Sump pumps: They’re part of our way of life in Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland
Living in the Chesapeake Bay region presents several challenges to a dry basement. The Washington, D.C. region has some of the oldest housing stock on the East Coast and gets, on average, 114 days of rain (and nearly 40 inches of rainwater) each year. From our headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia and throughout the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland metro areas, homeowners have an obligation to stay on top of sump pump installation, repairs and replacement to protect their family and their investments. It’s just part of life as a homeowner in the DMV.
Sump pump installation and repair: If you live here, you’re going to need it.
If you live in a city like Alexandria — located in Virginia on the Potomac River across from Washington, D.C. — there is an ever-present threat of water damage to your home from heavy rain, seasonal snow melt and river flooding. Twenty percent of Alexandria is located on the floodplain, and according to the city government, there is a one percent chance of a flood in Alexandria each year. Scientific data suggests that the region is slowly sinking, as well, making floods an ever-increasing possibility.
Anyone whose home is susceptible to flooding should install a reliable drainage system, but in Alexandria sump pump installation is particularly important. One bad storm could potentially cause thousands of dollars in damage and a significant amount of repairs and maintenance.
A sump pump is a homeowner’s best friend in areas prone to flooding.
If you own a home in Alexandria or anywhere else in metro Washington, D.C., it’s very important that you have a modern sump pump installed and ready to protect your investment.
Because basements are typically below ground level, draining the water out is nearly impossible without a quality sump pump. The longer stagnant, polluted water sits in your home, the more extensive and potentially dangerous damage it can cause.
How does a sump pump work?
A sump pump is a simple but impressive little tool. The sump pump is placed in a sump pit, usually located at the lowest spot of a home’s basement. When the basement floods, the sump pit fills with water, and the sump pump is activated. The floodwater is then pumped through a system of pipes away from your home. A check valve on the sump pump pipes keeps that floodwater (or any other water) from running back into your home.
The two types of sump pumps
There are two major types of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible.
The pedestal sump pump has a motor on a small pedestal. A pipe is attached to the motor and runs down towards the sump pump pit, where a float — similar to the floats you’ll find in a toilet, a sump pump float is a piece of plastic that rises with the water level to open a drain valve — is attached to a metal rod connected to a switch on the pump.
When your basement floods, water flows into the sump pit, the float rises too until it is high enough to turn on the sump pump switch. The floodwater drains into the valve and is transported to the septic system. The pedestal sump pump motor does not go under water and may have a lifespan of 30 years.
The submersible sump pump, on the other hand, is designed to go under water. When your basement floods, water surges through the bottom of the submersible sump pump, triggering the impeller that initiates water suction. A filter prevents debris from entering the impeller because damage to this tool that creates the need for sump pump repairs or, worse, ruins the entire submersible sump pump.
The advantage of a submersible sump pump is the fact that is hidden — unlike the pedestal pump, which is in plain site and can be heard when it kicks in. The downside? Submersibles can be expensive and may last half as long as a pedestal sump pump.
What’s wrong with my sump pump?
There are many reasons why a sump pump repair may be necessary. Some of the red flags indicating a need for sump pump repair include:
- Age. As a sump pump gets older, it may require maintenance, especially if it has not had much recent use. Visible rust on a sump pump is also an indicator that it may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Malfunction. Does your sump pump ever get stuck? Does the automatic shut-off fail? A sump pump that runs “dry” can get damaged, or may, in fact, need repairs. If your sump pump vibrates while it use, or makes weird sounds, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Originality. If your sump pump was installed when your home was first built, you may have been given a low-quality machine that has already reached the end of its useful life. While the Washington, D.C. area has a lot of old homes (and so do places like Alexandria’s historic Old Town), the Northern Virginia region is also packed with new home builds from the past 30 years where sump pumps were required but may need to be replaced for the first, second or even third time.
The sump pump experts at John C. Flood can determine whether you need sump pump repairs or if you need the entire sump pump replaced.
Sump pump installation: We’re proud to use Zoeller sump pumps.
At John C. Flood, we install Zoeller automatic sump pumps, the leader in water solutions. Zoeller is committed to producing high-quality products and provides excellent customer support. We are your go-to expert for Alexandra sump pump installation.
The Zoeller Mighty Mate Series Submersible pumps for dewatering (sump) or effluent (septic tank systems):
- Submersible pump for dewatering (sump) or effluent (septic tank systems). Float operated, submersible (NEMA 6) 2 pole mechanical switch & variable level long cycle systems available
- Corrosion resistant powder coated epoxy finish
- No sheet metal parts to rust or corrode
- Stainless steel screws, switch arm, guard and handle
- No screens to clog
- Watertight neoprene square ring between motor and pump housing
- Solid buoyant polypropylene float
- Oil-filled, hermetically sealed, automatic reset thermal overload protected motor
- Upper and lower sleeve bearings running in bath of oil
- Entire unit pressure tested after assembly
- Carbon and ceramic shaft seal
- Maximum temperature for effluent or dewatering 130°F (54°C)
- Passes 1/2" spherical solids
- 1.5" NPT discharge
- On point: 7 1/4"
- Off point: 3"
- Major width: 10 3/32"
- Major height: 10 1/16"
- Watertight and dust tight
- Permanently oiled bearings