*Sump pumps 101*
Sump pumps pump out ground water from our basements and/or crawlspaces. There is always an established water table which means ground water is always present at some depth. If that depth is near or above our footing and foundation walls, it should be removed to prevent water seepage into the lower portion of our homes. When rain is present this water table rises due to the saturation of the ground. This is usually why we here our sump pumps running more often when it’s raining outside. Now keep in mind that the pit that the sump pump is in, is in the ground. There is drain tile (perforated piping) around the perimeter of your home in the ground that picks up the ground water and conveys it to the sump pit.
*Sump Pump Maintenance*
Ok, let’s talk maintenance. Maintenance? Yes maintenance! Most of us take the pleasure of hearing our sump pump running because we then know it’s working. But there are things we can look for and be proactive about. The thing about your sump pump is, you want to get as much life as you can out of it but not have to replace it in an emergency. Emergencies cost more money and cause damage which also costs more money. Here are some things to look for…
• Age. This is an easy one, any pump that is more than 6-8 years old should be replaced.
• Condition. If you peek in your sump pit and your sump pump looks rusty or it’s hard to even see your pump you may need to consider replacement.
• Loud unusual noise. If your pump is making sound that it never used to there may be something stuck in the impeller which may break your pump.
• Constant running. This is usually the condition of a stuck float switch. If the goes on for more than a few minutes in can burn out your pump’s motor.
• Debris in sump pit. If there are foreign objects or debris floating in the water of your sump pit, it needs to be removed. It can get sucked into the impeller or prevent the float switch from operating correctly.
• Inspect the piping and check valve for wear and leaks.
• There should be a small spray coming from the pump or discharge line in the pit when the pump runs. This is a weep hole, it is necessary to prevent air lock from happening.
• Check the outlet. Sump pumps need electricity to run, make certain the outlet it is plugged into is good condition and not over used by other devices.
• Discharge pipe should be piped directly to the outside of your home not into your sewer pipe.
One sump pump plugged into an outlet is the most basic protection from ground water flooding your basement. There are more options to increase the protection and give your home a little more insurance. If your basement is a finished living space, you should consider adding more defense. Here are some more choices you may need to add and/or maintain…
• A second pump in the pit. If one pump fails for one reason or another a backup pump is there to take the place of the primary. Or if one pump cannot handle the large volume of inflow a second pump will also kick on to pump.
• Battery backup. This allows the pump(s) to run in the case of a power outage. Although not forever, hopefully long enough till power is restored. These batteries should be replaced every three years.
• Whole house generator. Having a generator for your home will kick on when electricity power is lost. This will run indefinitely because it powered by natural gas, a continuous supply of fuel. The key is to make sure the outlet in which the pump is plugged into is covered by the generator.
Sump pumps play an important part in your home’s operation. Keeping your basement and/or crawlspace dry is a necessity. It protects the health of your family, your home’s value and personal belongings. Call us today for a 13-point sump pump check.