It's hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. When it does finally get here and you venture down into the basement to get out your summer gear, hopefully you will not have to put on your fishing waders prematurely.
Having a sump pump installed in your home can give you peace of mind. A sump pump is commonly installed in the basement of your home or crawl space to remove water that may accumulate from rain, snow melt or natural ground water, especially this time of year as the ground begins to thaw out.
In many homes, a sump pump is an integral part of the foundation drainage system so a failure could be catastrophic. Five to seven years is the typical life span of a sump pump, but this will vary based on usage. The pump may fail unexpectedly or be unable to keep up during periods of heavy rain, leaving your basement vulnerable to costly water damage.
Following are some of the most common sump pump problems and what you can do to avoid a basement flood:
AVOID WATER — draining toward your home’s foundation. Check gutters for frozen ice and make sure none of your hose bibs froze over the winter.
POWER FAILURE — Like any other electric appliance in your house, your primary sump pump is no different: Without power, it is completely worthless. Install an alarm or electronic level control switch for added insurance against failure. Even more fool-proof is having a sump pump system installed. A licensed and insured plumber can take your peace of mind to the next level.
SWITCH WAS STUCK — Not all switches are created equal. There are several different types of sump float switches. Some are much better against getting stuck, a good reason to have your sump pump checked for the correct switch for your pump.
PUMP WAS OVERWHELMED — Not all sump pumps are equal, and you get what you pay for. Minimally, you need a 1/3 horsepower sump pump capable of pumping 35 gallons of water per minute. Much less horsepower than that and your sump pump might not be able to keep up with the flow of water. If your house sits in a higher water table and/or if you hear your sump pump running frequently, upgrade to a 1/2 horsepower pump (which can typically pump about 60 gallons per minute). To be completely safe, invest in a full system sump pump, which most definitely includes a battery back-up.
SUMP DISCHARGE PIPE FROZE — If the pipe isn’t pitched properly, water will collect and eventually freeze, causing a blockage. Because what goes up must come down, the water falls right back into your sump pit. When the pit continues to fill up, the water has no place to go but all over your basement floor. Making sure this area has adequate heat will solve
EACH SPRING is a great time to have your sump pump checked to make sure it is working properly before the rains come. To help with this, make sure it is plugged in properly, then remove the lid from the pump. Remove this and pour in about a gallon of water or so, and it should kick on.
OLD AGE means time just flies by these days, Sump pumps should be replaced every five to seven years to be reasonably safe. The phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” will certainly catch up with you. The expense of cleaning up after a flood and your time will be 10-fold over the cost of replacement. Important to know when it is time to replace, and be proactive.
A failed sump pump can lead to a ‘huge costly mess’ and many insurance policies may not cover this type of water damage from a failed pump. Regular maintenance and testing of your sump pump is crucial in saving your time and money in the long run. My Service Technicians are always available to give you peace of mind.
Whether you are in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, Columbia Falls or anywhere else in the Flathead Valley. . .As always, your Safety and Comfort is our Central concern. Call 406-756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.