What Is a Sump Pump and Do I Need One?

If you find yourself researching solutions to basement flooding or you’ve spent some time on any plumbing website, you might have seen talk of sump pumps. What is a sump pump? They’re tools made for preventing flooding and pooling in basements, primarily. Let’s take a look at how they work and how a sump pump could help you.

How Are They Installed?

Sump pump installation is somewhat extensive, so they’re usually used only in situations where it’s strictly necessary. Sump pumps are installed beneath floor level. Because these are most frequently used in unfinished basements, a hole is usually cut into the exposed, cement floor.

The body of the sump pump is the sump basin, which is fitted into the hole in the floor. These basins can vary in size, but are usually around two feet deep. This basin is for collecting water and moisture that would otherwise settle and pool on the basement floor. It houses the rest of the sump pump as well.

Sump basins – and therefore pumps – can also be installed underneath a layer of flooring. For finished basements with little integrity in the subfloor’s waterproof qualities, this is vital. Here’s why:

What Are They For?

A sump pump’s entire purpose is moving water away from the house. In an unfinished basement, this ensures that it doesn’t flood. However, for finished basements, this does even more. 

First, you should put a waterproof, protective layer between the flooring and the subfloor. This keeps any moisture from damaging the flooring or causing mold growth and wood rot. Then, the next hurdle is ensuring that that space between the waterproof layer and subfloor doesn’t just flood with water. That’s where the sump pump comes in. It collects any water between the protected flooring and the subfloor and escorts it away from your home.

How Do They Work?

Sump pumps, as you know, are for moving water away from the house. But, how do they work? It’s actually quite interesting! Sump basins have a sensor in them to detect water. This sensor can be adjusted to sit at any level you like. If you want faster water removal, it can be set a few inches from the bottom. If you’re not in any hurry, you can put it closer to the top.

As moisture drips and water runs into the basin, the sensor will notice when it’s been reached and will trigger the pump to begin pumping water out. Water is then pulled from the basin and pumped through a pipe into the ground some distance from the house. This distance can vary, but is usually more than 10 feet away, going as far as 30 or more.

By moving the water this far away from the house, as it soaks back into the earth, it will not be able to reach the house’s foundation again. While the ground is certain to get wet near the house again as rain and snow moves down through the dirt, this system of repeatedly removing the water keeps it from settling in your basement indefinitely.

Do I Need One?

If you have basement moisture, pooling, or flooding problems, you need to have one of POM Plumbing’s experts come visit your home. An assessment may reveal that a sump pump is exactly what you need. However, there are many other problems that cause moisture and leaks in the basement, and we want to find the solution that’s right for you.

Prevent Basement Flooding with a Sump Pump

Is your unfinished basement flooding or collecting pools of water? Is your finished basement’s flooring feeling soft and weak from rot? No matter the cause, you have a serious moisture problem. Water and moisture in a basement can spell huge problems for your home down the line. So, how can you prevent basement flooding? The answer might just be a sump pump. Here’s how POM Plumbing can help.

Assess the Problem

The first thing we need to do is send out one of our plumbing experts to take a look at your home. The years of experience that POM Plumbing professionals have makes looking around and spotting the source of the problem a piece of cake.

Some basement moisture problems are caused by leaking walls or condensation. Both of these have different solutions. However, if it’s water coming up through the subfloor, a sump pump is the only solution.

Why Is There Water?

Water can leak up through a subfloor in both finished and unfinished basements. In unfinished spaces, where the floor is cement or dirt, this usually leads to mud, pooling, or a complete flood. For those of you with things in your unfinished basement, such as laundry machines, stored boxes, or canned food, flooding id dangerous. Even if the amount of standing water is very shallow, this is a huge health and safety concern.

Why Is Standing Water Dangerous?

The reason why this is so dangerous comes in a number of forms. For one, if you have laundry machinery in your basement, it’s getting electrical input. A flood that rises high enough to meet with the bottom of the machines can come into contact with electrical components. This can electrify the entire wet area, which can electrocute you. 

Standing water is also very attractive to rodents, who need water to live, and bugs, who want to lay eggs in it. Pests are universally dangerous for your health, as they carry diseases of all kind. Even small amounts of water or damp on the floor can spur mold growth, potentially leading to chronic respiratory illness or allergic reactions.

Even if all of these dangers were no issue, there’s also the risk toward your house and its structure. Any moisture that is able to reach wooden parts of your home structure will rot the wood and destabilize your house. This rot can climb support beams and leach into other parts of the structure. This is one of the reasons why more notable floods have caused such devastation for people during storms and hurricanes, and local flooding.

Getting a Sump Pump

Fortunately, sump pumps are a fantastic solution. These pumps are installed in the basement floor within a large basin. As the basin collects water, a sensor tells the pump when the basin is full. At that point, the pump will suck up all of the water in the basin, pumping it far away from your home. This keeps your basement dry and safe, allowing you to rest easy, knowing you’re not at the mercy of groundwater.

Give us a call at POM Plumbing if you need an assessment done in your basement.

