a significant role in keeping your home safe from water damage, foundation damage, and mold growth.

Sump Pump Benefits

  • Prevents basement and crawlspace flooding
  • Protects basement walls from staining and water damage
  • Increases property value
  • Protects home against mold and mildew growth
  • Prevents termite and insect infestations

How does a sump pump work?

A sump pump works the opposite of the float in the tank of your toilet. When the float reaches a certain level in a toilet, it stops the water flow. With a sump pump, when the water level rises to a set point, the float switch kicks on and activates the pump to start pumping out the water. But where does the water go? It's important to keep in mind we don't want this water to find its way back into your basement. The water gets pushed out of a discharge line connected from the pump to a basin in your yard at a safe distance from your home.

Anatomy of a sump pump

How do I know if I need to replace my sump pump?

Like any mechanical device, sump pumps have a lifespan on them. The quality of your pump matters, too; higher quality pumps last longer and can withstand all the unpredictable weather. Submersible pumps have an average life span of 5-7 years, and while some homeowners are proactive and get them replaced every 5 years, others wait until they see signs of failure. Seeing minor signs of failure can indicate it is time for you to get a replacement. 

Signs of Sump Pump Failure

  • Oil on top of the water in the pit
  • Loose float switch
  • Slow discharge from the pump
  • Noisier pump
  • Constantly running
  • Clogged air vent

What sump pump do I need?

There are two main types of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible.

Pedestal sump pumps are the easiest to install and maintain since they sit on the floor of your crawlspace or basement.

Submersible pumps, as the name suggests, are submerged into the ground, typically placed in a carved-out pit in the concrete of your basement floor. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so let's dive into them:

Pros and cons list
Pros and cons list

After weighing the pros and cons, we stand behind submersible sump pumps as the best choice. At Thrasher, we recommend these pumps because they can handle unpredictable Midwest weather better. They're stronger than pedestal pumps and can handle heavy rain and debris during storms. Plus, our Thrasher submersible pumps come with a battery backup in case of power outages or pump problems.


Thrasher submersible sump pump benefits

Thrasher Submersible TripleSafe Sump Pump with Backup Battery

Thrasher Submersible TripleSafe Sump Pump with Backup Battery

Our sump pumps offer several key features that set them apart from those found in big box stores.

  • WaterWatch Alarm This alarm notifies you if the water level in your pump rises beyond the point where it should turn on.
  • SuperLiner Sump Liner Our perfectly sized liner ensures the sump pump is working properly without turning on and off repeatedly.
  • Airtight Sump Lid Preventing humidity and debris from entering, this airtight lid helps maintain a clean and odor-free environment.
  • CleanPump Stands Silt and sediment naturally settle to the bottom; our pump stands to lift the pump up to preserve the pump functionality over time.
  • IceGuard Discharge Line Designed to prevent freezing during cold weather, the IceGuard discharge line ensures continuous operation, even in freezing conditions.


And hey, nice to meet you! We're Thrasher Foundation Repair, a foundation and basement contractor with almost 50 years of experience. When it comes to basements, we've know what to do. If you happen to be in our service area, we’re here to help with any sump pump questions, water intrusion issues, or even just chatting about life – we’re up for that, too. You can reach out to us by calling us at 1-800-827-0702, filling out this form, or starting a chat in the bottom right-hand corner.

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