How to Keep Your Sump Pump Running During a Power Outage

Regardless of what kind of property you own, they all have one thing in common – water under the ground. It doesn’t matter if you have a full basement or not, water can find a way inside the lower level of your home through small cracks in the foundation. Moisture can cause problems like mold and mildew, but it can also lead to structural issues and slews of health problems.

Basement water at some point is likely, but having a sump pump can help prevent major water damage.

A sump pump is a device that is installed in the lowest point of your basement or crawl space inside a sump pit. It’s job? To prevent flooding and keep everything dry. During a storm, water can seep inside causing major damage, but with a sump pump installed, it will detect the moisture and draw it away from the building.

There are several different types of sump pumps that all work in different ways – here are the most common types.

Submersible Pump

This sump pump is built directly into the foundation of the basement. They are quieter than pedestal sump pumps since the motor is deep in the floor. It’s also typically stronger than pedestal sump pumps, meaning it can remove larger amounts of water in a short amount of time.

Since it is underground, it saves room in your basement and keeps the area free of hoses and pipes. Most importantly? It comes complete with a back up battery which will keep the sump pump working even if power is knocked out during a storm.

Pedestal Sump Pump

A pedestal sump pump is above ground and comes in two pieces. The motor sits on the floor, while the hose feeds into the sump pit. Unlike the submersible pump, this version is smaller, so in the event of big storms, this pump may not be able to keep up with the amount of water that comes down.

Since this pump is not underground, it is easier to repair should anything happen to the pump. Pedestal pumps do tend to break less since they are not constantly submerged in water.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

As we talked about earlier, a sump pump sits inside of a sump pit, which is a hole about 2 feet deep, and 18 inches wide. As water fills the pit, a float senses how high the water gets. Once it hits a certain point, the pump is activated, moving the water through the drain away from your home. The sump pump is fixed with a check-valve that prevents water from flowing back towards the house.

What Causes Sump Pump Failure?

A sump pump runs off of electricity and requires a grounded outlet. The most common reason for sump pump failure is a power outage.  This can be due to a storm knocking out the power or something as simple as someone forgetting to plug the sump pump back in if they unplugged it for some reason.

Have a Backup Plan to Keep Your Home Dry

It is important to have a backup power source for your sump pump. Here are a few options:

  • Battery system. A sump pump battery backup will kick in when the electricity goes out. It works exactly as you’d think. Instead of running off of electricity, the sump pump will draw power from the battery for a limited amount of time.
  • Battery-operated sump pump. Different from the battery itself, this is an additional sump pump that will kick in when yours cannot. Runoff of batteries, this pump will switch over and pump out the water until your main sump pump can return to working order.
  • Generator back up. A generator can power a sump pump when electricity fails. There are two types of generators – one is a manual start fuel generator and the other is an automatic standby generator. An extension cord may have to be run to the generator from the sump pump – which could be a safety hazard, so take precautions.
  • Water alarm system. This is an alarm system that will detect when the water level inside the sump pit is too high. Once you hear this alarm, it is time to bring in a backup option to your sump pump. This could be a second pump, wet/dry vac, or start manually removing water from your basement.

If Water Damage Occurs, Get Expert Help Right Away

If you do experience water damage, McMahon Services can assist with the clean-up. Our water disaster restoration teams will work to bring your home back to normal as quickly as possible. Call us today for a free estimate and let us get started on removing the water damage today.