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Basements are great; they serve as home gyms, “man caves,” craft and sewing rooms. But, what use are they if they flood out every time there’s a rainstorm? If your basement has flooded before, you know what it’s like to sit through a heavy downpour, panicked that the power will go out or that your sump pump will break down.

Many homes were designed so rain and natural groundwater are funneled into a catch basin in their basement. From there, a sump pump routes that water outside and flushes it through pipes. During a storm, you may hear the pump going off constantly as it’s working hard to flush the water out as fast as it comes pouring in.

Here are some tips to keep your sump pump in tip-top shape once it’s installed!

Older homes: If you have an older home with a basement that’s prone to floods, consider installing a French drain or a drain tile system with a sump pump. With such a system, it will have to go under the basement floor and it will cost thousands to have it done, but it may be worth it if you want a dry basement.

Indoor maintenance: Once a sump pump is installed, it’s good to ensure that the basin remains covered and that objects, such as children’s or pet’s toys don’t accidentally get into the basin.

It’s critical that you keep the pump clean if an object or the float stick that measures the water gets caught in the pump, it can stop it from shutting off or turning on.

The float can get stuck on top of the pump. If this happens, the pump can run for too long, causing it to overheat and fail.

Outdoor maintenance: Check outside your home to ensure that the dirt slopes away from the exterior walls and that the water spouts empty a few feet from the house. This reduces the amount of water that enters the sump pump’s basin.

Note: Your sump pump should drain a few feet or more from your home – this way the water that flushes out doesn’t return back to the basin shortly thereafter.

Backup sump pumps: If you want to have peace of mind while you’re not home, consider installing a backup and battery-operated sump pump. They would ensure that any water flowing into the basin would still be pumped, even if your primary pump fails or if there is a power outage.

A sump pump’s lifespan: Like clothes washer machines, water heaters, and garbage disposals, a sump pump’s lifespan has a lot to do with how often it’s used. If your pump runs frequently, it won’t last as long. On average, sump pumps last between 5 and 10 years.

As a homeowner, the best way to get the most use out of your unit is to keep the pump basin clean and monitor how much it’s used.

If you are in need of sump pump repairs, maintenance or replacement, contact a Kansas City plumber from A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc.

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