What You Need to Know About Sump Pumps

10/04/13 8:29 AM

Sump pumps.  They move liquids from one place to another or, more accurately, remove liquids from where you don’t want them to sit.

Most people associate them with emergencies and basements but there are practical, everyday applications such as moving wastewater from below grade.  If you dream of a wet bar in the basement as the perfect accessory to your Man Cave, then a sump pump might fit well into the lifestyle to which you wish to grow accustomed.

Back to the emergencies.  For most homeowners, their low-lying area equates to the basement.  These can be dry for most of the time and may only need a dehumidifier in the summer to remove excess moisture in the air to avoid mold and allergic reactions.

If the occasional water in your basement wouldn’t allow a hamster to swim, then a shop vac might do the job to remove water in a crisis such as excess snow melting (COME ON SPRING!) or a heavy rain.  Remember to be safe and keep the electricity away from the water!

Obviously, if the family dog can paddle, then you’re going to need a lot more power to remove the water.

Should you invest in a sump pump?  That depends on how often you can refer to your basement as “the indoor swimming pool.”  If you can say those words with a wry smile, then your best bet is to call for help when the water comes.  However, if you never joke about the flooding because of how often it happens, then maybe it’s time to buy your own.

Before you whip out the credit card to buy a sump pump, do a little math first.  It may be frustrating to have water in your basement but it’ll be real misery to pay for a unit that can’t keep up with the volume.  Oh, and over-engineering this problem won’t work either.  Avoid spending extra money up front and maintenance thereafter for a sump pump that is oversized for the job.

Factors to consider are the gallons of water you expect to move, how far it will need to travel, and if you need some extra power to move it vertically (that’s usually a yes when you’re in a basement.)  As you think about horsepower and gallons per minute or hour, it’s good to get some professional advice.

Setup will also be important.  Most pumps will last a little less than a decade, depending on how often you use the equipment and, frankly, how well you care for it.  Blockages are the most common problem and, well, let’s just say that the cleaner you keep the basement, the less likely a piece of junk will be sucked up and stop the pump.

Whether you’re thinking of investing in one of these useful tools or just need to evaluate the water problems in your basement, give Classic Plumbing by Reno a call at 860-748-7305.  I can help you pick the right equipment and set it up properly, including check valves to prevent backflow, which could cause premature burnout of the pump.

And keep that number handy for when April showers create a minor flood.  I can get that basement cleared out so you can focus on the May flowers!

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