It's that rainy time of year  here  in Iowa when we all cross our fingers and hope that the sump pump in our basement is up to snuff.  After all, who wants water in their basement?  Here are some good pieces of advise for you to consider to properly maintain your sump pump and to keep your basement dry.  

Schedule an annual visit with your plumber

 Schedule an appointment with your plumber for an early spring check-up before the rainy season.  Have the sump pump inspected visually and cycle with water to lubricate the working parts of the pump and assure that it is actually evacuating the water from your pit. 

What is the average lifetime of a sump pump?

Most brands of sump pumps have a (1) year warranty.  In central Iowa a sump pump with average usage will last about 6-7 years.  Ironic as it may seem, pumps that stay wet and run regularly last longer than pumps that only run a few times a year.  The wet pumps stay lubricated and protected from rust. 

Some homes have sump pumps that run every day of the year.  What causes this and are there any solutions?

In some cases, homes were built over natural springs/artisan water flows.  Other causes here in Iowa are that land development occurs in farm fields and old field tiles end up by basements.  Here are some things you can do to protect your home investments:

  • Add a second pump and pit and connect the two together.  This is known as a duplex system.
  • Add a battery back-up pump system with an alarm.  This is a short time fix when the power is out.  
  • A plumbers favorite is the water powered back-up sump jet.  This option will continue pumping as long as your water source flows (city water/well systems).

Too often with heavy rains the electricity goes our and the battery back-up on the sump pump only lasts for a matter of hours.  Are there any good solutions to this situation?

Liberty Sump Jet is a pump a plumber might recommend.  This system removes 2 gallons of water from your sump pit for approximately 1 gallon that flows through it.  When connected to a municipal water supply or a good well system this is very reliable.  It is not recommended that this be your primary pump because of the large water usage.  These will fit in most sump pits along with the electric sump pump.  

Also, you may want to refer to this short video on some simple maintenance you can do as a homeowner to be sure your sump pump is in good working order.  Ben Franklin coined the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".  Checking your sump pump and performing regular maintenance can save you from a basement full of water. Well worth it!

For more information or questions on Water Backup of Sewers and Drains coverage on your homeowners insurance policy, contact our office.