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Ask a Portland Plumber: How Do Sump Pumps Work?

Sump pump installation in Portland

Keep Your Basement From Flooding with a Sump Pump

The primary function of a sump pump is to keep your basement or crawlspace dry and prevent flooding.  In the event that water flows to the sump pump via drains or natural migration, a properly functioning sump pump moves that water safely away from the building or structure it supports.

Why This Matters for Portland Homeowners

Every home should be fitted with a sump pump. Sump pumps are the first line of defense against flooding which can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention create an unsanitary (and damp) environment in which to live.

Living in Portland, a region known for what sometimes feels like endless rain, it is of the utmost importance to take notice of and understand how sump pumps function.

While the licensed journeymen plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing are always happy to help with sump pump repairs or replacement, we of course recommend being prepared before an emergency occurs.  Part of this preparedness is knowing the different parts of a sump pump, how they should properly function, and interact.

The Parts of a Sump Pump

  • Sump Pit: A sump pit is a hole about two feet deep, often with a gravel base.  It is placed in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace so that water will naturally flow towards it.
  • Sump Basin: The sump basin is the enclosed space where the water begins to collect before reaching the float switch.
  • Float Switch: As water fills the sump pump, the float switch should be automatically activated.  The float switch is the main operating center of the sump pump and is responsible for telling the sump pump what to do—remove excess water.  The most common problem we see with sump pumps are faulty float switches.
  • Check Valve: Once the float switch is activated, water begins moving through a one-way pipe to a location away from your home.  It is the check valve that keeps the water flowing in the right direction.  The check valve prevents the water from re-entering the sump pit.

In the event of a serious problem, 3 Mountains Plumbing is always available for same day service to help with emergency flooding needs.  We strive to make lasting relationships with our customers even before plumbing emergencies occur.  Please contact us with any questions regarding your Portland sump pump. 

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