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How does a sump pump work?

What is a sump pump? Knowing that could be the difference between mitigating flooding in your building and having to deal with thousands of dollars in water damage. As you learn about the importance of a sump pump, we here at NexLvl Services will show how a sump pump generally works, the different types of sump pumps available, and what to be aware of when utilizing your sump pump.

What is a Sump Pump?

To know what a sump pump is, you first have to know what a sump basin is. A sump basin is typically found in one’s basement or beneath the home, and is designed to house the sump pumps. When water rises to a certain level, the sump pumps channel that water away from the home, thereby preventing water damage or flooding. 

Sump pumps were first created in 1946 and became a mandatory part of homes with the Federal Clean Water Act in 1987. As such, if you have a newer home, you have a sump pump — even if you weren’t aware of it before.

While sump pumps are mainly used for flooding, a concept that seems unnecessary in a place as dry as Arizona, sump pumps are also incredibly useful if pipes in your home happen to burst as well, as sump pumps help to mitigate the following water damage out of the home.

How Does A Sump Pump Work?

When groundwater begins to gather, it flows through a drain pipe into the sump basin. Once the water activates your sump pump’s alarm (either a pressure sensor or a float activor alarm) the sump pump takes the accumulated water and sends it out of discharge pipes. While most sump pumps are wired into the home’s electrical system, there are a few that operate as AC-powered or even water-powered, so check to see what’s the case for your current sump pump. If you’re curious about whether this is the best option for you, check to see what the water charges for your community are and call NexLvl Services for a general guide on what would be right for you.

What Kinds of Sump Pumps Are There?

There are two main types of sump pumps you can invest in: submersible sump pumps and pedestal sump pumps. As the names imply, a submersible sump pump are completely hidden underneath the sump basin, and as such are out of sight; a pedestal sump pump is mounted above the sump basin as its motor isn’t designed to get wet. 

Regarding the pros and cons of both, a submersible sump pump has more aesthetic appeal than a pedestal sump pump. However, experts tend to agree that a pedestal sump pump is easier to maintain than a submersible and easier to install as well. This is part of the reason why a pedestal sump pump costs around $60 to $170 on average, while a submersible costs around $100 to $400 on average. Furthermore, the lifespan of a pedestal sump pump is better as well, lasting around 30 years, while a submersible sump pump typically lasts around five to ten years. 

General Sump Pump Maintenance

A sump pump should only run when there’s flood water to divert away from the home. As such, if you find that your sump pump is running continuously, this could be the result of several factors, ranging from a dirty sump pit to a clogged drain line — if you suspect this is the reason, first turn off your sump pump’s power supply before checking. Overflowing washing machines, dishwashers and burst pipes can also be to blame. If you’re not sure what the problem is, first turn off your sump pump’s power supply and then call a consultant. NexLvl can either guide you through finding the problem via phone call or send an expert out to diagnose the problem for you.

While Arizona doesn’t have much rain, monsoon season can send a year’s worth of rain right to your doorstep. If your sump pump isn’t working properly at that time, that’s a problem that will potentially be costing your house thousands of dollars in water damage. As such, check to make sure that your sump pump is working properly. If not, here’s some tips to keep in mind to ensure both you and your sump pump are prepared:

  • Switch off your sump pump’s power supply and check the activator alarm to see if it’s broken
  • Remove any potential debris that has been caught in the sump pump
  • Check the circuit breaker to see if it’s broken

If you find that none of this is working, it may be time for a new activation alarm, or even a new sump pump altogether. If you’re not sure though, contact a plumbing professional to help you make the call regarding what the best course of action to take is. And keep in mind that even if there aren’t issues with your sump pump, it’s not a bad idea to do a general cleaning every few months to keep your sump pump in working order. By taking preventative measures now, you can save yourself a world of headaches in the long run.


Sump pumps are a valuable addition to a well-maintained home and as such, in order to ensure they can properly do their job, must be properly maintained. It’s important to ensure that your sump pump is working properly, as that could mean the difference between you having to deal with a minor inconvenience or a house full of water and water damage repairs. As you decide whether a pedestal or submersible sump pump is right for your home, consider what you value most — whether that be aesthetic appeal, easy maintenance, longevity or price friendliness. If you’re still not sure what sort of sump pump would be best for your home, or what sort of energy your sump pump should run on, feel free to call NexLvl Services for a consultation regarding what sort of sump pump would be best for your home.

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