Damp Basement Walls: Causes and Solutions – Part 2

In part 1 of this 2-part series, we discussed what might be causing your damp basement walls. We encourage you to check out the beginning of this series to familiarize yourself with what the root problem might be. Because there are multiple reasons you may have damp basement walls, part 1 may help you deduce what your own basement’s ailment is. However, if you’re ready to hear solutions, here they are.

Differing Solutions

Because damp basement walls can be caused by different things, there are different solutions for each cause. However, there is some overlap. Let’s take a look at the most effective solutions.

For Moisture Leakage

When your problem is caused by your basement walls failing to hold out ground moisture, the solution is not an easy one. You might think some kind of putty or cement in the cracks of the wall will cut it. Unfortunately, most of the cracks causing your moisture problem are smaller than you can repair. Plus, filling cracks from the inside can actually cause a lot more problems than solutions. 

Filling in cracks from the inside is a problem because you will only be doing a surface repair. The water leaking in through your walls will remain within the wall itself. If you’ve blocked the water’s route in, it will stay there, freezing and expanding with the change in seasons. This is a one way ticket to major structural damage.

The only foolproof solution to water leakage is basement waterproofing. This is an extensive repair, but a necessary one. In short, it involves excavating around the basement walls and coating them, from the outside, in waterproofing materials. This includes a wet membrane that seals the cracks and evens the exterior wall’s surface. That is followed by a solid membrane that locks out water and protects the more delicate first membrane.

For Condensation

Because condensation is caused by water in the interior air, it can be completely mitigated with some insulation. The important thing is having your basement checked for leakage as well. That’s because, if you insulate the interior side of a basement wall when it’s leaking in moisture from outside, the moisture will then be invisible from the inside but will, instead, collect in the insulation behind the finished wall. That’s a huge mold hazard that you do not want to deal with.

If your waterproofing professionals have confirmed that you are not dealing with water leakage, you can proceed with finishing the interior wall.

The reason finishing the interior wall and insulating helps is because insulation, covering the cold, stone walls, will help regulate the temperature of the finished, internal wall. If your interior wall of choice is drywall, your insulation will keep the drywall from being affected by the cold, stone wall. Then, because your drywall will remain at a warmer temperature, it won’t draw moisture from the air.

Contact Waterproofing Professionals

The most vital step in solving your damp basement wall problems is contacting your local professionals at POM Waterproofing. We can check out the source of your moisture problems and give you the best solution and the best price. Give us a call today if you need a consult.

Damp Basement Walls: Causes and Solutions – Part 1

If you have an unfinished basement, or one with stone walls, you may have noticed moisture on your basement walls. If you’ve noticed you have damp basement walls, you’re probably wondering why they’re damp. The answer can be guessed by most: it has something to do with condensation. The question is, how does that work, and how do you prevent it? Let’s take a deeper look.

Why Do I Have Damp Basement Walls?

There are two primary reasons why you have damp basement walls. We’ll take a moment to look at both, as they both have slightly different solutions.

Condensation

The first reason is that your walls are collecting condensation. Condensation is caused by a cold surface being exposed to warm, moist air. You surely know that steam is caused by heat, which speeds up the particles in the water to the point that it rises above – or into – air that is slightly colder than it. 

This is generally the same principle that makes humidity, and other air moisture, more prevalent in warm environments. However, cold water has slower-moving particles and cannot stay afloat in the air. Therefore, when moisture in warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, it loses its heat and settles on the cold surface, leaving it damp.

Moisture Leakage

The second reason why you might have damp basement walls is that you’re getting moisture leakage from outdoors. This is fairly common and is caused by moisture in the ground seeping through cracks in the basement wall.

Basement walls are typically made with stone bricks, clay bricks, and some kind of brick adhesive, like cement. Stone and brick walls are pretty good at keeping out unwanted elements from the outdoors. However, one place they fall short is in insulation and longevity in moisture-blocking. After years, or even decades, of supporting the weight of a home, stone and brick walls begin getting small cracks. These cracks are usually tiny – most of them unnoticeable. However, this doesn’t mean that they have no effect. Moisture from the earth surrounding your basement walls can – and will – find their way through these cracks and onto your basement walls.

Is This a Problem?

Damp basement walls may not seem like a big deal. However, moisture can lead to numerous problems in your home environment’s safety and integrity. Why is that?

  • Moisture can lead to mold. Mold causes problems in many ways, including, but not limited to, damaging a home’s wooden structure, damaging belongings, causing undesirable smells, causing long-term lung problems, and potentially risking the safety of your food. Even mold that isn’t in direct contact with food can put off spores into the air, affecting food from a distance.
  • Moisture can warm your home’s floors and wooden framework. Even if it doesn’t cause mold (somehow), moisture in your basement can rise up into the wooden structure of your home, making it unstable and weak. We don’t have to explain how a weak structure is unsafe.
  • Moreover, moisture can invite and encourage pests and parasites. Where there is moisture, there is a water source for pests, including all kinds of bugs and mice. Furthermore, mice bring parasites, which also love water.

Solutions to Basement Moisture

If you’re suddenly eager to hear solutions to damp basement walls, you’re not alone. Check out part 2, where we’ll cover solutions to your problem. Or, call us right away.