“You will never believe just how much damage water can do!” Alexandra Rissara stood in her semi-finished basement, pointing out soggy boxes and damaged holiday decorations. This stuff was all up on shelves, but then we got a ton of rain. The pump just couldn’t keep up and the water got higher and higher.” She threw her hands up in disgust. “You see what happened. We had to call the fire department and have them pump us out – but everything is ruined!”
Sump pump failure at a critical point can mean disaster, yet many home owners are unaware of the condition of their home’s sump pump. You don’t want to discover that your pump is no good when there’s three feet of water in the basement. If you haven’t ever taken a look at your sump pump, now’s a good a time as any. There are two types of sump pumps. There are pedestal units, which stand approximately 3 feet tall and operate via a float operated switch – when water levels rise to a given point, the float rises and the pump kicks on. The other type of pump is submersible, designed to operate underwater. These units are shorter and wider.
Once you’ve discovered which type of sump pump you have, do a visual inspection when it’s dry and the pump is not in use. You’re looking for any cracks, breaks or holes in the body of the pump and the protective casing that surrounds the pump motor. There should be no exposed, bare or damaged wires, especially on submersible sump pumps. The sump pump should be sitting level. The float should be free from cracks or splits. Look at your pipes: they should be intact without any holes, splits, or breaks. Consider how old your sump pump is. If the unit’s been in place for years, perhaps decades, it may be near the end of its useful life. Older, heavy duty sump pumps can stand up to a lot of use, but that’s not true for every model ever made.
It’s also important to discover how well your pump works. If the weather cooperates, you can observe your pump under actual working conditions. Otherwise, you’ll have to test the sump pump by filling the sump pit with water. Check to see that the float rises easily and that the pump switches on appropriately. Can your sump pump keep up with the demands being placed upon it? Sometimes, sump pumps are undersized. No matter how well they work, they just don’t have the capacity to deal with your needs. Consult with your Naperville plumber about what size sump pump is necessary to keep your home safe and dry. If you can, check where the water is being discharged from your basement. Does the water emerge at a steady rate? Does the pump function smoothly, or can you hear the motor laboring and getting bogged down?
If you discover any problems with your existing sump pump, it’s time to get in touch with your Naperville area plumber to discuss sump pump installation. Generally, sump pumps are not repaired: when a unit has deteriorated to a point where it can no longer support your family’s needs, it’s time to replace it. Sump pump installation is a job best performed by a skilled professional, as the pump needs to be strategically located, tied into your existing piping, and hooked safely and securely to your power grid. A critical portion of sump pump installation is selecting the right sump pump for the application.
Determining whether a home should use a submersible sump pump or a pedestal sump pump requires taking several factors into account. How often does the home get water? How much water are we talking about? The home that gets a few inches every four or five years needs a very different pump than the home that is regularly swamped every spring. Floor sucker pumps are a new type of pump that can be used in areas that don’t have a sump pit – the depressed area or hole where water accumulates in basements, the typical location for a sump pump installation.
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