Sump Pumps

Sump pumps move water out of the foundation and transfer it a safe distance away from the home to prevent basement flooding.  Every basement should have a sump pump.  We receive calls for flooded basements that have resulted from many issues that could have been prevented with a properly functioning sump pump.

I am always surprised when I find a home with a basement that does not have one, but there are many.  Eventually water finds its way to the basement through a wall crack or raised water table and results in a lot of water on the basement floor with no good way to get it out. 

Often maintenance of sump pumps installed in basements are ignored until they fail to work.  Again, resulting in a lot of water in the basement.  If the homeowner notices that the sump pump is not “kicking on” as the water level rises in the sump basin, or if the sump pump is ten years or older it is time to get a new one.  Sump pumps do not generally last more than ten years.

It is important that outside gutters, walkways, patios and decks drain away from your home.  These can dump a great deal of water down the outside wall of your basement if they drain toward your foundation.  There have been many cases where we have raised concrete to make the natural flow of water away from the foundation rather than toward it.

Drain tile is needed around the parameter of the basement.  Once the water reaches the bottom of the exterior foundation the drain tile diverts the water into the sump pump basin, where the pump pumps it out and away from the home.  Additionally, some homes need drain tile on the inside parameter of the basement, particularly if there is a high water table that can fill underneath the floor with water.

If a sump pump is installed in a regularly wet environment where it runs quite often, a secondary of back up sump pump should be installed.  This is particularly true if you have a finished basement with living space.  If the primary sump pump fails the secondary back up will take over and continue to remove the water from your basement. 

Another advantage of a backup sump pump is one that has a battery backup.  If there is an electrical failure the battery backup will take over for a few hours.  In addition, the battery backup system has an alarm that will sound if there is a system failure.

Test your sump pumps regularly to make sure your basement is safe from flooding.

Sump pump photo above approved for use by State Farm.