Sump Pumps — A Disaster Waiting to Happen!
By Steve Burbridge, Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling
Every home that has a sump pump, must have a battery back-up sump pump. This is true even if the house is on top of a hill and the sump pump seldom activates or if the basement is not finished.
Here are the reasons:
1. Thunderstorms can knock out power to the home when the sump pump is needed the most — in a torrential downpour.
2. Sump pumps fail. The average life is about eight years, but there is no way of predicting when a pump will fail. You notice they have failed when they should be operating and the basement is flooding.
3. The ground fault interrupter (GFI) in the electrical circuit to the pump has tripped. The whole house may have power, but the circuit to the sump pump doesn’t.
4. The discharge pipe to the sump pump could become plugged. (Ideally, the battery back-up would have a separate discharge pipe.)
5. If we receive one of the 100-year rains or floods that comes every six years, the primary sump pump may not be able to pump out as much water as is coming in — it just can’t keep up.
We had a customer whose home was on top of a hill and their sump pump very seldom operated. If it rained for more than a week and the ground was totally saturated, they may hear the pump. They finished most of their basement and made the smart decision to install a battery back-up sump pump. Ironically, the battery back-up pump came to the rescue on a hot, dry August day. The homeowner heard the alarm on the battery back-up pump screaming and went to investigate. What she found was the lawn sprinkler water pipe had blown apart and a tremendous amount of water was running down the exterior foundation wall. The main sump pump could not keep up, so the battery back-up pump came to the rescue.
And, sadly, we know of a homeowner who did not have a finished basement, so he felt like he did not need a battery back-up sump pump. However, when he was away at work during the day, he caged his two dogs in the basement. He came home from work after a rainy day and found his pump had failed, his basement had two feet of water, and his dogs were dead.
Battery back-up sump pumps are cheap insurance to prevent heartache and headache. Consider them a necessary item and have peace of mind.