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Illustration of a sump pump working in a basement

What is a Sump Pump? Your Ultimate Guide to Dry Basements

Ever found yourself pondering, “What is a sump pump and how does it work?” If you’re in an area prone to flooding or have a basement at risk of water damage, this is a crucial question. 

In this informative guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of sump pumps, their operation, and their key role in protecting your home.

Unveiling the Sump Pump

A sump pump is an indispensable device typically installed in your home’s lowest point, often the basement or a crawlspace. 

Its primary job is to keep these areas dry and prevent potential flooding. Understanding the value of a sump pump is easy if you’ve ever had to deal with a water-logged basement. 

The Operation of Sump Pumps

The working mechanism of a sump pump is quite straightforward:

  • Water Collection: The sump pump is positioned in a specifically designed sump pit. From here, it accumulates excess water from your home’s foundation. This water could originate from rainfall, melting snow, or other sources.
  • Activation: As the water level in the sump pit rises, it triggers a float switch on the pump. This switch activates the pump once the water reaches a particular level.
  • Pumping: Upon activation, the sump pump starts pumping water from the sump pit, facilitated by an electric motor that drives an impeller, creating force to push the water out.
  • Discharge: The pumped water is expelled through a pipe leading away from your home. This pipe comes equipped with a check valve that prevents water from flowing back into the pit.

Sump pumps are available in two types: submersible and pedestal

A submersible pump operates while fully immersed in the sump pit water. While a pedestal pump’s motor is positioned above the pit, with only the pump component in the water. 

Each type has its advantages. For instance, submersible pumps are quieter and out of sight. Wheras pedestal pumps are easier to service and typically have a longer lifespan.

The Indispensability of a Sump Pump

Now you know what a sump pump is and how it operates. But when is it necessary to have one? Some key scenarios include:

  • Experiencing more than one instance of basement flooding.
  • Living in areas with heavy rainfall or snowfall.
  • Storing valuable items in the basement susceptible to water damage.
  • Preparing to sell your home. A sump pump can add value and assure potential buyers of a flood-protected basement.

Placement and Installation of Sump Pumps

Typically, you install sump pumps at the lowest point in your house, within a sump pit. This pit, measuring about two feet deep and eighteen inches in diameter, is designed to collect water.

The size can vary depending on your house’s specific needs. Installation involves digging the sump pit, placing the pump, and connecting a discharge pipe to lead water away from your home. 

Best leave the installation to professional plumbers. This is largely because of the technical challenges and the potential hazards that can arise from an incorrect installation.

Sustaining Your Sump Pump

Regular maintenance is key to the longevity of your sump pump. This involves routine checks, cleaning of the sump pit, and ensuring the discharge line is clear and directing water away from the house. 

Having a backup power source like a battery or generator is crucial during power outages. Especially in a storm when the pump’s functionality is critical.


Understanding what a sump pump is and how it operates is pivotal in protecting your home from water damage. 

If your location or house structure puts you at risk of flooding, investing in a sump pump can provide peace of mind. 

Keep in mind, owning a sump pump isn’t enough; you must also ensure its proper installation and regular maintenance.

Sump Pump Services with True Service Plumbing

Preserve your home’s integrity and prevent basement flooding with True Service Plumbing’s expert sump pump services. Our team of licensed professionals can assist with all aspects from installation to maintenance and repairs.

Considering installing a sump pump in your Toronto home or business? Or perhaps your existing sump pump is not functioning optimally? 

Our team is ready to diagnose the issue and provide a solution to ensure your basement remains dry and safe.

Whether it’s choosing between a submersible or pedestal sump pump, understanding maintenance needs, or dealing with emergency repairs, True Service Plumbing is your trusted partner.

Don’t let the risk of a flooded basement cause you unnecessary stress. Contact True Service Plumbing today and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a well-protected home or business.

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