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Home » Sump Pumps 101: Protect Your Edmonton Home from Flooding

Sump Pumps 101: Protect Your Edmonton Home from Flooding

sump pumps edmonton

If you live in Edmonton or Sherwood Park, you’re no stranger to the snowmelt and eventual heavy rainstorms that we get starting at this time of year. Our office receives a lot of phone calls from homeowners in the area concerned about flooding in their basement or crawlspace, which can often lead to unplanned renovations to repair the damage. Basement flooding can be avoided by maintaining your sump pump to remove excess water from under the house and potential overflowing water.

If you’ve never heard the words “sump pump” before or if are unsure about what they do or how they work, you’re in the right place! This quick guide will give you insight on what sump pumps are, types of pumps available, how to test your pump, and the technology available to help ensure your pump is working.

What is a sump pump?

In a nutshell, a sump pump is used to discharge excess water from your basement or crawlspace, so it doesn’t damage your home’s foundation. Sump pumps don’t prevent water from accumulating. They are a defense mechanism for when other measures fail. Without the protection of a sump pump, families are at risk of paying costly repair bills as well as suffering negative health effects from mold and mildew growth from undetected flooding in closed-off spaces in the basement.

How does a sump pump get water out of my basement?

A Sump pump is part of the home’s foundation drainage system, and has been a building requirement in Edmonton since 1988. If a sump is not already installed in your older home and you are experiencing flooding, a contractor will need to come out and dig a sump pit. The sump pit is a  hole dug into the deepest part of your basement. It is then lined with a perferated tub or tube that will house  the pump.

The pump is then installed either in the sump pit or above ground depending on the type of pump being installed. Once installed, water around your home is collected in the sump pit. A pressure sensor or float activator arm triggers the pump when the water in the pit reaches a certain level. When activated, the pump forces the water outside your basement through an exterior discharge pipe.  

Think of a sump pump as the toilet of your basement. When the water reaches a certain level in the tank, the toilet flushes. The water empties from the bowl and is removed through the waste water line. After the tank is empty it refills with water and will be flushed out again.

Sump pumps for the Edmonton and Sherwood Park area.

There are two main categories of sump pumps – submersible and pedestal.


  • Can handle more water pressure – great for homes in a high flood zone
  • Filters debris to prevent clogging
  • 5-10 year life expectancy
  • Expensive and difficult to repair or replace


  • Motor of the pump sits at ground level above the sump pit
  • Loud and can cause inconvenience due to placement
  • Cheaper to repair
  • Can be less reliable – not meant to filter debris
  • 25-30 year life expectancy

Typical pre-2006 design. Courtesy City of Edmonton.                 

Typical post-2006 design. Courtesy City of Edmonton.

Looking for a professional to help you with your Edmonton or Sherwood Park home renovations? Let our team help you give your home new life.

How do I know if my sump pump is working?

It can be hard to tell if your pump is functioning, especially if it is a submersible one. The easiest way to check if your pump is working is to fill a bucket with water and pour it into the pit. When the float activator rises, you should be able to hear the water running and see it draining out of the pit. .If the pit is dry, you can lift the float to engage the pump, or separate the two plugs at the wall outlet and plug in the cord that that is connected to the side of the main plug. If it turn on, you’re good to go. Reconnect the wires as they were. If you still don’t hear the pump engage or see the water moving, call a professional to come perform a maintenance check on you sump.

Sump pump alarms can save you a lot of trouble.

For most of us, maintaining a sump pump is not top-of-mind. Luckily, you can buy an alarm that will go off if your pump system goes out of order. The alarm will let you know when the water in the pit is not draining as well as when the system clogs or is not receiving power. An alarm will give you peace of mind that your basement will remain dry and help you avoid huge, unexpected repair or renovation costs.

At Lambert Brothers Construction, we understand the importance of keeping your home safe and dry. If by chance you’ve had a flood due to a malfunctioning sump pump or other water damage we are here to help.

If you’re looking to get some work done around the house but aren’t sure where to start, check out our free home maintenance guide. This download is packed with tips on how to guard your home from water damage, reduce energy costs, and improve home safety. We’ve even included a yearly maintenance schedule to help you keep up with seasonal tasks.

Regular home maintenance is the best way to ensure your home stays dry –  don’t wait until it’s too late – download our free home maintenance guide now to ensure your home is ready for anything!

Download our free home maintenance guide!

     • Reduce energy costs
     • Prevent damage
     • Improve home safety and air quality
     • Save money in the long-run
Includes an easy to follow yearly schedule!

Download our free home maintenance guide!

   • Reduce energy costs
   • Prevent damage
   • Improve home safety and air quality
   • Save money in the long-run
Includes an easy to follow yearly schedule!