The Inside Outside Guys: Sump Pumps

By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein

DETROIT, August 19, 2021 ~ Moving water from one location to another has been a primary concern for mankind since the dawn of time.

Devices were developed to furnish water to the king’s fountains, remove water from mines so they could be safely worked and to lift water from deep holes for drinking.

The task is so important that a modernized version of a water well pump used in Zimbabwe is considered a national treasure and was memorialized on a stamp in 1997. The basics of a screw-type pump design created by Greek mathematician Archimedes are still in use today.

More recently in the Midwestern area of the United States, water pumps have been used to drain the soils that surround our below ground fruit cellars, more often characterized as “basements.”

Basements developed as a convenient way to store foodstuffs and rain water below the house. If an occasional rain caused water to accumulate “down the stairs” it was not a real inconvenience to the dirt floor.

As we started to use the space for more sophisticated tasks, it became important to consider keeping moisture and active water out of the basement. We started to “damp-proof” the exterior walls by applying tar to them before back filling. We then started to run a tile pipe around the perimeter at the base of the foundation to collect active water in the soils.

For more housing advice, listen to the “Inside Outside Guys every Saturday and Sunday on News / Talk 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to noon or contact us at