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Sewage & Sump Pumps: A Beginner’s Guide

Sewage & Sump Pumps: A Beginner’s Guide

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Sewage & Sump Pumps: A Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to home maintenance, there are many things that homeowners need to know about. One of the often overlooked aspects of home ownership is the need for a sewage and sump pump system. These pumps play a crucial role in preventing water damage and keeping your home safe and dry. In this beginner’s guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about sewage and sump pumps, from their basic functions to the different types available.

What Are Sewage and Sump Pumps?

Sewage and sump pumps are mechanical devices that are installed in a basement or crawl space to remove excess water. They are typically used in areas that are prone to flooding or where the water table is high. These pumps operate automatically and are designed to protect your home from water damage by pumping out excess water before it can cause any harm.

Sewage pumps, as the name suggests, are specifically designed to handle wastewater and sewage. They are typically installed in basements or areas below the main sewer line. When the water level rises above a certain point, the pump automatically turns on and removes the sewage from your home, preventing any backups or overflows.

Sump pumps, on the other hand, are used to remove excess water from sump pits or basins that collect water from perimeter drains or natural groundwater. These pits are often found in basements or crawl spaces and help to prevent water from seeping into your home’s foundation. When the water level in the sump pit rises above a certain point, the sump pump kicks in and pumps the water away from your home.

Types of Sewage and Sump Pumps

There are several different types of sewage and sump pumps available, each with its own set of advantages and applications. Here are some of the most common types:

Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps are popular for use in sump pits or sewage basins as they are designed to be completely submerged in water. These pumps are energy-efficient and can handle large volumes of water. The motor is sealed to prevent any water damage and is cooled by the surrounding water. Submersible pumps are often more expensive than other types, but they offer superior performance and reliability.

Pedestal Pumps

Pedestal pumps are another common type of sump pump. Unlike submersible pumps, these units have a motor located above the sump pit. The motor is not designed to be in direct contact with water but is connected to the pump through a long vertical shaft. Pedestal pumps are an affordable option and are easy to maintain and repair. However, they are often noisier and less efficient than submersible pumps.

Ejector Pumps

Ejector pumps are specifically designed for handling sewage and are typically used in homes with basement bathrooms or laundry rooms below the level of the main sewer line. Unlike sump pumps, ejector pumps are designed to handle solid waste and are equipped with a grinder that pulverizes the waste before pumping it out. Ejector pumps are more powerful than sump pumps and can handle larger volumes of wastewater.

Installation and Maintenance

Installing a sewage or sump pump system requires careful planning and knowledge of local building codes. It is recommended to hire a licensed plumber or professional contractor to ensure the proper installation of your system. They will be able to advise you on the best type of pump for your specific needs and install it correctly to ensure maximum efficiency and reliability.

Once your pump system is installed, it is important to keep up with regular maintenance to ensure its longevity and proper functioning. Here are a few maintenance tips:

  • Regularly check and clean the pump: Remove any debris, dirt, or sediment that may have accumulated in the sump pit or sewage basin. This will prevent clogging and ensure that the pump operates smoothly.
  • Test the pump: Periodically test the pump to ensure it is functioning properly. You can do this by pouring water into the sump pit or sewage basin until the pump turns on. If it fails to activate or pumps out water slowly, it may be time for repairs or replacement.
  • Keep the discharge pipe clear: The discharge pipe is the pipe that carries the water away from your home. Make sure it is clear of any blockages or obstructions, as this can cause water to back up into your home.
  • Replace worn-out parts: Over time, certain parts of your pump system may wear out and need to be replaced. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage or malfunction and replace any worn-out parts as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about sewage and sump pumps:

Q: How often should I test my sump pump?

A: It is recommended to test your sump pump at least once a year, preferably before the rainy season or whenever there is a high risk of flooding. This will ensure that the pump is in good working condition and ready to protect your home from water damage.

Q: What should I do if my sump pump fails?

A: If your sump pump fails or stops working properly, it is important to take immediate action. First, check for any obvious issues such as a tripped circuit breaker or a blocked discharge pipe. If you can’t identify the problem or the pump needs repairs, contact a professional plumber or pump technician to inspect and fix the pump.

Q: How long do sewage and sump pumps last?

A: The lifespan of sewage and sump pumps can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the pump, the amount of use, and the maintenance practices. On average, a well-maintained pump can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. It is important to keep up with regular maintenance and promptly address any issues to ensure the longevity of your pump system.


Sewage and sump pumps are essential for protecting your home from water damage and keeping it safe and dry. Understanding the different types of pumps and their functions can help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right pump for your specific needs. Remember to hire a professional for the installation and regularly maintain your pump system to ensure its efficiency and longevity. By taking these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is protected from potential water damage.

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