Is Your Sump Pump up to the Task of Handling This Year’s Snow Melt?

With all of the heavy rain and snow we’ve seen across Chicagoland this year, is your sump pump up to take on the upcoming snowmelt?  This winter has seen all of the usual extreme Midwest weather, and with this, we can expect to see basements all across the area become flooded as the temperature starts to rise.  That’s why you need to prepare now before it’s too late. If you haven’t checked your sump pump since last winter, you’re going to want to conduct a routine maintenance check before a “little” snowmelt turns into a big problem.

Sump pumps are absolutely necessary in regions such as ours that receive massive amounts of precipitation during the cold seasons (and year-round, for that matter).  They’re cost-effective backup systems that act as your home’s first line of defense against flooding. And, this year, you can expect yours to work overtime. That’s why it’s so important to do everything that you can to ensure yours is up to the task, because when basement waterproofing systems fail, it can make an already stressful situation worse.  No one wants to see that happen! Fortunately, a little preparation now can save you a lot of money and hassle later. Just keep these tips in mind as you conduct your sump pump checks:

  • Check for Debris – First, you’ll need to locate the outside pipe that catches draining water from your sump pump.  Check to see that it is clean and clear of any debris that could lead to clogging.
  • Conduct a Test – Next, conduct a drainage test.  Fill a large bucket with water, and slowly pour it into the sump pit.  Keep an eye on the water level. A properly working system should see the float on the sump rise, which will kick-start the pump.  The pump should turn on well before the water reaches the top of the pit. Then, once the pit empties, the system should turn off. If this doesn’t happen, it’s time to call in your trusty plumber for further inspection.
  • Check the Electrical Source – As strange a reminder as it might sound, you’d be surprised at how often a simple outlet outage is the source of ineffective pumps.  So, be sure to check that your system is plugged into a working outlet. Outlets can sometimes trip when exposed to dampness, so be on the safe side and double check that your power source is in working order.  

The process of checking your pump is very simple.  But, as the thaw begins it’s best to conduct routine checks on your sump pump just to be on the safe side.   

Another point worth mentioning is that sump pumps require electricity to operate.  So, even if the winter storms might be over and melting, the after-effects can still create conditions that lead to power outages.  So, would your home be ready to handle the melt in these conditions? For most, probably not. That’s why we also recommend that you consider installing a battery-powered backup system in the event of total power failure.  After all, it’s always wise to have a backup plan!

If you live in the Chicago area and don’t already have a sump pump, it’s time to seriously consider one after this year’s intense weather.  Give your home and family a fighting chance against costly, frustrating water damage. When you’re ready for an install or want to schedule a system checkup, give Tritan Plumbing a call!  


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