Sump Pump 101

The American Society of Home Inspectors reports that more than 60% of U.S. homes are impacted by underground water and moisture problems. Water that accumulates around the foundation of homes produces significant pressure that can push through openings in basement floors and walls. It is this constant pushing and movement of water that over time damages foundations walls and floors. This is certainly true of our locale. In many parts of Arlington, you only have to dig a few feet to hit water after even a mild rain.

Over time if slower smaller basement water seepage is left untreated, a flooded basement can occur if given enough rain. Even before a flood, moisture in the basement promotes mold and mildew growth that can cause known health issues. Breathing complications and respiratory effects are often at the forefront of these.

Since 1987, all new construction in Arlington has been built with a line of defense. Older homes need to be retrofitted with same.

Sump pumps are placed inside a pit dug at the lowest part of your foundation. Drainage tiles (with the help of gravity) under your basement floor carry water to the pit and pump. The sump’s regulator is a float switch that operates opposite to those in toilet tanks, which cut off when water reaches a certain level. A sump’s float switch kicks on the motor at a set water level in the pit.

Lack of maintenance causes most sump failures. All mechanical items need to be checked, and these are no different. Pumps wear down, dry out, overheat, lose lubrication, or blow a circuit where they share the same one as another major appliance.

Most general contractors are unfamiliar with the specific practices and proceedures required to prevent a basement from flooding (hence so many basements having this problem).  This is where we shine as experts. And for a good cause. As Basement Detective has made a great name for itself providing solutions and guaranteed basement waterproofing and drainage / water management systems.


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  • WELCOME is an online resource of Basement Detective. We install and service sump pumps in Arlington County and other parts of Northern Virginia. To schedule a free inspection of your equipment, please call (703) 684-0860 or complete the contact form at the upper left. Under normal conditions, an inspector can be dispatched within 12 to 24 hours. Next day service is often available.