How It Works
A sump pump is used to transfer water waste from the
basement to the outdoors. A discharge pipe is connected to a low point in the
basement - usually a drainage point called the “sump” - which carries water up and
out with household current. A one-way check valve on the pipe makes sure that
water never flows down into the basement. Most sump pumps are equipped with
water level alarms to alert you when the pump is not working properly.
What Can Go Wrong?
The most common issue with sump pumps is a lack of power to
the electric motor. This may occur during a power outage, and the pump will
continue operation when power is restored. This temporary loss of power can be
prevented with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
When the sump pump runs infrequently in a moist environment,
float operated control systems can corrode and stop working.
Electrical surges and intake of debris can
overload the unit and cause the motor to fail. In this case, the unit usually
needs to be replaced.
The electric draw of a sump pump depends on several factors:
desired flow rate, size of the sump pump basin to be pumped, size of the
discharge pipe and water pressure at the discharge head. The most common sizes
installed in homes are one third to one half horsepower. A typical sump pump is
rated at about 800 watts (W) when in normal operation with a surge rating of
about 2,000 W. The typical annual energy use is less than a half kilowatt-hour
(kWh), resulting in less than one pound of carbon dioxide (CO2)