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Do I Need a Sump Pump? [7 Signs to Look For]

July 11, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking, do I need a sump pump? These pumps are an excellent choice for most homes! First, they protect against flooding and resultant mold, wood rot, and more. Second, they compensate for poor grading and drainage issues.

Here are 7 signs that you might need a sump pump:

  1. Basement moisture and flooding
  2. Poor exterior drainage
  3. Persistent mold
  4. Wood rot
  5. Insect infestation
  6. Mildew under carpets
  7. Musty odors

To find out more about needing a sump pump on your property, keep reading! This information ensures you make the best decision for your home or business. Also, some added details can help when you speak to a basement waterproofing contractor. In turn, you’ll know your property is protected from the ground up.

Do I need a sump pump

Do I Need a Sump Pump? 7 Signs That It’s Time to Make That Call!

Before you go another day asking, do I need a sump pump, check out 7 signs that it’s time to make that call. Then, your waterproofing contractor can answer any other questions you have in more detail.

1. Basement moisture and flooding

Do you notice persistent dampness or standing water in your property’s basement or crawl space? If so, it’s probably time for a sump pump! These pumps are especially vital after heavy rain and to protect against melting snow. Dampness and flooding during these conditions indicate that water is seeping into the property.

A sump pump addresses these issues by removing excess water and directing it to a nearby drain. In turn, you’ll enjoy a dry basement space while avoiding water damage.

2. Poor exterior drainage

Poor drainage outside your property increases the risk of moisture seeping into the basement. Also, for homes with crawl spaces, those spaces trap and hold moisture. In turn, this risks wood rot and damage to pipes and wires under the structure.

A sump pump addresses poor drainage by managing water accumulation around a property’s foundation. First, the sump pump uses a float or sensor to detect rising water levels in its connected pit. Second, when the water reaches a certain level, this activates the pump.

The activated pump draws water from the pit and pumps it through a discharge pipe or hose. This pipe extends away from the property, directing the water to a nearby drainage area.

Signs of poor exterior drainage include:

  • Standing water or puddles forming in your yard, particularly after rain or snowmelt.
  • Soggy or wet soil, even during dry periods.
  • Soil erosion, which often indicates that water is flowing with force.
  • Cracks in foundation walls often indicate hydrostatic pressure, a common problem with properties with inadequate drainage.
  • Clogged or overflowing gutters and downspouts might indicate poor soil drainage.
  • Previous water damage and frequent flooding.

3. Persistent mold

Water collecting around a home’s foundation or in the crawl space or basement often risks mold. Remember, mold grows quickly in damp, dark spaces. On the other hand, drying out those spaces helps stop mold in its tracks!

If you notice mold growing consistently around first-floor walls or behind upholstered furniture, this often signals excess moisture. A sump pump can remove that moisture as it accumulates, keeping spaces dry. In turn, you’re less likely to see mold growth throughout your property.

Do I need a sump pump

4. Wood rot

Wood framing absorbs excessive moisture inside and outside a home. In turn, it might begin to rot and weaken. You might notice squeaking, groaning, and creaking along walls and floorboards. Also, some property owners can notice rotting wood smells! Don’t overlook these issues but have your property checked for needed waterproofing.

5. Insect infestation

Property owners often know that food waste and trash attract insects, rodents, and other pests. However, those unwanted guests also search out water sources as well as food! In turn, excessive moisture can mean insect infestations. A sump pump can remove that water and create a less welcoming space for pests.

Check out some signs of insect infestation to consider around your property:

  • Live or dead insects in your home are the most obvious sign of infestation. Check your kitchen, bathrooms, and windowsills for ants, cockroaches, or flies.
  • Termites, carpenter ants, or wood-boring beetles risk damage around framing, doors, and even furniture. Don’t overlook hollowed-out wood surfaces and sagging floors when checking for insects.
  • Insects and rodents often leave behind small, pellet-like droppings. You might also notice dark stains on surfaces including countertops, walls, and floors.
  • Insects especially can damage houseplants, chewing on their leaves and leaving behind toxic droppings. If you notice plant damage around your home, consider if it’s an infestation!
  • Some insects leave tracks or trails behind as they move. Look for tiny footprints, grease marks, or irregular patterns along baseboards, walls, or surfaces.

