Waterproofing.org Basement Sump Pump System

Sump Pumps with battery back up pump

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Sump Pump
Because it's out of sight, many homeowners often forget about their sump pumps until it's too late and they're standing knee-deep in water," says David L. Weiner, executive director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Information Bureau, an industry group.

The sump pump, he points out, is a crucial line of defense against water seepage and flooding. He recommends checking out the pump every year as part of your regular spring cleaning routine.

Taking appropriate caution in working around water and electricity, follow this checklist from PHCIB:

Clean out any debris, garbage or buildup that may have worked its way into the sump since the last time the pump was used.

Connect a garden hose to the laundry tub sink, fill the sump pit with water, and see if the pump kicks on. If it doesn't, you may need to replace the switch. But first make sure the pump is plugged in or that a fuse hasn't blown.

While pumps don't have filters, they do have screens or small openings where the water flows in. Make sure this area is not plugged or clogged.

If you're in an area often affected by power outages, especially during severe thunderstorms, a battery-powered backup sump pump may be a good idea, says the PHCIB. This kind of pump will kick on if the primary pump shuts down or fails. When power is restored, the battery-operated pump stops. Some models automatically recharge themselves.

Although you'll have to spend some extra money for another unit and maybe a larger pit, it's definitely worth it," says David Rutz of Goulds Pumps, Inc., in Chicago, IL. "Many people use their basements for storage,
so every precaution should be taken to protect their valuables from water damage. Consider it an insurance policy."

Another safeguard suggested by the bureau is a sump pump alarm. It's designed to detect sump water levels before flooding occurs and emits a high-decibel alarm before the water can reach your basement floor. This can tip you off that the pump isn't working properly. Alarms can be either electrical or battery-operated.

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