What is a sump pump and why do we need them?
A sump pump is a small, submersible water pump that is usually located in the basement of a home within a small cylindrical container or basin that is usually about 2 feet across and 3-4 feet deep. The basin is typically set into the floor of the basement so the homeowner would just see an electrical wire and a pipe coming out of the top. The vault is typically connected to the drain tile system (interior and/or exterior) underneath the basement floor. Water collected by the drain tile system flows into the basin and when the water level gets high enough to trigger the pump’s float switch, the pump will pump the water out of a discharge pipe to an outside location. The outside location could be the lawn or a bubbler or dry well, or the outside location could be the city storm or sewer system. If the pump does not work, the water would push into the basement and cause flooding. In the event of a heavy storm, the pump must have the capacity to remove all the water that is collecting or else, flooding occurs. If the power goes out, the pump can’t operate and again, flooding occurs. Many people install a second pump which is battery operated that can work even during a power failure. If the power failure lasts long enough, the secondary pump could also fail.
The water that collects in the basin is ground water, which is basically from the gutter system or the water that collects around the exterior of the residence.
To test a sump pump, you will need to fill the basis with water until the pump is triggered.
Sump pumps can be installed by typical plumbers, but their selection will be small and they are not experts. Flood control system specialists are a much better choice as they can offer a larger selection and pick the system that will work best for your environment. They can offer longer-life pumps and choose the appropriate capacity and backup system for your situation. Find out more about sump pumps in Chicago here.
What is an ejector pump and why do we need them?
An ejector pump looks just like a sump pump and is also installed in a basin in the basement floor. However, ejector pumps are able to pump any water, including sewer water. This is typically connected to the floor drains, washing machine, water conditioner, water heater, basement sinks, and/or any basement toilets that are below the grade of the regular sewer line. The waste water is pumped directly to the sewer line, just like other home plumbing fixtures. The pump basin will have a sealed lid and a vent pipe as well as the output pipe, and is connected to an electric source. Failure of the ejector pump can also cause flooding, but typically less water will be discharged. However, because it is sewage water, it is much more of a health hazard and the flooded area needs to be cleaned and disinfected.
Because ejector pumps are connected to the sewer system, the possibility exists for the city’s system to become overwhelmed at times of flooding and heavy rain, and it is possible for the water to back up into the homes that are connected to the system. Special backflow valves are used to stop the water from coming back in to the home at these times. If you are looking for flood control systems in Chicago, and in most of the suburban areas around Chicago, one company is the innovator and has patented their own Double Guard Valve for keeping the sewer from backing up into your home.
Typically, you can flush a basement toilet once or twice to trigger the ejector pump.
Ejector pumps can be installed by typical plumbers, but their selection will be small and they are not experts. Flood control specialists can offer many more options for ejector pumps and are experts in removing water from basements. They can determine your exact needs and offer an optimal solution to you. Find out more about ejector pumps in Chicago here.
Why are these pumps important to Chicago residents?
Flooding is a big issue in Chicago. There is a great density of buildings, streets and parking lots, and very little green space to absorb or slow down the onslaught of water in a heavy rain. Because the city of Chicago has a combined storm and sanitary system it means that every time there’s a serious rainstorm, sewers can backup, and people get water and worse in their basements. Installation of flood control systems in Chicago is a necessary solution to protect your property and possessions from water damage. Even though the city has started installing valves to allow streets to back up vs. basements, the streets can become overflooded and cause a different kind of basement flooding to happen – overland flooding. Overland flooding is when water collects around the building and finds entry from without the structure through window wells, basement cracks, or even through doors or windows when the water is that high. To protect your home, you should install a Double Guard Valve before it is too late.