Homes across Grand Junction, Colorado, commonly have to deal with the effects of flooding and water damage as a result of the spring thaws and wet falls that Colorado can experience. A good, efficient crawl space sump pump can make all the difference when it comes to preventing water damage, dampness, and serious flooding in a home. Unfortunately, many people do not know what sump pumps do and how they are best maintained.
Understanding how your crawl space works, what the signs of damage are, and how you can best use this clever piece of machinery can make all the difference to your property and the health of your crawl space. Here’s what you need to know about how water gets into your home and what your sump pump can do about it.
What Is a Sump Pump (and How Does It Work)?
To put it simply, a sump pump is an appliance used to remove water from a property or space as it collects to ensure proactive protection from flooding and dampness. Sump pumps are useful in a variety of situations including:
While flooding is not overly common in and around Grand Junction, Colorado, there are some areas that are more at risk than others. If a flood does hit your area, you will need a reliable and fast way to drain your crawl space or basement when the waters recede. A sump pump offers this benefit.
If you live in a flood-prone zone, a sump pump will generally be deployed in line with flood vents. These allow floodwater to pass into a property’s lower reaches to lessen the force or pressure that it must deal with.
Internal Leaks and Plumbing Flood
Unexpected plumbing damage, leaks, or appliance breakdown can cause a surprising amount of water to build up in a property over a brief period. We would all like to think that we will never have to deal with a serious leak or plumbing flood, but in the case that we do, it is important to be well prepared for it.
A sump pump will not prevent leaks or plumbing floods, but it will minimize the damage that they cause and ensure that your crawl space does not flood entirely before you notice the issue. It will also help with the cleanup by removing water preemptively.
A flooded or saturated perimeter is a significant issue, and it can arise for a number of reasons. From a lack of proper and effective drainage to a sudden and heavy spring thaw, or even expansive soil forming a clay bowl, perimeter flooding is a complex issue. The one thing that it guarantees is an increased risk of flooding in your crawl space or basement.
A sump pump will work best when you have effective foundation drainage in place, but it will also minimize flooding because of perimeter saturation, no matter the cause. If you want to improve the performance of your sump pump, improving your perimeter or crawl space drains is a good place to start.
The right sump pump can prevent you from experiencing severe damage in these situations, and many others. In short, a sump pump helps to remove water no matter how it gets into your property, and it does so proactively.
How a Sump Pump Works
There are two main kinds of sump pumps: submersible and pedestal. While they have different designs, they work in much the same way. Nonetheless, we always recommend a submersible sump pump because they are less noisy, more durable, and generally more effective than pedestal pumps.
Whichever model you have, your sump pump should have a mechanism that activates it automatically when the water level in the space reaches a certain level. Most pumps will have either a pressure sensor or a floating arm switch to detect the presence of standing water. Once the pump has been activated, an impeller inside the pump will draw water through the filtration system and into the pump, so it can be pushed into the discharge line and removed from your property.
Ideally, discharge pipes should be long enough to clear your property’s perimeter fully and buried at least five inches below the frost line to prevent them from freezing and becoming blocked in cold weather. This will ensure effective functioning year-round.
The Benefits of Installing a Sump Pump
Many properties in and around Grand Junction, Colorado, already have a sump pump installed in their crawl space or basement. If your home does not, or you fear that your current sump pump is starting to fail, you should consider the benefits of investing in an up-to-date, energy-efficient sump pump. Aside from the most obvious benefit (the removal of water from your home), there are some important benefits to installing a sump pump:
Installing a sump pump will help to reduce the relative humidity in your home, especially when undertaken as a part of general crawl space encapsulation and waterproofing. By removing water from your crawl space before it has a chance to stagnate or evaporate, a sump pump will also remove some opportunity for humidity to rise.
Prevent Mold and Mildew Formation
A home with lower relative humidity is less at risk of experiencing mold and mildew formation at any level. After all, humidity and dampness are necessary for mold formation and growth. A house with lower levels of humidity will find that mold is unable to form, or that it forms only in localized areas that are often damp (like bathrooms, for example).
