National Preparedness Month: Is Your Home Prepared for a Flood?

September 01, 2018

September is a month when seasonal weather changes begin, and through National Preparedness Month, people are encouraged to take precautionary measures against the possibility of natural disasters or emergencies.

Basement flooding

One emergency that's always a possibility and rarely expected is flooding. It doesn't take a hurricane or a tsunami to cause a basement to flood when there is a lot of rain in a short period of time. Fortunately, a sump pump can keep your basement from succumbing to the onslaught.

National Preparedness Month is a good time to check your sump pump and make sure it's up to par - because the last thing you want during a downpour is a flooded basement.

Main causes of sump pump failure

Lights out

Power failure is the most common cause for sump pump failure. You can't prevent the electrical power outage, but you can prevent a stop in the equipment's performance by having a back-up power generator that is manually activated.

Wrong size

You don't want a pump that's too large or too small - it's important that it's just right for the size of your basement. One that is too large will actually have to work harder than it should, and this will shorten the life of the equipment. If the pump is too small, however, it may not be able to keep up with the job at hand and you'll burn out the motor and cause it to fail.

Improper installation

Installation needs to be correctly done according to specific manufacturer's instructions. Installing a sump pump is a good task to leave to a plumbing professional, because they require things like a check valve for the discharge line. Without this, the backflow of water can rush back into the pump impeller, cause it to rotate backward, and screw off the motor shaft. If this happens, it would sound like it was working, but it would not be pumping any water. There should also be a small hole drilled in the discharge line to relieve air pressure in the discharge pipe. You should also never install a sump pump in dirt or gravel which could get into the pump itself and interfere with the power switch or float arm.

Switch issues

Often a sump pump will fail mechanically due to a switch problem. The float position is what dictates switching the pump on or off, and when it has shifted inside the basin, it will not switch it on (or off) properly.

Maintenance issues

You might want to give your sump pump a trial run every 2-3 months. That way you can make sure it will answer the call when needed. It also gives you the heads up in the case of a malfunctioning part. Same goes for testing the battery back-up generator. You also want to make sure the discharge line is not ever frozen or clogged with debris.

Product issues

Occasionally, although not often, the pump itself is defective. This should be obvious when you test it immediately after installing it.

Prepare to succeed

Keeping your sump pump in top working condition is the best way to prepare for minor flooding. Don't wait until it's too late to make sure your equipment is working properly. If you're unsure about the size or installation issues, contact the sump pump experts at A.J. Perri to help keep your home sump pump prepared.

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Last Updated: June 09, 2023