6. Mildew under carpets

Trapped moisture risks mildew under carpets and along upholstered furniture. As with mold, mildew thrives in dark, damp spaces! In turn, excess moisture in a basement or crawl space makes its way up to a structure’s subflooring, risking mildew growth.

In addition to musty, unpleasant odors, check out some other signs of mildewed carpet and upholstery in your home:

  • Mildew growth can cause carpet warping or bubbling in certain areas. If you notice these irregularities, don’t assume it’s time for new carpeting! Instead, check for moisture buildup underneath the carpet.
  • Mildew growth also risks discoloration and stains on the surface of the carpet. This can mean dark spots or patches that look different from the rest of the carpet. You might especially notice these in areas with higher humidity levels.
  • Mildew can trigger allergic reactions! In turn, note if anyone in the home experiences increased sneezing, coughing, or nasal congestion. If you’ve ruled out other causes, check the carpeting for mildew.
  • Damp walls, peeling paint, or carpets feeling wet can indicate the risk of mildew growth.

7. Musty odors

Moisture buildup in the home often means musty odors. These result from mildew along fabric or carpet fibers, mold, and damp wood. Standing water also becomes stagnant, creating unpleasant smells. Rather than trying to cover up those odors, consider waterproofing, including a sump pump installation.

Does Every Crawl Space Need a Sump Pump?

Whether or not a crawl space requires a sump pump depends on the property’s location. Your location considers average climate, water levels, and other factors. However, consider when you might invest in a sump pump for your crawl space:

  • Does the crawl space experience frequent water intrusion? Heavy rainfall, poor exterior drainage, or high water table levels often mean crawl space flooding.
  • Persistent dampness and humidity levels and especially if these mean mold and rot, indicate needed waterproofing! Additionally, a contractor might also recommend encapsulation, a dehumidifier, and added ventilation.
  • Note if water naturally flows towards the crawl space or collects around the foundation. Poor drainage, low-lying properties, and other issues can mean it’s time for a sump pump installation.
  • What is your property’s flood risk? Properties located near lakes, rivers, or wetlands are often more prone to flooding. In turn, a sump pump can protect your property against water intrusion.

Do I need a sump pump

What Is the Alternative to a Sump Pump?

Property owners have some sump pump alternatives that help keep basements and crawl spaces dry and stable. Consider a few of those here:

  • Crawl space encapsulation involves sealing the crawl space with thick plastic sheeting. Also, a contractor might seal off vents and insulate walls. This process prevents moisture buildup, improves air quality, and reduces the need for a sump pump.
  • A new drainage system can divert water away from a property’s foundation and prevent moisture buildup. French drains use perforated pipes and gravel to collect and channel water to a sump pit or drainage outlet. Exterior surface grading also redirects water away from the foundation.
  • Additionally, a contractor might regrade the soil and install downspout extensions. These also help prevent moisture buildup around a property’s foundation.
  • Waterproof coatings or sealants help prevent moisture intrusion. These create a barrier against water and minimize the amount that enters the crawl space or basement.
  • Dehumidifiers are an excellent choice for basements and crawl spaces. For a basement, you can typically buy a high-quality dehumidifier from any home improvement store! Contractors can install exterior dehumidifiers for crawl spaces.
  • In some cases, increasing natural ventilation in the crawl space or basement helps reduce moisture. You might install vents to the exterior or exhaust fans. These promote airflow and prevent stagnant water in the basement or crawl space.

A Word From Our Crew

Basement Waterproofing of Rhode Island is happy to help answer the question, do I need a sump pump? Hopefully, we’ve given you some great information to consider! Also, call our Rhode Island basement waterproofing contractors when you’re ready for a FREE quote. We’ll perform a complete inspection, explain your options, and get started quickly. To find out more, reach out today.


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