Cellar flooding is a homeowner's nightmare. It can cause severe damage to your property, destroy your belongings and lead to costly repairs. Moreover, water leak into your basement will lead to mould and mildew, negatively affecting your health.
There are numerous risks associated with basement flooding, so taking preventative measures to protect your home and loved ones is crucial.
A prime example of this is the terrible downpours of Cyclone Bernd that hit the two German federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in July 2021, causing severe river flooding. It was the most devastating natural disaster in the last 80 years, and the flooding affected thousands of buildings.
A suitable basement drainage pump and system must be created to prevent basement flooding. One such solution is to install a sump pump.
In this article, we will talk about what sump pumps are, their role in preventing basement disasters, what types of pumps exist and how to choose the right one for your needs.
What causes a flood?
If your cellar lacks adequate exterior sealing, then rainwater or ground water leaks into your basement. Without any draining wells, a vat pump system or any form of basement drainage pump system, the basement will flood.
What are sump pumps and their role in preventing basement disasters
A drainage sump pump is a device that helps remove water that has accumulated in your basement or cellar. Its primary function is to quickly pump water from the lowest point of your home to the nearest drainage point or sump, preventing water build-up and subsequent flooding. Sump Pumps are crucial in avoiding disasters by keeping your basement dry.
Submersible dewatering pumps are a critical component of any home basement waterproofing system. They work with other measures, such as proper basement design, foundation and landscaping around your home. In doing so, gutters and downspouts provide external water drainage from your home's foundation. By preventing water accumulation, drainage dewatering pumps protect your home after a flood from the inside.
These exterior and interior measures aim to avoid costly rain, floodwater damage, and potential health risks from mould and mildew.
Types of drainage pumps and their main characteristics: Submersible and pedestal pumps
There are two basic types of basement pumps: the submersible sump pumps and the pedestal pumps. These pump systems have advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss.
Submersible pumps are designed to be completely submerged in water. They are installed in a caisson, usually mounted at the lowest point of the basement floor. The pump motor is encased in this watertight casing, containing a mechanical seal, to prevent water from entering and damaging the motor.
The engine is effectively cooled. Submersible pumps on a cable are usually quieter and more efficient than their counterparts mounted on legs.
We recommend the SP/SPV series for the basement. This includes popular pumps in increasing power like SP80 and SP100:
They also have standing versions ideal for cisterns:
One of the main advantages of submersible pumps is their handling of clean and dirty water. This makes them an excellent choice for basements prone to flooding from various sources, such as groundwater, seepage water, or surface water intrusion.
In addition, submersible pumps have a longer life due to their sealed design, which protects the motor from moisture and debris.
Pedestal Sump Pumps
On the other hand, Pedestal pumps have a motor mounted above the water level. They are not designed to be submerged in water; the motor is coaxially connected to the pump's hose.
Pedestal sump pumps are usually less expensive than submersible pumps but are noisier and less efficient.
One of the advantages of pedestal pumps is that they are easy to access for maintenance and repair. Because the motor is located above the water level, it is less likely to be damaged by water or debris.
It is important to note that pedestal pumps are not as effective at handling dirty rainwater or large debris. This can lead to clogging and reduced performance of the unit.
As pedestal pumps need to pump the water from a sump pit, they must be self-priming.
Remember, only a bucket could save your situation if you don't have a water pump.
How a submersible pump protects against water flooding
Depending on the degree of automation, the basement drainage pumps protect against flooding in automatic or manual mode by removing excess water from the basement, cellar or cellar room drains.
When the water level in the storage pit reaches a certain point, the automatic submersible pump activates and begins pumping water out. The water is then diverted from the house's foundation into a drainage system or a special sump tank for drainage water. As a rule, the accumulated water is further used for irrigation, for example, for garden sprinkling.
By controlling the water level in your basement, sump pumps help prevent damage caused by dirty water flooding. This includes damage to your home's structure, such as cracks or weakening of the foundation, and damage to personal belongings stored in the basement.
Pumps for sumps also help prevent mould and mildew growth by reducing overall moisture levels in the basement. Mould and fungus thrive in humid environments, and their presence can lead to various health problems, including respiratory problems and allergic reactions.
How to install a sump pump?
The effectiveness of a sump pump depends mainly on proper installation. An improperly installed pump may not work correctly, leaving a vital part of your basement vulnerable to flooding and water damage.
To provide the best protection, it is essential to follow these steps:
Choose the right location. The sump pump should be installed in the lowest part of the basement, where water is most likely to accumulate. This is usually closer to the centre of the floor, away from walls and obstructions.
