The Care and Feeding of Your Sump Pump
The Care and Feeding of Your Sump Pump Your sump pump is a lot like your pancreas; nobody thinks about it until it stops working. And, if it does stop working you’ll have to call a bunch of professionals and paying a really big bill. If your house has a basement you probably have a sump basin.
The sump basin is the collection point for rainwater or ground water (most basements east of the Rockies are dug below the waterline). The sump pump removes water out of the basin and into a municipal storm drain. Without a sump pump, a moderate rainstorm or normal snowmelt will quickly overwhelm the sump basin. In fact, a house with a 1,500-square-foot roof sheds 1,000 gallons of water for every inch of falling rain. Imagine pouring a thousand gallon jugs of water into your basement.
If your sump pump doesn’t work, you can see how easy it would be to end up with this:
This is not only a pain to clean up, it costs thousands of dollars. I don’t like thinking that these poor folks were storing their emergency food supply in their basement, but most people do.
Your sump pump protects the integrity of your entire house and keeps your long-term food storage and storm shelter dry. It is a very important member of your Prepper team. When you need it, you’ll be glad you paid attention to it. Here are some tips for keeping your sump pump happy:
- Cover the top of the basin with plastic to keep out children, pets and debris.
- Ensure the pump is plugged into a GFI outlet so there’s no risk of electrical shock.
- Test your pump at least annually by pouring water into it from a garden hose or a 5-gallon bucket. Listen for the pump to kick on immediately and make sure it sounds smooth. If it makes any strange sounds, make sure you have a replacement pump on hand.
- Consider investing in a secondary emergency battery backup pump system.
- Invest in a sump pump alarm. The Pitboss alarm will even text you if the water level in the sump basin gets too high.
Replacing a sump pump can be a DIY job, but if you aren’t sure you know what you’re doing it pays to call a professional. You may end up spending a few hundred dollars on a contractor but you can avoid spending a few thousand dollars later on a water damage team.