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Will a Sump Pump Keep a Basement Dry? - Everything You Need to Know

August 30, 2023

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Will a sump pump keep a basement dry? This is a common question from homeowners, especially those battling a persistently damp basement. A clean, dry space is vital for protecting anything in the basement, including appliances. It also means a more welcoming area and less risk of mold, rot, and other issues.

A sump pump is excellent for keeping a basement dry. However, this effectiveness depends on the source of the water or moisture, the pump’s capacity, and its installation. Also, it’s vital that you maintain it properly and consider a backup system if needed.

This is just a quick answer to the question, will a sump pump keep a basement dry? For more details on these pumps and their effectiveness, keep reading! Also, a basement waterproofing contractor is a great source for needed guidance when it comes to your home. They can recommend the best waterproofing solution for your needs and budget.

will a sump pump keep a basement dry

Will a Sump Pump Keep a Basement Dry?

A sump pump can be an effective tool for helping to keep a basement dry. However, its success depends on the design of the pump system and severity of the water issues. Also, you’ll need to consider the specific conditions of your basement. Check out a few other important points to keep in mind for sump pump installation:

Source of Water

Sump pumps are typically used to address groundwater infiltration. This includes water from rain, melting snow, or rising water tables. They are particularly effective in areas with high water tables or in regions prone to flooding.

On the other hand, sump pumps might not trap airborne humidity as effectively as a dehumidifier. Also, they might not capture water behind walls or in other areas of the basement. A waterproofing contractor can advise on the water source for sump pump effectiveness.

Proper Installation

For a sump pump to be effective, it needs to be properly installed. This includes excavating a sump pit in the lowest part of the basement and installing the pump within the pit. A contractor also needs to connect it to a drainage system to carry the water away from the foundation. Any mistakes in these steps can mean a poor-quality pump.

Pump Capacity

The capacity of the sump pump should be appropriate for the potential water flow in your area. If the pump is too small, it might not handle heavy rainfall or flooding events effectively. Your pump capacity is measured in gallons per hour or gallons per minute. Consider a higher capacity for areas prone to heavy floods.

Backup System

It's a good idea to have a backup sump pump system in case the primary pump fails. This can sometimes happen due to power outages or mechanical issues. Battery-powered backup pumps or water-powered backup systems ensure continuous operation.

In areas prone to outages, don’t rely on your sump pump’s power alone to remove water from the basement! Backup systems keep the pump working right when you need it most. In turn, you can avoid costly flood damage no matter the weather outside.


Regular maintenance is important to keep the sump pump functioning properly. This includes checking the pump, testing it periodically and cleaning the sump pit. You also need to regularly clear any debris from the drainage system. Regular maintenance also allows you to inspect the pump for needed repairs, or to note if it’s undersized for your home’s needs.

Basement Waterproofing

A sump pump can help manage water that enters the basement. However, it's also essential to address potential points of entry for water through proper basement waterproofing methods. This includes sealing cracks, applying waterproof coatings, and improving drainage around the foundation.

In summary, a sump pump can play a significant role in preventing water accumulation and flooding in a basement. On the other hand, it's just one component of a comprehensive approach to basement waterproofing. Here's how to find out if you need a sump pump.

a dry basement after waterproofing

Why Is There Water In My Basement When I Have a Sump Pump?

Even with a sump pump, there can be several reasons why water still enters your basement, including:

  • If the sump pump is not functioning properly due to mechanical issues, power outages, or a faulty float switch, it won't be able to effectively remove water from the sump pit.
  • If the sump pump is undersized for the amount of water entering the sump pit, it might not be able to keep up with heavy rainfall or high water tables.
  • If you have a backup sump pump system that relies on a battery or water-powered backup, and that system fails, it can leave your basement vulnerable to water infiltration.
  • The discharge pipe that carries water away from the sump pump needs to be clear and unobstructed. If it's clogged, water might not be able to exit the basement effectively.
  • If the sump pit wasn't installed properly or if the pump isn't positioned correctly, it can impact the pump's ability to remove water effectively.
  • If the basement hasn't been properly waterproofed with sealing, coatings, and proper drainage, water can still find its way in through cracks, gaps, or poorly sealed areas.
  • During extremely heavy rainfall or flooding events, the amount of water entering the basement might exceed the capacity of the sump pump system.
  • The sump pump's location within the basement might not be the most strategic, or the grading around the foundation might not direct water toward the sump pit effectively.

To address water issues in your basement, it's important to investigate their root causes. Some homes need a comprehensive solution to water. This might include basement waterproofing, added drainage, and regular sump pump maintenance. Together, these can ensure a clean, dry basement.

A Word From Our Basement Waterproofing Team

Basement Waterproofing of Rhode Island is happy to explain, will a sump pump keep a basement dry? Hopefully we’ve offered some good information for you to consider! Also, you can call our Rhode Island basement waterproofing contractor when you’re ready for a FREE waterproofing price quote. We offer expert services you’re sure to afford, so call now!


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