Sump chamber. Dig a cesspool (caisson) and reinforce its walls and floor (preferably with a concrete or metal box). Water should be diverted to a designated area such as a dry well, reservoir, drain or pond. See illustration.
Install the drain pump. Place the pump in the pit and connect it to the discharge pipe. The discharge pipes should face away from the foundation of your house and toward the designated drainage location.
Test the sump pump. Fill the pit with water and verify that the pump effectively responds and removes water from the pit. Make adjustments to the pump float switch settings to ensure optimal performance.
Seal the sump. Cover the sump with a lid to prevent waste from entering the sump and clogging the pump. A lid with an external seal will also help reduce noise and prevent odours from escaping.
This area should be large enough to accommodate a sump pump and provide enough room to collect water. The pit should be at least 60 cm deep and 50 cm in diameter.
How to choose the right pump for your basement?
There are several factors to consider when choosing the right pump for your home's basement, including the type of pump, the size, and the frequency of flooding.
Here are some key considerations:
Pump Type: As discussed earlier, submersible and pedestal mine pumps have advantages and disadvantages. Choose the type of pump that best suits your needs.
Size: The size of the submersible pump should be based on the size of your basement and the amount of water it needs to pump. Extensive cellars or basements with frequent flooding may require a pump with a larger capacity.
The automatic pump is compared to the manual pump. A mechanical pump has a float switch that activates the pump when the water level in the sump reaches the nearest drain point, whereas manual pumps require manual activation. Automatic pumps tend to be more convenient and reliable.
Head (m): This characteristic refers to the vertical distance you have to pump the water to reach the discharge point. Consider the head requirements of your particular situation when selecting a sump pump.
Backup System: Consider installing a backup sump pump system in case of a power outage or pump failure. Backup systems can be battery- or water-powered and provide additional protection.
Quality: A high-quality pump from a European or Japanese manufacturer for a cesspool will be more reliable and last longer than a cheap, low-quality pump from an unknown brand in Asia. Look for pumps from reputable manufacturers and with a good warranty.
Cost: A basement pump typically costs between €100 and €450. The cost depends on the capacity and flow rate, with prices from €500 and above for commercial basement pumps. For example, the price of the automatic drainage pump Foras (Italy) series SP80G is in the low range. A pump with a higher flow rate, such as Foras DR100G, costs from mid-range.
Even with proper installation and maintenance, problems can occasionally occur with your existing pump.
Here are some common issues and tips for fixing them:
Clogging: Sump pumps can become clogged with debris, reducing performance. Clean the sump and unit regularly to prevent clogging.
Float Switch Problems: A faulty float switch can prevent the sump pump from starting. Check the switch and make sure it is working correctly.
Power failures: Sump pumps depend on electricity. Consider installing a battery backup system to provide continuous operation during power outages.
Frequent cycling: If your sump pump cycles intermittently, it may not function correctly. This could indicate that the pump is too small for your needs or that there is a problem with the float switch.
Motor failure: Motors can wear out over time and require replacement. Regular maintenance will help extend the life of the pump motor.
Continuous operation: If the water pump runs constantly, even when no water is present, this may be a sign that the pump is not working correctly. This may be caused by a faulty float switch or a problem with the pump motor.
Noisy operation: Although some noise is normal during operation, excessive or strange noises may indicate a problem with the motor or pump impeller.
You need to know where to find spare parts. For Foras, you can find spare parts for all sump pumps:
Like any mechanical device, sump pumps can experience wear and tear or become damaged over time.
The average life span of a sump pump is about 10 years. If your pump is approaching this age or older, it may be time to consider replacing it.
Additional waterproofing systems
While a submersible pump is essential to any basement waterproofing system, it is not the only solution.
Here are some additional steps you can take to supplement your unit and prevent basement floor-level flooding:
Suitable Landscape Design: Make sure the ground level around your home has a slope away from the foundation, directing flood water away from the house.
Gutters and downspouts: Regularly clean and maintain your gutters and downspouts so they work correctly and drain flood water away from your home.
Repair cracks: Seal any gaps in the foundation and waterproof it to prevent water from seeping through.
Internal basement drainage system: Install an interior drainage system, such as a French drain, to divert water from the basement.
Exterior waterproofing: Take steps to exterior waterproofing, such as installing a waterproofing membrane or applying a sealant to the foundation.
Protect your basement from water damage with a reliable dewatering pump system. If you take the necessary precautions, you can protect your basement from water damage and enjoy peace of mind knowing your home is protected.