Informational Guide

Do I Need A Sump Pump?

by Andrew

Water can cause serious damage to your home. If you live in a low-lying area or a particularly wet climate, then you've probably experienced water damage before, but it can impact any homeowner in any location. 

Sump pumps help protect your home from excess moisture by channeling excess water through your drains and away from your home. This guide will help explain the benefits and help you understand whether you need a sump pump. 

Sump pumps can offer a range of benefits to homeowners. They won’t all apply to you, but here’s a quick breakdown of why sump pumps can be useful.  

Zoeller Sump Pump

Defend The Basement Against Flooding 

Sump pumps are designed to monitor and maintain the amount of water in the lowest parts of your home and remove it if necessary. They will keep the water level at a fairly constant level, but sump pumps are particularly useful when you need to get rid of floodwater quickly. A bad flood could mean several feet of water in your basement if you don't have a sump pump to drain it. On average, there is an urban flooding event every 3 days in America, so it pays to invest in a reliable sump pump to protect your home. 

Reduce Mold, Mildew & Fungus Growth 

Water, especially dirty groundwater, can let bacteria into your home. This can lead to mold, mildew, and fungi developing in your house. These conditions aren’t just unsanitary; they can cause serious damage to your home and belongings. Your sump pump will keep the water out of your home and prevent mold and mildew from being allowed to form.  

Discourage Termites & Other Insect Invasions 

Insects tend to gather in areas with stagnant water and bacteria. Pools of liquid in your basement will make them a breeding ground for crawling nasties, but a sump pump will remove the conditions they need to thrive.  

Protects The Paint & Other Wall Covering From Peeling 

If your walls are exposed to moisture for a prolonged period, then they'll become damaged beyond repair. Keeping them dry will go a long way to protecting them and stopping the paint from peeling. A sump pump will remove the excess moisture and prevent you from having to perform costly repair work. In doing so, it will also protect the overall value of your home.  

Keep The Foundation Intact 

Your foundations are built to be sturdy but very expensive to repair. If they become damaged, it will impact the stability of your home and can even make it hazardous. In addition, water around the lower levels can impact your foundations and, over time, cause lasting damage. A sump pump will prevent water from pooling and protect your entire home. This will also help your home retain its value and stop it from depreciating over time.  

Improve Air Quality 

Dirty water pooling can impact the overall air quality in and around your home. Bacteria and insects can have an impact on your health as you breathe in the air, but a sump pump will remove the moisture and help to improve the overall quality.  

Reduced Fire Risk 

It may sound strange to think of a device that removes moisture also prevents fires, but this is the case. Water gathering in the base of your home can cause your electrics to short circuit, and there's an increased chance of electrical fires. A sump pump will prevent this from happening and protect you, your family, and your home.  

Situations That Require Sump Pump? (4 Common Signs) 

  • Past Water Problems 
    If you have suffered from flooding before or have had similar issues, then you know the pain and inconvenience well. Water issues tend to be recurring, so if you know there's been an issue in the past, you’ll almost certainly want a sump pump installed. Before buying a home, it's worth asking about the conditions so you can understand how frequently you might experience flooding. This will help you gauge how likely you are to need a sump pump. 
  • You Are Located In Low Lying Area 
    The amount of liquid in the ground beneath your home is influenced by the water table. If you live in a low-lying area, then the water table is nearer the surface and much more likely to rise up and swell into your basement. You may also be close to or underneath sea level, which means you're going to see a lot more groundwater. Sump pumps are essential in these conditions to protect your home.  
  • Your Location Gets a Lot of Rain & Snow 
    Understanding the climate around you is essential for protecting your home. If you live in a wet or snowy area, then you're going to have a lot more water in the ground and much more chance of flooding. Sump pumps will give you peace of mind by removing moisture as and when it enters your home. A sump pump is a great investment to stop your basement from flooding, even if you only suffer from a few very wet spells a year.  
  • Vulnerable Basements Or Crawl Spaces 
    A crawl space is the narrow, hollow area between the bottom of your home and the earth underneath. These crawl spaces are often subject to water damage and will benefit from a sump pump to keep it clear.  Similarly, basements which are exposed to the elements and very deep underground will be more susceptible to flooding. Walkout basements are particularly at risk as they are half above and half below ground. Water damage can impact your foundations and so having a good sump pump will help protect your whole home and save you from costly repairs.  

Do You Need a Battery Backup For Your Sump Pump? 

