Basically, sump pumps sit in a hole, ejecting any water that collects there so its level never rises to floor level. Not every basement construction needs a sump or any other kind of pump. If your subsurface is naturally dry and your basement plan doesn’t include anything requiring drainage (sinks and bathrooms), then precautionary tanking of the walls and floors and good ventilation are more than enough to keep it dry.
On the other hand, if your subsoil is damp, prone to seasonal flooding or close to water courses, a sump is likely to be part of your solution. Many homes without basements would benefit greatly from a sump pump to reduce under-floor dampness or provide more protection in flood-prone regions.
Sumps and Pumps Extend Your Basement Conversion Options
Basement ceiling heights can be important for aesthetic or ventilation considerations or to meet building regulations. However, higher ceilings mean lower floors, closer water tables and greater disparities with the building’s existing drainage flows.
Pumps and sumps allow you to build as deep as you want and install toilets, baths and swimming pools if you are so inclined. However, to keep down costs it is wise to consider your drainage requirements before rather than after finalising your floor-plan. Locating sinks, showers and WCs closer to your external drainage points makes life easier.
Can a Sump Fail?
There are some poor-quality pumps on the market that an experienced adviser will steer you clear of. Otherwise a well-maintained sump will hardly ever let you down, and give you a warning if it does.
Power and capacity requirements are difficult to predict in areas where the amount of water in the ground varies dramatically over time, so if your basement construction engineers aren’t familiar with your local geology and hydrology, they will begin by researching it for you. They will then be able to advise you about backup pumps, back-up power, alarm systems and maintenance regimes. Products are available that provide two or more pumps and other reliability features in a single unit.
Any service which penetrates the water-tight tanking of your basement is a potential leakage point for ground water. A poorly installed sump can therefore be a damp liability instead of damp solution. Sealing your walls and floors around these points is an art in itself – another reason for only ever using professionals.
Things Property Owners Should Think About
Most builders have encountered terrifying sump installations at one time or another. Landlords in particular seem prone to letting DIY cowboys install underpowered sumps. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination, so rising water should never be able to reach the wiring. Another common error is to install a pump in such a way that it is impossible to inspect or service.
Drawing up your plans in cooperation with basement conversion professionals will also help you to control your home insurance premiums.