You Need a Sump Pump… But It’s Not Enough by Itself

You Need a Sump Pump… But It’s Not Enough by Itself

It’s estimated by the American Society of Home Inspectors that 60% of US homes have wet basements. Those aren’t great odds, and water damage can be expensive. A flood can cost thousands of dollars. Even if your basement isn’t finished or prone to flooding, small amounts of moisture can lead to mold and potential health problems over time.

The obvious answer is to install a sump pump, which pushes excess ground water away from your house. These pits usually sit below the main surface of your basement and collect water, pumping it out once it reaches a certain level.

While sumps pumps provide you with some peace of mind, it’s important for homeowners to take additional steps to protect their home from unwanted moisture.  Spending just a little time or money now can save you a lot in the future.

Back it Up

Depending on where you live and the height of your water table, you may need a second sump pump to keep your basement dry – especially during periods of heavy rain. Every inch of rain generates about 1000 gallons of water that comes down off your roof and surrounds your foundation. This backup sump pump can be a lifesaver if your primary pump stops working or becomes overwhelmed. If you have a finished basement, it’s highly recommended.

Sump pumps are powered by electricity, so they stop working during a power failure or when a circuit gets tripped or a fuse is blown. Clearly, you don’t want your sump pump to turn off when the power goes out during a bad rain storm. To ensure that it stays on when you need it the most, install a 120-volt battery backup that can run for up to six hours during a power outage.

Take Care of It

Don’t wait for a heavy rain to learn that your sump pump isn’t working properly. Test your sump pump regularly by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. If it doesn’t start immediately, something isn’t right.

On an annual basis, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a professional to make sure that the float arm or pressure sensor is functioning, pipes are tightly fastened and clean of debris, and the vent hole is clear. Depending on the model, most sump pumps need to be replaced every 5-10 years, but regular maintenance can extend their lives.

Be Proactive

While you’re considering sump pumps inside of your house, don’t forget about steps you can take to minimize water damage from outside your home. There are many things you can do to divert water from your home to reduce the work your sump pump needs to do. For example, downspouts should be extended 3-6 feet away from your house. Don’t forget to clean your gutters every spring and fall, and be sure to install window well covers, seal cracks in your foundation, and make sure that your yard grade slopes down away from your home.

Also, do you know what’s worse than water in your basement? Sewage. During periods of heavy rainfall, sewers or septic systems can become overwhelmed. Be sure to have

Be prepared.

If all else fails and you get water in your basement, you want to know as soon as possible to minimize the damage. For a small investment, you can install a water alarm that will detect water and alert you. While some simply make noise, many models will connect with your broader security system to alert you even when you’re out of town.