What is Elevator Sump Pump and how it works?

In the initial years of my life, one of the things that fascinated me the most were elevators. The idea of a small room that magically teleported people to different floors was beyond me. However, one day my dad got a call from his boss who informed him of an urgent crisis at work and called him in instantly. My dad, who was a mechanic, took me with him to help him out with his work. And that was the day I found out that the elevators were not magic but had a reasonable and logical explanation for what they did and how they did it.

Elevator Sump Pump

I was dumbfounded when my dad disengaged the elevator and lifted the carriage upwards to expose a small compartment half-filled with dank muddy water. Naturally, I asked my dad a few questions and luckily, he answered them all in detail.

I soaked up all the information like a sponge and grew up to become a mechanic myself. What I learned from my father coupled up with years of my own practice with elevator sump pumps is summarized below. If you are interested to know more about it, keep on reading!

Elevator Sump Pump Working Mechanism

Elevator Sump Pump

The Need of Elevator Sump Pump

All elevators have pits just below the last floor. This pit accommodates all the chains and pulleys that move the carriage up and down different floors of the building. Now, the thing is, this pit can accumulate flood/rainwater during a heavy downpour. You can not possibly poke a bucket into the pit to get the water out. So a permanent solution to this problem comes in the form of a sump pump.

On the other hand, if the water is allowed to accumulate in the elevator pit for days on end, it will have disastrous impacts on the entire building. As you may already know, dark damp places are an ideal situation for the growth of tiny microbes, which infect the foundations of the building, thus weakening it to the point that the entire structure of the building collapses in the worst-case scenario.

How Does An Elevator Sump Pump Work?

The mechanistic workings of a sump pump are quite simple. It has a sump pump basin just underneath the sump pump. This sump pump basin collects all the underground water that seeps through the soil under the building. When the water reaches a certain level, the float switch is triggered which starts the motor of the sump pump. As a result, water is pushed upwards towards the drainage pipe which leads the water out of and away from the building. However, it does not lead directly to the sewage water system but rather indirectly.

FAQs about Elevator Sump Pumps

Why does an elevator need a sump pump?

A hole in the ground can only do so much as collect water. The same goes for elevator pits, but the standing water in an elevator pit can prove to be very harmful as it will definitely start to weaken the foundation. So, to avoid all such problems the Elevator Safety Orders require you to install a sump pump in the elevator pit. This sump pump will push the water up into a drainage pipe when the water reaches above a certain specified limit. However, the law clearly states that neither the sump pump nor the drainage pipe should be directly connected to the sewer.

Do all elevators need a sump pump?

As per the Elevator Safety Orders, it is stated that all the elevators that have a Firefighter Emergency Operation should have a drain or a sump pump. The sump pump will clear away all the accumulated water from the elevator pit thus, making it safer for the firefighters to cross through. For a sump pump to work efficiently and effectively in an elevator it should have a capacity to pump the water at the rate of at least three thousand gallons of water per hour.

Do lift pits need drainage?

Yes, lift pits do need regular drainage otherwise it may lead up to quite a lot of problems. An elevator pit is a compartment-like place just below the lowest floor of the elevator. This compartment is fitted with carriage slugs that hold the elevator in place and lets it slide up and down different floors of the building. Heavy rainwater can accumulate inside that pit, which, if allowed to stand longer, can spread water molds throughout the building. So, for the safety of the entire building and its foundation, the Elevator Safety Orders require sump pumps to be installed.

Where do you discharge an elevator sump pump?

Like any other sump pump, an elevator sump pump discharges into the sanitary or storm drainage system. However, the major difference is that it does not drain into the sanitary drainage system directly but rather indirectly. It ensures the safe disposal of unsanitary water.

What oil goes in an elevator sump pump?

In my opinion, the best oil for an elevator sump pump is ISO 30 Turbine oil because it is highly inexpensive and does a great job of lubricating the gears of the sump pump motor. As a result, the sump pump motor runs smoothly and efficiently without dissipating much-needed fuel. Moreover, a well-greased sump pump motor always exhibits a higher flow rate as compared to the non-greased ones.

Final Thoughts about Elevator Sump Pump

In conclusion, it is safe to say that an elevator sump pump is not just a necessity but is also required by Elevator safety laws. It will keep the foundations of the building dry. But not all elevators are required to have a sump pump, only the ones with Firefighter Emergency Operation must have a sump pump. In any case, if you do decide to install a sump pump in your building’s elevator, you’d better keep it well oiled and properly maintained.


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