We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Sump Pit?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A sump pit is a hole that is designed to collect water and other spilled fluids. One of the most classic locations for one is a basement, where is can wick water away to ensure that the basement does not flood. Typically, a pit is outfitted with a sump pump, a pump which is designed to periodically remove liquid from the pit to ensure that it does not overflow. Regular maintenance of both the pit and the pump is required to ensure that the system continues to work as it should.

In a basement, a sump pit can be vital. When the water table in the surrounding area is higher than the basement, water can leach into the basement, causing a variety of problems. Water can also drain into the basement during periods of heavy rainfall, especially if a home's gutters are not well-maintained, allowing water to drain freely in a variety of places. If water is allowed to flood a basement, it can cause significant water damage, encourage the growth of mold, and potentially create a health hazard, if allowed to stand.

Basement sump pits are drilled into the floor and typically lined with brick or concrete. A grill or grating allows water to flow into the pit while allowing people to walk over it, and the sump pump connects either to a storm drain, or to the municipal sewer system. Typically, the pump is equipped with a float that causes the pump to click on during periods of flooding. It may also have a manual lever which allows people to pump when the power goes out.

Sump pits are used in locations other than basements to catch a variety of materials. Auto body shops, for example, may use one to trap spilled oil, fuel, and other fluids. They may also be used to catch hazardous waste in hospitals and other medical facilities, in which case special care must be taken when maintaining them.

In addition to collecting fluids, these pits can gather small debris, and sometimes algae may grow inside. Therefore, it is necessary for someone to periodically scour a pit and to clean the components of the pump, taking special care to ensure that the tubes of the pump are not clogged. While this task can be unpleasant, flooding is far more undesirable, and if done regularly, cleaning the system should not take too long.

When cleaning a sump pit, individuals should make sure that the pump is disconnected from a power source and wear heavy gloves to keep their hands clean. They may also want to bring a portable workshop light so that they can clearly see the area, along with a tarp to lay the pump out on while cleaning the pit. When the pit is clean and the person has replaced the pump, he should check to make sure that the float is moving freely.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon998073 — On Apr 06, 2017

If the bottom of sump is plumbed to sewer, the waste water will also flow from sewer to sump pit during heavy sewage.

By anon188416 — On Jun 20, 2011

The sump pit is below the sewer or storm line, that is the reason it exists. Above the drainage lines you will not traditionally have a sump.

By anon179771 — On May 24, 2011

Most homeowners insurance policy do not include sump overflow coverage so be sure to check and see if you're covered for this type of loss!

By ThirstyBirdy — On Apr 12, 2011

@PerturbeD: If the storm drain or sewage line is buried at a level higher than the bottom of the sump pump pit, water that accumulates in the pit needs to be sent uphill to be diverted away from the house. Also, in areas that periodically receive heavy rainfall, the 4" pipes typically used for drainage can get overwhelmed and water needs to be removed from the pit faster than a small channel like that will allow.

By PerturbeD — On Apr 10, 2011

If the sump pump has to send the water to a storm drain or sewage line, why not have the bottom of the sump pit plumbed to do the same? Wouldn't that eliminate the need to install a sump pump?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.