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Sump Pumps need to be checked regularly

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, June 05, 2010

If you have already lived through the dreaded experience of a flooded basement, then you know how much damage it can cause. Even one inch of water can take many hours to clean up and causes thousands of dollars in damaged furniture and carpets. Installing a sump pump in your basement is your best defense to prevent flooding.

Basement flooding is most often caused by water build up in the soil that makes its way into your basement. There are many ways for water to enter and many ways to prevent it from entering. A sump pump on the other hand is a last defense against flooding because it pumps out water from the lowest section of the basement before the water level reaches the basement floor level. As groundwater level rises it is diverted into the sump hole. When the water reaches what is called ‘the critical level’, the sump pump begins to pump it out through a pipe that leads outside and away from your foundation.

Apart from the obvious damages to your belongings, flooding can also cause plumbing problems, a damaged foundation or rotted wood, all which can bring down the value of your home. A sump pump can save you thousands of dollars in the long run by maintaining the value of your home and by protecting your belongings from water damage.

The sump pump has become more important especially in newer homes since the Federal Clean Water Act no longer allows builders in many municipalities to drain rainwater collected by gutters into sewerage systems. Water collected on the roof of your home and drained by your gutters can cause flooding if it is not carried carried far enough away from your foundation.

It is important to check your sump pump regularly to make sure that it is in proper working condition.

  • Remove the cover and slowly pour water into the sump tank.
  • Watch for the "float" to rise and trigger the pump.
  • Once the pump is engaged, the water level will quickly lower and the float will shut off the pump.

This is what is called "a normal sump cycle". Most problems with the sump pump are float related. If the pump does not start, the float may be hanging on something in the tank. A simple repositioning of the pump should solve the problem.

If this fails, the float may need replacement.  If the pump fails to shut off when the water level drops to the bottom of the sump tank, this indicates a new float is needed.


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