Sump pump?

I live in a one-story townhouse, with a crawlspace underneath, in Santa Clara, California (south San Francisco bay area). Every winter, when the rains come, I get water in the crawlspace; just a few inches or so, but enough that I'm concerned about it.
I've been looking into installing a sump pump, but the automatic ones I've seen at Home Depot all looked like they'd require about 9-12 inches of water before they'd kick in.
First: am I overly worried? Is it just okay to live with 3-4 inches of water under my house for 5 months out of the year? I polled a couple neighbors in adjoining units, and neither of them have pumps, and both have the water issue.
Second: if I should get a pump, any recommendations for a pump that would activate with just a couple inches of water?
I should add that the crawlspace is pretty inaccessible, so a switched pump is really not an option.
Thanks.
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Dig a hole and install a sump pit to put the pump into. Greg
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Terry Carroll wrote:

First I suggest looking at fixing the problem. Keep the water out in the first place. That means making sure the ground slopes away from your home in ALL directions for at least 15 feet. Make sure down spouts are directed away from your home.
Ok if that does not do it, then you put your sump pump into a . . . Sump!
sump (smp) n. 1.a. A low-lying place, such as a pit, that receives drainage. b. A cesspool. 2. A hole at the lowest point of a mine shaft into which water is drained in order to be pumped out.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Also, your pump will probably be pumping our water for all the units which have water. Water will seek the lowest point and after you pump out your water, you will then be the lowest point for all the other water to collect. A friends father used to always say, "you can stop a fire, but you can't stop water."
Joseph Meehan wrote:

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You have to dig a sump pit!

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