23 Aug

Are sumps and pumps that bad? Let’s find out.

Category:Home Maintenance

Sumps and pumps have always suffered a bad reputation among homeowners and real estate agents. They believe it’s best to walk away from houses with sumps. But are they really problematic? A home inspector in Katy can easily answer this question during the inspection. Why? Because the reliability and safety of a sump system vary from house to house. Let’s look at this system to understand the issue here. 

Understanding sumps and pumps

A sump is essentially a basket or a bucket that collects water. It is usually about 3 feet deep but can go up to 6 feet if the water tables are high enough. The sump usually has a cover to avoid drowning accidents. The system is completed with a sump pump and drains tile. 

A sump pump helps clear the air away from the sump bucket; in some houses, the system is used to pump water into a water tank. Drain tile is a series of pipes that encloses most of the foundation. The pipes are either plastic or clay and have holes and open joints. The tile can be installed in the exterior or interior of the foundation, while the pipes end in the sump. 

The grief over sumps and pumps

Earlier, the drain tile systems were made of clay tiles that are then placed directly on the dirt. The brittle material and open pipes caused silt to plug the system. In some cases, the tiles got damaged. Even today, some houses have this system in place. This is the source of most people’s grief over sumps and pumps. 

Yet another sump and pump system that causes unease is the beaver system. This type has a plastic diverting glued on top of the basement floor slab. Holes drilled into the surface allow the water to be drained. This low-quality system can fail and wet the basement if the diverter’s glue comes off.

Are sumps and pumps that bad, though?

While the old systems are unreliable, the newer ones are not. The new systems come with embedded gravel systems and durable plastic pipes with holes and silt cover. With these new features, the sump is more secure and reliable. In the new system, the sump pump will be discharged into the yard. Some varieties may also come with additional battery backup pumps for emergency use. 


As bad a reputation as the sumps and pumps seem to have, this system is not all that bad. While worrisome arrangements exist, the newer systems are much more reliable. The difference between the two is something a home inspector can tell you clearly. Having this awareness can help you make the right choice for your house. 

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