Protect Your Personal Property and Health
Serious or prolonged flooding in any capacity presents a real and present danger to your personal belongings and health. This is partly to do with the actual water damage that flooding causes but also with the humidity that flooding and dampness can lead to. The spread of wood rot and mold, for example, will lead to sagging flooring or walls and may also cause you to experience health issues. Having a sump pump is healthier for you and your home overall.
Higher Energy Efficiency
The lowered levels of humidity that a sump pump creates also increase the energy efficiency of your home in several ways. Primarily, arid air is easier for your HVAC system to process than humid air, which means that your HVAC system will be able to regulate the temperatures in your home more effectively and easily. This will lower your property’s energy usage and bills. If you undertake full waterproofing as well as installing or upgrading your sump pump, the benefits will be increased greatly.
Installing a sump pump (or upgrading your old model) is a beneficial choice for several reasons. We also understand the desire to get your money’s worth from your current sump pump. As such, it is important that you learn to recognize the warning signs.
Signs of Damage to Your Sump Pump
Each of these issues is a warning sign that your sump pump is experiencing difficulties, damage, or a reduced level of efficiency. If you see or hear any of these things, you should contact a professional to assess the state of your sump pump quickly:
Sump pumps do create some level of noise, even when they are working perfectly. However, an increase in the noise your sump pump makes, or a change of the sounds that it makes, should be investigated as soon as possible. This could be caused by a general deterioration in the pump itself or a specific part of the pump malfunctioning. Either way, you should have the pump serviced.
There’s not much that you can do to prevent general deterioration as your sump pump ages but keeping up a decent and regular maintenance schedule will go a long way.
Rattling or Grinding Sounds
A rattling or grinding sound when your sump pump activates is a separate issue and should not be ignored. The sudden onset of a rattling or grinding sound generally indicates that one of the components inside your sump pump has broken away, or that debris has become lodged inside the pump itself (which will cause damage very quickly).
You can prevent this by having a cover for your sump pit and regularly checking your pump after heavy storms and sudden downpours.
If you notice that water is draining from your sump pump pit or your crawl space, in general, more slowly than you are used to, you should consider having a professional look at your sump pump. This could be caused by something as simple as a blockage caused by debris in the sump pit, but it could also be a sign of breakdown.
An impaired impeller, for example, may not fail to drain water, but it will draw water into your pump more slowly.
If your crawl space or basement floods entirely, you can be sure that your sump pump is not working. This can happen for a few reasons. Firstly, and perhaps least worryingly, is a power failure. Whether the power line is damaged, there is a blackout, or the battery that sustains your sump pump has died, a power problem is one of the easiest issues to fix.
Unfortunately, the results of power failure are far more damaging. Flooding can also be caused by the failure or breakdown of the pump itself.
If your sump pump is draining water well, but water is being regurgitated into the sump pit, you should call a professional at once. This is a sign of serious blockages or mechanical malfunctions in your sump pump and should not be ignored. Water backing up into your crawl space or basement from your sump pump will lead to water damage in your home.
If you notice more than one of these issues in tandem, you should contact a professional to discuss your repair and upgrade options, as well as how you can take care of your property and prevent dampness in the future.
Crawl Space Sump Pump
There could be a number of reasons that your crawl space is flooded or taking on substantial amounts of water, but the causes can be generally broken up into internal and external. No matter the source of the water in your home, it will cause damage if left unattended.
The main internal sources of water are your plumbing system and attached appliances. Weakness in the joins between pipes, corrosion, excessively high-water pressure, blockages and appliance malfunction or breakdown can all cause leaks and flooding inside your home. This water will pool at the lowest level of your home, such as around your sump pump.
Internal plumbing floods and leaks are unfortunately common. While we’d all like to think that we can avoid them, the fact is that we are likely to have to deal with one at some point. Thankfully, plumbing and appliance leaks are generally easy to spot and fix. Plus, if you catch a leak quickly, you can generally avoid wider structural damage to your home.
External causes of flooding and humidity tend to be harder to spot and are more likely to be connected to structural issues in your home. The most obvious and benign (relatively speaking) potential cause is the presence of open vents in your crawl space. These allow water to enter your property during periods of heavy rain, snowmelt, and localized flooding. There are other potential causes, however, that you should be aware of.
