For anyone who follows my blog you will know I have some concern about this year’s runoff due to the high volume of snow we have received this year. In this issue I want to talk about sump pumps. For some homeowners the sump pump is a critical component in the home. I have inspected homes that have $25,000.00 backup diesel generators in place so the sump has power at all times. Sound like over kill, well I am sure it is not to the home owner that keeps having water backing up into the basement.

Most of our homes are water tight but in years when the water table is high and there is an expectation of a substantial snow melt it is prudent to be prepared for the possibility of water intrusion. If your sump runs several times a day on a regular basis you may want to take some steps now to prevent a disaster this spring. By this I mean it is critical to make sure that the sump runs every day without failure. If the power goes off or if the pump fails do you have a backup plan, no pun intended? In the case of a home where the sump runs regularly it is likely that the water will over flow the sump in short order if the pump does not work for some reason.

There are a lot of things to be said here but I will try to narrow the focus down to the most common issues I come across and solutions I can recommend. First of all I always recommend having a back up pump ready to install if the first one fails. It is difficult to find a pump when we have just been hit with 5” of rain in three hours, and yes this happens sometimes.  Secondly I recommend installing a sump alarm. The sump alarm will tell you if the water level is rising too quickly for the pump to handle or if the pump fails. Be sure to test the sump and float soon, it it hums but doesn’t turn it is time to get it fixed.  Thirdly it is a good plan to have a generator or battery back-up nearby to keep the pump running if there is a power failure. You shouldn’t need a $25,000.00 unit but if you have chronic water issues it is smart to have something handy to keep the water moving.  Newer homes have better set-ups with an overflow to the city sewer or separate water course but most of us have to deal with the old hole in the floor type sump. Even the best preparation may not be enough but at least you will know you did all you could.  My best advice is, be prepared!