So far, the summer of 2019 can be called one thing……rainy! At least here in Iowa, it seems we’ve seen more rain than sun this year. In order to keep your basement dry from all this rain, let’s talk a little about sump pumps. We’ve heard from lots of homeowners, and inspected multiple homes with malfunctioning or broken sump pumps. Here are a few things to check to ensure your sump pump is functioning optimally and will keep your basement dry.

  1. The age of your sump pump. Sump pumps should be replaced every 5-10 years. It is smart to replace it *before* it fails, if you wait too long, it will eventually fail and your basement could fill with water. If you notice it getting louder, running more often, or not running at all, it may be time to replace it!
  2. Ensure you have a back-up sump pump. Sometimes sump pumps fail well before their life expectancy. This can be due to the sump pump being overworked and running year-round. Also during big storms, the power can go out-which unfortunately cuts the power to your sump pump. Having a back-up ensures the water will be pumped away even when the power goes out or when your sump pump motor fails. There are multiple types- including a battery backup or water backup. At Whitetail Home Inspections we recommend a battery backup, because the water back-up generally can’t keep up with a large amount of water. You do have to keep the battery backup charged for it to work, but there are automated chargers that can give you the peace of mind that it will kick on if your main sump pump fails. These chargers will also tell you if the main sump pump is functioning correctly.
  3. Pay attention to how often your sump pump is running. When a sump pump runs too often, it can wear out the motor prematurely.  If it’s running frequently, this may also mean you need to look into other means of keeping water away from your house. Things such as having appropriate sized gutters, adding tile around your property, or changing the grading of your yard to direct water away from your home can make a huge difference.

If you have any concerns with your sump pump’s function, it never hurts to call in a professional and have it looked over. Hopefully we will start to see more sun, and less rain in the next few weeks!