How Heavy Rain and Snowmelt Causes Your Sump Pump to Work Overtime

House and Forest Covered in Snow

When it comes to heavy rain and snowmelt in Chicagoland, flooded basements are all too common, especially in recent years, as we continue to see more shifts in extreme weather.  That’s why it’s important to prepare now, before it’s too late, and protect your home from unexpected flooding. One way to do this is by installing a sump pump.  

A sump pump is a cost-effective backup system that acts as your home’s first line of defense.  As our region is so accustomed to blizzards, snow melt, and rain, some of us find our sump pumps working overtime several months out of the year.  That’s why we encourage property owners to do everything that they can to ensure that theirs is working in top shape, because when your basement waterproofing system fails, it can make your already stressful problem worse (or even cause flooding itself)!  Now, no one wants to see that happen, so let’s look at a few things that you can do to check that your sump pump is working properly.  

How to Check Your Sump Pump

  • First, locate the outside pipe that catches draining water from the pump, and check to see that it is clean.  Make sure no dirt or debris is clogging the drain.
  • Grab a large bucket, and fill it with water for a drainage test.  Slowly pour the water into the sump pit while watching the water level.  If it’s in working order, the float on the sump should rise and kick-start the pump.  The pump should turn on well before the water reaches the top of the pit.  Once the pit empties, the system should turn off.   But, if the test doesn’t work – the water doesn’t rise or the pump doesn’t work automatically – call a professional in for further inspection.
  • Check that your system is plugged into a working outlet.  You’d be surprised how often this is the issue.  Sometimes electrical outlets trip when exposed to dampness, though, so it’s always good practice to double check.

The process is really that simple and most effective if you repeat every few months.  

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to sump pumps is to understand that they rely on electricity to operate.  Sure, the blizzard may be melting away and you think that you’re ready, but what if the power goes out?  Would you be ready then?  

Whether installing a sump pump for the first time or simply maintaining your existing system, you should also consider installing a battery-powered backup system in the event of total power failure.  These backup systems are an excellent safeguard and will kick on as soon as a power outage occurs.  They can even last up to seven hours.  Think of it like investing in insurance.  It’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan!

If you live in or around Chicago and don’t already have a sump pump, it’s time for you to seriously consider one, as it can save you time (just think of all of those hours spent mopping up basement floors by hand!) and money in the long-run.  Make sure that your home has the ability to protect itself and your family from costly and frustrating water damage.  When you’re ready to install or schedule a checkup on your system, give one of our Tritan professionals a call at 815-515-4062!  


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