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Back Up That Sump Pump!

Back up that Sump Pump

By Lon Grossman

Anyone who has a sump pump should have an alternate power backup pump. If your power goes out, or the pump fails from mechanical problems, it will reduce the chance of your basement flooding. The sump pump is your absolute last line of defense against a flood.

If you have and need your sump pump, the chances your basement will flood if you don’t have an alternate energy back-up sump pump, are close to 100 percent.

What that means is you’ll be throwing away stored items, possibly heirlooms. You may have to hire professionals to tear out and remove some finished walls, carpeting and possibly furniture. You’ll also have restoration companies in your basement using blowers and dehumidifiers. Expect to do extensive follow up cleaning as well as duct cleaning. All that, plus more if mold starts to fruit.

Mold can become a serious issue if something stays wet or damp for 48-hours or longer. It sounds expensive because it is. The alternate solution, which is also a lot less money, is the back up sump pump.

There are battery-operated pumps and water powered pumps. If you are on a well, you will only want to use the battery back up model, since you won’t have power or water if the power goes out. There are water-powered backup pumps as well as battery powered.

Master plumber Don, from Don’s Plumbing in Clinton Township, shared his thoughts with me years ago. He recommended the Home Guard backup pump by Zoeller or Guardian’s water powered pump. He feels both are reliable and worth the extra cost.

He also reminded me that a permit is needed, since plumbers may need to install a reduced pressure zone and a back-flow preventer to reduce cross contamination.

Finally, whichever system you have installed, periodically test it. Run a garden hose or pour a bucket of water into the sump. Your primary pump should start. Once you have verified that pump is working properly, unplug it and pour more water into the sump until the backup unit kicks in. If it doesn’t, call the plumber. If it works, plug the main pump back into the receptacle.

Make sure the lid is securely replaced. I have heard of instances where infants have reached down into the sump to retrieve something. The water is displaced and they drown.

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