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Sewage & Sump Pumps: A Homeowner’s Guide

Sewage & Sump Pumps: A Homeowner’s Guide

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As a homeowner, it’s important to understand the various systems and components that keep your home running smoothly. Two essential systems that require periodic maintenance and attention are sewage pumps and sump pumps. While they have different functions, both play a crucial role in preventing water damage and maintaining the structural integrity of your home. In this guide, we will explain the basics of sewage and sump pumps, their differences, how they work, and how you can maintain them effectively.

What is a Sewage Pump?

A sewage pump is a device that is installed in homes to pump wastewater (sewage) from lower levels to higher ones, where the sewage can reach the municipal sewer system or a septic tank. These pumps are typically installed in basements or crawl spaces, where the elevation is lower compared to the main plumbing lines. Sewage pumps are designed to handle solid waste and are equipped with powerful motors to ensure efficient pumping.

Understanding Sump Pumps

Sump pumps, on the other hand, are primarily used to prevent basement flooding by efficiently removing excess water from the area surrounding your home’s foundation. They are typically installed in a sump pit, which collects water from various paths such as rainwater, groundwater, or water from the homes plumbing systems. When the water level in the sump pit rises, the sump pump automatically kicks in and discharges the water away from the house, often into the municipal storm drain system or a designated area in your yard.

The Differences Between Sewage Pumps and Sump Pumps

While both sewage pumps and sump pumps are responsible for pumping fluids, they differ in terms of the type of fluid they handle and their intended purpose. Here are some key differences:

  1. Type of Fluid: Sewage pumps are designed to handle solid waste and sewage, while sump pumps handle mainly water.
  2. Location: Sewage pumps are typically installed in basements or crawl spaces, while sump pumps are placed in sump pits.
  3. Pump Operation: Sewage pumps are usually activated through a manual switch or float mechanism, while sump pumps are typically activated through a float switch that detects rising water levels.
  4. Discharge Location: Sewage pumps typically discharge wastewater into municipal sewer lines or septic tanks, while sump pumps discharge water outside the home, often into municipal storm drains or designated areas in the yard.

Maintaining Your Sewage and Sump Pumps

Proper maintenance of your sewage and sump pumps is crucial to ensure their efficient operation and prolong their lifespan. Here are some essential maintenance tips:

  • Regular Inspections: Schedule regular inspections by a professional plumber to check the condition of your pumps, including the motor, float switch, impeller, and piping.
  • Clean the Pit: If you have a sump pump, ensure that the sump pit is clean and free from debris, as this can affect the pump’s performance. Removing dirt and sediment from the pit regularly is essential to prevent clogs.
  • Test the Pump: Test your pumps periodically to ensure they are working correctly. You can do this by pouring water into the sump pit or manually triggering the float switch for a sewage pump.
  • Check the Alarm: If your sewage or sump pump is equipped with an alarm system, ensure that it is functioning correctly and responds appropriately when there is an issue.
  • Replace Worn Parts: If any components of your sewage or sump pump are worn or damaged, such as the float switch or impeller, replace them promptly to avoid potential malfunctions.
  • Consider a Backup System: Installing a backup pump system can provide additional protection in case of a power outage or primary pump failure. Battery-powered backup pumps or water-powered backup pumps are popular options.


Sewage and sump pumps are critical systems that help protect your home from water damage and maintain its structural integrity. By understanding the differences between sewage and sump pumps and following proper maintenance practices, you can ensure these

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