How Does a Sump Pump Work?
A sump pump is placed in a sump pit, which is a deep hole about 24-inches deep and 18-inches wide, with gravel at the bottom. As water builds up in the sump pit, a float activator arm senses how high the water gets (this is similar to the float activator arm in the back of your toilet tank, telling your tank when to stop refilling with water). Once the water hits a certain point, the sump pump turns on, moving water through the sump pump drain pipe underneath and away from the foundation of your home. Most pipes have a check-valve that prevents water from flowing backward, and back toward the house.
Each sump pump has a centrifugal pump, that moves the water. So when the sump pump turns on, it activates the centrifugal pump, which causes a fanlike device called an impeller to turn on. The impeller uses centrifugal force to spin the water, moving the water in a circular motion toward the sides of the pipe, allowing for a low-pressure force at the pipe’s center. The impeller’s spinning action helps push the water through the pipe. The higher the pumps horsepower, the faster the impeller and the higher volume of water in a shorter period of time.
Both submersible and pedestal sump pumps run on electricity, and require a grounded outlet. Since the pumps are constantly in or near water, it’s recommended that the grounded outlet be a ground fault circuit interrupter, like the kind you have in your kitchen and bathrooms near your sinks, to avoid accidental electrocution