One of the dilemmas people face when waterproofing their crawl space is whether they should install a sump pump in this below-ground area or not. For some people, sump pumps are nothing more than a waterproofing device they’d like to check off their waterproofing list. But does the sump pump have a place in the crawl space? Is it a key part of your waterproofing system? Read on to find out.
Is a Sump Pump Necessary?
Yes, it is. May through August are the wettest months in St. Louis, MO, and a time when floods are most likely to occur. Installing the sump pump adds a layer of protection to the crawl space, and prevents extensive water damage, which is costly to repair.
Flooding is probably the biggest threat to your crawl space, even though it’s not as rampant as moisture. The fact that it’s a low-lying area makes it extremely vulnerable to water damage. From drenching your insulation to damaging below-ground appliances to instigating wood rot, floodwaters can wreak havoc and set you back thousands of dollars in repairs.
Your biggest worry should be structural damage. Without a sump pump, your home becomes a sitting duck. The sump pump together with interior drainage and flood vents relieves pressure acting on your foundation, so it won’t crumble.
We always advise our customers to combine a sump pump and an interior drainage system like CrawlDrain™. Both systems work in tandem. The drain gathers water and redirects it to the sump pump, from where it’s ejected. Talk with your local crawl space and waterproofing experts first to explore your options.
What to Look for in a Sump Pump
A sump pump is a significant investment, so you want to make sure it comes with everything you need to protect the crawl space. Here’s what you should keep in your mind.
- Clog resistant: When silt or debris gets into the impeller, the pump may stop working. Ensure the sump pump comes with a sump liner and a cover, and that it’s impeller doesn’t allow pebbles or debris to accumulate.
- Battery backup: Rainstorms can knock down power lines. A good sump pump should come with a battery backup for stormy days when the power goes off abruptly so it can continue to protect your home.
- Motor housing: Avoid sump pumps with plastic motor housings as they create heat tolerance, which can burn out and damage the motor bearings. You’ll never go wrong with cast iron casing as they dissipate heat quickly and don’t affect the pump’s performance.
Other Sump Pump Considerations
As with any appliance, there is a range of pricing and options from strong metal housings to plastic ones. Figure out how high it must eject water, what volume of water it should move, and its power source.
- Pump size: Residential sump pumps come in different sizes. Size yours appropriately. Get a workhorse that can handle a considerable amount of water. A smaller unit may get overwhelmed by raging floods while a larger one may cycle on and off, moving a small volume of water.
- Pump power: A standard pump has a 20-amp GFCI protected unit. Check and follow the power recommendations on the manufacturer’s manual.
- Pump design: A good pump should have a discharge pipe that’s roughly 1-1/2 inch in diameter and a check valve that prevents water from draining down and back into the pump it shuts off.
- Backup pump: Get an extra pump, preferably a battery-powered one just in case severe storms knock down the power line or the main pump fails.
If you live in St. Louis, MO, long enough to experience a flooded crawl space, you’ll never question the necessity of having a sump pump. But sadly, many people wait until it’s too late. These devices can make a difference in flood zones and areas where the crawl space lies close to the water table, protecting your home and keeping the foundation intact.
Take the next step
Contact Foundation Recovery Systems and request a free crawl space inspection and sump pump installation quote. We’ll help you install a powerful pump that can handle any volume of water so your crawl space and home environment will stay dry and healthy.