Sump Pump Repair & Prevention of Water Damage
The sump pump in your home or business is what keeps your basement from flooding during heavy rainfalls and storms. A common misconception is in thinking that if you have a sump pump system installed that you’re protected from water backups and that your basement and personal property will remain safe from the damaging effects of a backup. Like any mechanical item or appliance in your home though, your sump pump has the chance of failure. It’s not if it will fail, it’s more likely a question as to when it will. Remember “an ounce of prevention”. Read on for more information regarding sump pump repair.
Over the years, your sump pump can fail for a variety of reasons including but not limited to normal use, undersized or oversized HP ratings, neglect, and electrical outages. Therefore, a backup system is not only important, it can be a critical component in protecting you from water damage when a power outage happens, mechanical problems occur, or your primary pump just breaks down, you have a secondary pump to keep your property safe.
Another misconception is that a higher horse power (HP rating) means a better sump pump. Installing a higher HP rated pump could lead to higher electrical usage and premature failure. Not only do many of these pumps draw more power, you may be required to have a dedicated electrical circuit to be installed by a licensed electrician as well.
In increasing the HP rating during a sump pump repair, you may also have to install a larger diameter discharge pipe to handle the increased flow of water through the pump as it works to remove the excess water brought on by rain and heavy storms. Sump pumps are typically sold based on the basis of the motor’s horse power and usually marketed or sold in HP ratings in increments of 1-horsepower (hp), .5-horsepower (hp), .33-horsepower (hp), and .25-horsepower (hp) are the most common sizes. The average residential household would have more than enough power at .5 or ½ HP would suffice.
Sump Pump Repair
In replacing a pump, don’t consider horsepower as a determining factor when selecting a proper sump pump for your home or business. Determine the sufficient replacement by its pumping capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head or lift pressure. Head or lift pressure is the vertical distance that system is able to pump and discharge water away from your foundation. Without getting too technical, all pumps have a pump curve chart provided by the manufacturer. The higher water is discharge or pumped, the less gallons per minute (GPM) the pump can remove. As an industry standard, use 10’ feet of head or lift pressure, generally because the average residential basement ceiling is 8’ feet high and the sump pump is on average 2’ feet deep into the basin. If the curve chart is unavailable, you can use the pump curve chart located here.
A good fit for any pumping application will pump anywhere from 40 to 50 gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head or lift. This is a much more important rating than overall horsepower. Many of the pumps you’ll find at local do-it-yourself and big box retail centers show you the pump’s horsepower but not its pumping capacity. As a marketing gimmick and this is especially true of the battery backup systems being sold is to they advertise pumping capacities in gallons per hour (GPH). Commonly showing you a pumping capacity of up to 1500 gallons per hour (GPH). In doing the math, that equates to about 25 gallons per minute (1500 gallons / 60 minutes = 25 gallons per minute). What they do not tell you is that usually this rating is given using 0 head or lift pressure. In factoring in the height, the sump pump repair must pump the water to remove it from your basement, that GPM drops off even further and you may have pumping capacity only 15 gallon per minute.
In storms and heavy rains like we have in Columbus, the water moving into your residence through the foundation may overcome your sump pump. Even though your sump pump is currently working, an incorrectly sized pump and discharge line may not keep up with the amount of water flowing into your home.
Sump Pump Backups – How it Works
In dealing with any power outage that affects your home or business, it’s not only the lights that go out, the power to your sump is off as well. Enter the role of a battery backup, as a temporary use these pump systems are invaluable and could be the difference between a dry basement and a flooded one. Using battery power, the system will supply power to a secondary sump pump and discharge the water from your home. Keep in mind that these systems need regular maintenance, a power source to keep the battery itself charged and should only be used as temporary backup for your primary system.
Many of these pumps also offer the convenience, depending on the installation method, of having a secondary pump that works off a float switch installed above the primary pump. If the primary is overwhelmed and has trouble keeping up, the backup system will activate and help to remove some of the excess water from your sump basin.
Sump Pump Repair & Replacement
You may already have a sump pump system and a backup installed on your property, but have you had it checked out recently to be sure that it’s in working order? Failure to maintain your sump pump can and will often lead to costly sump pump repairs and water damage.
Like most appliances in your home or business, regular maintenance is required to keep these systems in prime working order and ready to protect you from flooding.
The actual maintenance is easier than you may think. Good advice would be to keep the manufacturer’s installation and operations manual on hand to refer to in case of emergency.
• Using a bucket, pour enough water into the sump basin to raise the float, activating the pump. If water covers the pump and continues to rise beyond that level, you may need to seek replacement.
• Inspect check valves for corrosion or leaking around the seams. If found, replace the check valve. Quick Tip: A new check valve should be installed any time the actual pump is replaced.
• Inspect and ensure that the water being discharged is exiting your residence at a minimum of ten feet from your foundation walls. If you are unsure as to where your system is discharging, add a few drops of food coloring to the bucket of water for quick identification outside.
A well maintained and working system can be the difference between a dry property and one that had suffered through mold and water damage.
Sump Pump Backup Options
There are different versions of pumps you can rely on too depending on your personal situation and what kind of storms you may expect. If you have a big storm on the way or live in an area that tends to flood a lot, you might want to consider a water-powered pump. But otherwise, a battery-powered one might work just fine.
You should choose the option that works best for you with your property and finances though, and what you think might benefit you most in the future.
Battery-Powered Sump Pump Repair
A battery-powered pump is meant to automatically begin working as soon as your primary pump stops, whether that happens due to flooding, a power outage, or some sort of failure in your primary pump.
Generally, you’ll see battery-powered sump pumps, which are used as supplements to your main pump. This is the least expensive option and is the most affordable to the average home or business owner. There’s no need for continuous water pressure and will work off a float system that helps the backup activate in the event of a power outage or the primary pump fails.
The battery-powered pumps are popular as well since they’re so easy to install. This makes the battery-powered option a great one to consider when looking for alternatives in backup systems.
Pros: Cheapest of backup options for your primary pump. Easy to install.
Cons: The battery has a chance of running down during prolonged storms if the power stays out for a while.
Water-Powered Versions – Sump Pump Repair
If you get a water-powered pump, it will work just a little differently since there’s no required electrical power to keep it working. Water is simply piped into the pump until it works to discharge the water through a pipe. It will turn on automatically as the water rises in the pump, working quickly and efficiently so that you never have to worry.
Water-powered versions are more expensive than battery-operated versions and need continuous water to work. Unlike battery-operated versions though, they will continue to eliminate water infinitely without a time limit by using a vacuum to get rid of water without electricity or batteries.
This makes the water-powered systems ideal when you’re dealing with long, heavy rains which lead to extended power loss. No matter what the weather is, they will continue to work until you can get someone in to fix up your primary pump and get it back into working order.
Pros: Works continuously to remove excess water from around your foundation.
Cons: Larger expense in purchase and installation.
It may feel like a daunting task to handle getting a backup sump pump, especially if you already feel secure with your primary pump. It’s always best to have a backup in place though, since random storms can suddenly knock out the power and the high cost of water damage or mold can be avoided with the proper systems installed.
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