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Know Your Sump Pump Pit

Staying true to our commitment to providing Winnipeg residents with affordable, comprehensive, and high-quality plumbing and heating services, family-owned Shorty’s Plumbing & Heating Inc. employs licensed contractors that have long extended their expertise to the installation, maintenance, and repair of sump pump systems throughout the City of Winnipeg – an integral system for preventing costly damage, as well as health hazards due to water and moisture buildup in homes.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump, in simple terms, is a small pump system installed in the lowest part of your basement, and contained in a specially designed sump pit. Designed to push all water flowing into the pit away from the building, its sole focus is to keep the area under your home dry and to prevent it from flooding during turbulent weather.

Unfortunately for homeowners, it really doesn’t take much water to cause extensive and costly physical damage to your property, including mold growth which impacts more than your wallet. Mould comes with a number of health and breathing hazards – many of which can be fatal to pets and young children. Having a sump pump installed by licensed professionals prevents these completely avoidable risks and consequences.


How Does a Sump Pump Work?

As mentioned above, a sump pump is generally installed within a specialized sump pit – a 90cm X 45cm hole with a gravel base excavated at the lowest point of your basement.

As excess water flows into the pit, the pump switches on and pushes the liquid out of the pit through pipes that direct it to an area where water can drain naturally, away from your foundation. Additionally, these pumps are equipped with one-way check valves to prevent the water from flowing back into the pit through the pipes.

Generally speaking, most sump pumps switch on automatically with the help of either a pressure sensor or a float activator. Both mechanisms are designed to measure water buildup and activate the pump’s centrifugal system when levels reach a certain limit. The centrifugal force caused by the system’s fan-like impeller draws water into the system and then pushes it through the pipes, away from your home.

How Long Does a Sump Pump Last?

Sump pumps last about 10 years. This number can be less if you are using too small a pump for your needs or if there are problems with the arrangement of your pump that lead to added burden on your overall pump system. You need to make sure that you have your sump pump set up correctly so that you can get the maximum usable lifespan from it.

If you are not sure if your sump pump is performing as well as it should be, you should have a tech come and evaluate the placement and condition of your sump pump.

How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?

Assuming that the sump pump is in good condition for max efficiency and offers the right HP, you should expect that your sump pump will run when the water level activates it. This might be 2 – 3 times a day but if you have seasons where the water that you are trying to keep out from under your home or out of your garage is moving in rapidly, it might run more often than this. Your sump pump is not meant to run all day or even many times a day, so you should have water concerns that are causing it to run more frequently looked into.

Where Should a Sump Pump Drain to?

Your sump pump should drain to a discharge point that is at least 10 feet from your foundation but 20 feet is a more optimal distance. The water that you are discharging can reabsorb into the soil and if you have placed your drainage location too close to your home, this might make the water flow right back into your basement or under your home.

How do I know if I Need to Replace my Sump Pump?

There are some recognizable signs that your sump pump is failing and you will be able to tell that these conditions are present almost immediately.

  • Vibrating excessively
  • Irregular cycling on and off
  • 7 years or older
  • Rust
  • Runs all the time
  • Making loud noises

All of these symptoms can indicate a pump that is about to fail and you might notice that your sump pump shows all or more than one of these at the same time. This is an item that does a hard job in wet conditions, and there can be a set shelf life for this kind of pump, particularly if it is not used frequently.

If you do not have a backup sump, this can be an issue for you when yours breaks down.

Call Us for All Sump Pump Installations & Info for the Winnipeg Area

For more information regarding the installation of sump pumps, or to schedule an evaluation and estimate, contact the licensed experts at Shorty’s Plumbing & Heating Inc. today!


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