When people write about waterproofing basements or crawl spaces, they have a tendency to focus on the type of water drainage they use. There’s a lot of conversation about the drainage design, how it filters out dirt and debris, where it should be placed inside the home, what it costs per foot…. There aren’t many words dedicated to the sump pump.
But a water drainage system is largely useless if you don’t have a functional sump pump. This little appliance is the workhorse in the waterproofing equation; all of the water in the system gets sent to the pump. It’s the sump pump that actually expels water out of your home, through a discharge line. You can have the best drainage system in the world, but if the sump pump stops working- you’re going to have an “indoor pool” the next time it rains.
Acculevel has been repairing foundations and waterproofing homes since we first opened our doors in 1996. We’ve helped more than 35,000 homeowners achieve their goals, providing them with whole-home solutions that protect and preserve their homes for years to come.
In this article, we’re going to answer the questions about sump pumps that we hear the most often. Because there are a wide variety of pumps on the market, these answers are specific to the models that Acculevel installs for customers.
Do You Need an Electrical Outlet for Your Sump Pump?
Yes, you will need to plug in both the sump pump and the charger for the battery back-up. The sump pump uses a standard three prong cord and can be plugged into the nearest 110 volt outlet.
Unfortunately, the battery backup (like chargers for many electronic devices) is large enough to block the use of the second receptacle in the outlet. So you’ll need to plug the back-up into a different outlet. Please do not plug either item into an extension cord.
You’ll need two of these, to operate your sump pump.
If your crawl space doesn’t have electrical outlets in it, or there isn’t a second outlet close enough in your basement, you’ll need to hire an electrician. Acculevel does not have an electrician on our staff. We recommend checking with your local HOA, electric company, or homebuilder’s association for good references.
How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?
The longevity of any appliance is going to be somewhat dependent on how often it is used. But the sump pumps Acculevel installs include a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty. We will service any sump pump that we install. This allows you to avoid the stress and frustration of sending the appliance to the manufacturer and waiting for a repair/replacement.
How Long Will the Battery Back-up run on a single charge?
Again, this is going to vary on usage. A single charge of the battery back-up can last up to 24 hours, depending on how frequently it needs to run. If your power is out for an extensive period of time and the sump pump is working non-stop, it will drain the battery faster.
Bonus Question: Why Does Acculevel Always Install a Battery Back-up?
If you’re new to the Midwest, you may wonder why we would insist on installing a sump pump that includes a battery back-up. The back-up is a practical way to provide our customers with peace of mind.
The number one cause of power outages in our area is thunderstorms. These come with lightning and strong winds, which are threats to power lines and generators. Thunderstorms also bring in heavy rain. So a weather event that is most likely to cause power outages is also highly likely to require the use of your water drainage and sump pump.
If you have a power outage and don’t have a backup generator to run the sump pump? You’re going to have a wet basement or crawl space. By providing every customer with a battery back-up, we ensure that during a major storm you can focus on your family’s safety, not the sump pump.
What Size is the Sump Pump Pit?
We install a heavy duty polyethylene pit that is 21.5” deep and 18” in diameter. It can hold approximately 20 gallons (less the capacity of the pump). There’s no additional cost to you; it’s part of the system we install.
Even if you have a pit currently on site, we will install ours. Our sump pumps are specially designed with non-clogging materials to improve water flow; for this system to operate properly, it has to use the corresponding pit. In fact, we may not even install the new sump pump in the same location as your old one. We want to be certain that the pump is in the best possible location, and that it’s sufficiently large enough for the pump we install.
This photo was taken by an Acculevel crew member, after installing water drainage and a sump pump system in a customer’s basement.
Does a Sump Pump Require Regular Maintenance?
A sump pump is an essential piece of equipment, and like all machines, should be checked periodically. You can do this yourself, if you’re the DIY type of homeowner; we’ve developed a checklist to help you inspect your own foundation.
If you’re not the DIY type, or you’d prefer to have your home maintenance done professionally, you can sign up for our Home Inspection Program (HIP). For $149/year, we will check and clean the sump pump, the pit, and the battery back-up. We will also test the high water alarm, replace the battery in the alarm if needed, verify the discharge line is clear and working, etc.
Do you have a sump pump, but you’re not sure if it’s working efficiently? We walk you through how to perform a basic test.
Is your sump pump making an odd noise, and you’re wondering what it could mean? We explain the most common sounds a homeowner can expect to hear.
Winters get very cold (below zero) in Indiana (and the rest of our service area). You should make sure your discharge line is properly set up to prevent it from freezing.
Want to Learn More about Water Drainage Systems?
We have written topic-specific homeowner guides, to address all of the questions we receive from customers about their homes. You can access these from our overhead menu under Services, or you can clink on the appropriate link below!
Do You Need an In-Home Assessment?
Our service area covers Indiana and parts of the surrounding states. You can call us at 866-669-3349 and speak with one of our friendly call center representatives. If you prefer electronic communication, you can complete our online form.
We’ll schedule an appointment with one of our foundation experts, and they’ll come to your home to perform a thorough assessment. Our goal is to provide you with a whole-home solution that not only addresses your current needs, but also protects your home against future concerns.
If you don’t live in our service area, please verify that the contractor you hire is reputable, insured, and accredited with the Better Business Bureau. We also have a checklist of Questions to Ask a Contractor, which you are welcome to use while meeting with potential repair companies.