The most worrying possibility is that your home’s foundation or walls have been damaged in some way. Even relatively small cracks can allow a surprising amount of water into a property. Foundation damage is the most serious potential cause of flooding is foundation subsidence or settlement and will require specialist foundation repair services to prevent the recurrence of flooding during periods of wet weather and soil saturation.
A sump pump will remove any water that gets into your home, no matter where it comes from. However, it cannot prevent water from gathering in the first place and should not be considered a replacement for proper repairs or waterproofing.
A Sump Pump Removes Water
The main purpose of a sump pump is to optimize drainage and remove water from your home on a proactive basis. This is incredibly useful and important, but it is not a replacement for waterproofing products. As such, a sump pump will only maintain your home in its current state. Furthermore, if the leak is too large, your sump pump could be entirely overwhelmed. Even if it is not, a sump pump will not address the underlying causes.
This means that your pipes will stay leaky, and your foundation will remain cracked, even if your crawl space is not flooded. This will have many implications for your home, but the most pressing one is that the damage that is allowing water into your crawl space will spread over time. Likewise, the relative humidity in the space will increase, even if the majority of the water is removed by your sump pump.
Prevention Is Also Required
The best way to protect your home from water damage in the short and long term is to properly waterproof and encapsulate your crawl space. Waterproofing is a versatile and changeable process that can be tailored to suit the needs of the home in question. Regardless of other factors, however, waterproofing requires that you deal with underlying damage to get the best possible result. That’s why it tends to be a permanent solution.
Once your home is in the right condition, waterproofing will cover four main factors: prevention, drainage, insulation, and dehumidification. Products that prevent water from getting into your crawl space in the first place are things like crawl space vent covers and vapor barriers. Drains and sump pumps remove water, while insulation increases heat retention. Finally, the installation of a dehumidifier conditions and stabilizes your property’s internal climate. By considering all these factors, waterproofing creates an all-around solution.
We do not recommend that you waterproof your property alone for several reasons. Instead, you should contact a professional to ensure you get the right solution (and results) for your property and needs.
DIY Goes Wrong Too Often
The biggest problem with DIY waterproofing is that it is too hard for amateurs to accurately assess and diagnose underlying issues in their property’s crawl space. The signs of structural damage, for example, can be incredibly subtle if you do not know what you are looking for. If you simply waterproof without looking for or dealing with underlying damage, you could cover up the signs and allow it to grow and spread unchecked. This could be disastrous in the long run.
Worse still, you could trap moisture into your property and create a kind of incubator for mold and mildew. This will lead to bad smells in your home but also create an unhealthy environment for you.
Professionals Have the Skills
When you hire a professional, you will get the right solution for your home the first time around. As well as being able to identify underlying problems and damage before waterproofing, they will be able to react to any unexpected issues that arrive efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, they have the skills and training to use the waterproofing tools and products on the market to provide you with the best possible results.
They are less likely to make mistakes, or cause damage to the products (or your home). This is because they can buy from professional supply stores and direct from product manufacturers when needed. Beyond all else, professionals have the experience to work effectively in the cramped conditions that a crawl space provides. This is no mere feat, considering the average crawl space is three to five feet in height on average. When you have concerns about your crawl space, contact the expert!
Quality Sump Pumps From Foundation Repair of Western Colorado
Whether you need a sump pump, your sump pump has broken down, or you have some general concerns about the health and well-being of your property and crawl space, please do not hesitate to contact Foundation Repair of Western Colorado. Our team has been helping homeowners in and around Grand Junction, Colorado, to restore their homes to full health and protect them from future damage. Book your free inspection appointment with one of our experts by either calling us or on our website.
The purpose of these appointments is to arm homeowners with the knowledge that they need to make an informed and confident decision about what is best for their homes. When you contact our team, they will help you to set a time and date that works for your schedule. On the day of, a technician will investigate your home and assess its condition. Once they have diagnosed the issues in your home, they will provide you with a written estimate for the cost of repairs to help you make a choice that makes you feel confident.
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