Your sump pump uses electricity to function and is typically connected to your main power supply. As sump pumps are often most useful during stormy and turbulent conditions, it's a good idea to have a backup power source. Most sump pumps can connect to a battery backup that will kick in if needed. This will allow it to keep operating and pumping water out of your home even if there’s an issue.  

You may already have a sump pump. It's definitely worth having a battery backup installed for when these situations arise: 

Problems With Float Switch 

Your sump pump is triggered to start using a float switch. When the water reaches the right level, it causes the pump to turn on and pump the excess moisture down your drains. If your float switch triggers the pump, but there's no power, then your battery pack will kick in and start the draining process. 

Pump Temperature Issues 

Your sump pump, like other home appliances, will shut off if it overheats. This means it won’t restart unless you perform a full reset. A battery pack will help to protect your home by keeping the pump from running.  

Power Issues 

The most common reason you'll need a battery pack is if the primary power supply goes off. This often happens during storms, when your sump pump will be most useful. If you live in an area where power outages or power surges are common, it pays to be prepared, and you’ll definitely benefit from a battery pack.  

Pump Is Old 

An old pump is more likely to experience issues than a new one. A battery pack will help to keep your sump pump running if the power source goes out and keep it being useful for longer. Remember that your sump pump isn't designed to last forever, and after 10-15 years, it may well need to be replaced.  

Clogged Pipes 

Clogged pipes in your home will lead to excess moisture gathering in your basement and lower levels. This makes a working sump pump a necessity, and a battery backup will help ensure it runs continuously without interruption.  

Blown Fuse Or Tripped Breaker 

If you’ve blown a fuse in your home, then the sump pump won’t turn on without a backup. The battery backup will give some extra power to the pump and allow it to run until you’ve resolved the issue.  

Other Key Sump Pump Considerations 

Alongside the battery backup, a few other key components are essential for the sump pump's operation. Here's a quick breakdown of the features you should consider when selecting a pump: 

  • Check Valve 
    Your sump pump functions to drive water out of your sump basin and into your drainage system. Your check valve helps ensure that water only travels in one direction, preventing it from flowing back into the basin because of gravity. In doing so, it allows your sump pump to fulfill its function effectively and remove water from your home.  
  • Weep Hole 
    Weep holes help to prevent your sump pump from becoming air-locked. If your sump pump is air locked, it means that the air pressure in your discharge pipe is preventing any water from being drained. A small weep hole drilled into your discharge pipe will prevent this from happening and allow the sump pump to work correctly.  
  • Vents 
    Ventilation of your sump pump is a legal requirement in most states. You'll need a pipe that carries air out of your home, and this will stop it from causing a pressure imbalance in the pump. It will also help prevent any dangerous gases from building up in your home. 
  • Cover 
    Your sump pump should always have a gas-tight cover over the top to prevent moisture damage to the device. This will also help to stop any radon, which is present in some sump pumps, from spreading into your home and causing health issues. 
  • GFCI Outlet 
    GFCI outlets are specialist electrical outlets that will shut off automatically in the event of an issue. They're commonly used in bathrooms and other wet areas to prevent electrical fires and are particularly useful for sump pumps which are literally surrounded by water. If you don’t have a GFCI outlet or plug, then you’ll need to ask an electrician to help you install one.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Does every house need a sump pump? 

No, but more houses than you think will benefit from them. If you live in a low-lying area where flooding is an issue or have previously experienced water issues, you should consider installing one.  

Do you need a sump pump for a walkout basement? 

Walkout basements are basements that you can use to enter and leave your home. Sump pumps are usually needed for these walkouts as you have half the basement above ground and the other half below. This means you can suffer from excess groundwater and be hit by bad weather.  

Is there an alternative option to a sump pump? 

Yes, there are a few other solutions, but they can end up being more complex and more expensive than installing a sump pump. Waterproofing can help stop water from getting into your home, but it can be difficult to maintain. French drains with sloped pipes can work well but won’t catch all of the water. Larger jobs like landscaping and grading can also help, but they involve a lot of groundwork to slope the earth around your home.  

Do you need a permit to install a sump pump? 

No, in most cases, you don't need a permit to install a sump pump. If the installation involves any structural changes or electrical work, you may need a permit, and you will need to check your local regulations or consult with a professional.  


Not every home will need a sump pump, but many homes will benefit from having one. They provide protection and peace of mind, and they usually keep working with very little maintenance or upkeep. Hopefully this guide has helped explain how sump pumps work and given you a better idea of whether you need one or not.