They say, “April Showers Bring May Flowers”, but April downpours can also lead to flooded basements. Now that spring has arrived, frequent and unpredictable downpours are the norm. Responsible homeowners should be checking now to ensure their sump pump is in proper working order.
What is a sump pump? Do I have one?
No, it’s not a new version of the fist pump or the chest bump. A sump pump is a device that moves water from your basement, out of your home. A sump pit is a constructed pit—a hole carved below the surface of your basement floor. This pit, also known as a basin, houses a pump that is equipped with floats and valves that sense rising water levels. When the water gets too high, the sump pump automatically removes excess water from the basement and away from your house using a discharge line, keeping your basement dry.
Sump pumps are typically found in the corner of your basement, sometimes in a closet. It will look like a round hole in the ground. If you have one, you should make sure it is working properly.
DID YOU KNOW: Newer backup systems can actually connect to your home’s wifi which allows you to receive high-water and low-battery alerts right on your phone. Learn more about this awesome feature at zoellerpumps.com.
Here are some common sump pump issues to check for and how to fix them:
1. Power Outage or Battery Back-Up Failure
If your system doesn’t have a battery backup, we highly recommend adding one. Sump pumps are needed most in a severe storm when power may be knocked out. Having a backup power source will keep your pump working properly when it’s most needed. Make sure your battery is charged and your pump still operates when the power is disconnected. Also, confirm the fuse to the pump is not blown by attaching a light to the pump outlet and checking the circuit breaker or fuse box.
2. Pump Not Turning On
Slowly dump a large bucket of water into the sump to raise the float, making sure the pump turns on. If not, you may have a burned-out motor or another issue with the pump, requiring repair or replacement.
3. Pump Turns On, But Doesn’t Remove Water
Sometimes, the intake or discharge areas can become clogged. To check this, first unplug the unit. Remove the pump from the sump pit, clean it, and check for debris blocking either the intake or the discharge line. If your unit is operating but no water is being pumped out of the house, you may have a clog in your discharge line between the sump pump and outside. If the clog isn’t immediately obvious, we can help diagnose the problem.
Sump Pump Backup Options
Water Jet Backup System
Your sump pump can actually be powered by municipal water eliminating the need for electricity. By using pressurized water, this type of system can actually “suck” water out of the basin using gravity. The downside is, it requires a backflow device which requires a yearly inspection. Many older homes are not equipped with this and would require additional work by a professional.
The most common backup system utilizes a 12 volt battery similar to what you would find in your vehicle. The battery will keep a charge so that in the event of a power failure, the sump pump can still kick on. It is simple, and easy to maintain. Be sure to replace the battery every 4-5 years to avoid the battery losing a charge. While these systems are easier to install relative to the water-powered option, they do sometimes require a professional.
The good news is that BOTH backup systems are cheaper than a flooded basement. Its always better to be proactive when it comes to your home’s plumbing system.
If you need help with your backup system, or just want to learn more about sump-pumps, you can always give us a call!
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