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6 Reasons Why Your Sump Pump Isn't Working During a Hard Freeze

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 20, 2019

In this episode, Richard Comeras (aks “The Crackman”) shares his top six reasons why your sump pump fails during a hard freeze. Some will make perfect sense…some may surprise you. Listen and enjoy!

It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. We’re here with the Crackman himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years of experience in the construction industry and over 20 years experience as the founder and president of A1 Foundation and Crack Repair Inc. His podcasts provides expert basement water proofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s excellent insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration within the basement, and protect your biggest investment….your home.

The topic for today’s podcast: 6 Reasons Why Your Sump Pump Isn't Working During a Hard Freeze

Narrator: Hey Rich, just out of curiosity, what is the temperature today there in Hudson Mass?

Crackman: It’s three degrees…a little chilly out there.

Narrator: When the temperatures get that low, I suppose it can effect the proper operation of a home’s sump pump. Yes?

Crackman: Absolutely. We’ve been getting calls. One call we got recently about a sump pump not working. The first things I ask people to do is check the outlet that the pump is plugged into and make sure that outlet is working. You need to make sure that you have power to that outlet. During this freeze that we’re having, we’ve got a number of calls about sump pumps not working. So I ask them about the pipes that they use to vacate the water out. People who are using corrugated (usually black) pipe are finding that water within those pipes is freezing. What is happening is that the water is getting into each rib, it freezes, then the water around that next rib freezes, and before you know it that whole ribbed pipe is frozen. So I never recommend you putting a ribbed pipe in there. You want a nice smooth PVC pipe there, and at a good angle. That’s a second reason that pipes freeze. Another reason why pipes freeze is that they have no check valve. The check vale prevents water from going back into the pit. You want to make sure that you have a check valve. Another reason sump pumps fail is because their aged. Mechanical devices will only last so long. We get calls that the float that goes up and down get stuck on the sides of the pit that it’s in. The last reason that people are having problems with sump pumps is because they put a pump in that is oversized, it’s too big, too much horsepower. It causes the pump to cycle too quickly and it is causing them to burn out. So you need to know what size pump to be putting in there.

Narrator: This is really good information, Rich. So if your sump pump suddenly isn’t working during a hard freeze, consider the Crackman’s common reasons why sump pumps fail. You just might save yourself some money.

If y'ou have any issue with your home’s sump pump or want more information regarding foundation crack repair and basement water proofing, please visit or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at

Strange Coincidences with Lally Columns

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 04, 2019

In this episode, Richard Comeras (aks “The Crackman”) shares some interesting vignettes on the history of lally columns along with some weird stuff he runs into as he inspects, repairs, and replaces them.

My history with lally colums goes way back. My daughter and son-in-law used to work with me in the business. They were at a party in Hudson Mass. Some of their friends were there, also from Hudson, and my daughter heard a conversation involving on of her friends about lally columns. She piped in and said my great-great grandfather invented them and has a patent on them. What are the chances of that happening? It’s about nothing. His mother’s maiden name was “Lally” and that’s how it all came to be. What he had seen was in house fires, the whole house falls right in because they did not have these lally columns to provide more of a permanent structure.

He came up with the idea of putting these structures up from the basement floor through the main supporting beam. So the lally column is a supporting column underneath the house that supports the main beams going across the floor to prevent dipping caused by natural settling and caving due to fire disaster.

They’re a big issue now with home inspections. You don’t want to have those that are screw-jacked top, or those that are hollow. Today, they must be concrete filled and supported by steel on the exterior. We put a thick steel plate on the top that is welded to the column. In our repair journey, we’ve come across some strange lally column configurations.

We were just in Lexington Mass where we were doing a “repointing” job and the gentleman wanted more lally columns because he was putting in new granite and he was rightfully concerned about the weight. So we went down below to inspect the lally columns that were there and some of them you could actually twist. They were great, they had a footing, a concrete pad underneath, but you could turn them. So we looked up and noticed what they had was aluminum flashing between the main beam and the lally column. It wasn’t cut to size properly. We had to fix those by placing a thick plate at the top. We had to dig new footings to support new lally columns for the guy. Clearly the lesson here is you don’t use flashing at the top of lally columns.

If you have a basement water problem or if you think you need a professional or want more information on foundation crack repair and basement water proofing, please visit or call Rich at (866) 929-3171.

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