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Why You Need a Backup Sump Pump

Why You Need a Backup Sump Pump

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The basement is rarely one of the most lived-in rooms in a house. This means that it’s common for flooding to go unnoticed for many hours or even a number of days. And what happens if you’re on vacation when a huge storm or other disaster happens? An undetected flood can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in a very short amount of time.

Sump pumps are the first line of defense, which makes them a critical part of your disaster prevention plan. But they aren’t foolproof. There are situations that can take your primary sump pump out of commission, which means that you may be looking at major damage even though you think you’re protected. To be truly safe, you’ll want to have a backup sump pump.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

First of all, it’s important to understand why you need a sump pump at all. These devices are installed either beneath or above the basement floor (or in a crawlspace) to pump out water that accumulates around the house. They send the water far enough away from the house so that it isn’t a problem. With a properly operating sump pump, your basement should stay nice and dry, even when there’s a big storm.

Most primary sump pumps are A/C, electrical-powered units. If they’re reasonably good quality, they should run for many years without the need for replacement or major service, although regular inspections and maintenance should be performed.

Reasons Why a Backup is Important

So if your primary sump pump is so effective, why would you need a backup? There are several situations where having one or more backups could save you from a lot of costly damage:

  • The power goes out. Because most primary sump pumps need electricity to operate, you’re out of luck if the power goes out. And because this is often a consequence of a big storm, it might be just when you need the pump the most. Having a battery-powered backup can be a lifesaver in a situation like this.
  • The volume of water is too great. If there’s a sudden and very large flood, it may be too much for your primary pump’s gallons-per-minute capacity. A backup pump can pick up the slack so there’s no overflow.
  • A malfunction in the primary pump. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t perform maintenance on their pumps as often as they should (or their pumps are situated in such a way that makes maintenance difficult). This means there’s a chance the pump will malfunction because of a clog or jam just when you need it.
  • Older pumps. If your primary sump pump is more than 5-7 years old, or it’s in use often, it’s probably near the end of its effective life. Having a backup means you won’t find out your pump is dead in the worst way possible—when it fails right in the middle of a flood.
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