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Are you sure your sump pump is ready for Greenwood’s severe weather?

Apr 23, 2024

Every time one of those TV weather people pops up on the screen to tell you severe storms or heavy rains are bearing down on central Indiana, your heart skips a beat. You worry about your basement or crawlspace becoming flooded. You count on your Greenwood home’s sump pump to protect you by removing floodwaters before they can enter your living spaces. But each time a storm heads your way, you wonder if that sump pump is going to work properly.

How do sump pumps work?

Home sump pumps are surprisingly simple devices. They’re mounted at the very bottom of your home’s basement or crawlspace, with a pipe that goes even lower. Usually, there’s also a small float device. When water starts to creep up toward your home’s foundation, the float moves and activates a pump. That pump takes water from the pipe and sends it to a safe location away from your home. The pumps used in sump pumps are very powerful, so no matter how hard it rains, most will have no trouble keeping up.

What if the power goes out?

Heavy rain isn’t the only danger from those severe storms that seem to be drawn to Greenwood. Severe weather can cause electric power outages. That’s why most sump pumps have a battery backup. If the power goes out, a properly working battery backup can keep the sump pump operating for several hours. Otherwise, the sump pump won’t be able to remove the water from the storm. If you don’t already have a battery backup, a plumber can recommend the most reliable models for your sump pump’s motor and capacity. 

Check that battery backup

If you have a battery backup, make sure you test it regularly so you can be confident it’s providing the protection you need. It’s not hard to do. First, disconnect the sump pump from its power source by unplugging it or shutting off the electrical breaker. Then pour enough water in the sump pit to activate the pump’s float. If your battery backup is in good shape, your sump pump should start instantly and run until the water in the pit goes down. Then you can reconnect the power or flip the breaker back on.

Inspecting your sump pump

It’s a good idea to perform regular inspections to make sure your sump pump will operate as it should. Start by carefully examining the sump pump, pit, and discharge piping. Are there signs of visible damage or deterioration, such as cracks, rust, or corrosion on the pump casing, discharge pipe, or float switch? Is the pit free of debris, sediment, and obstructions?

Next, test the pump by using a bucket to pour water into the sump pit. If it’s working well, the sump pump’s float will rise along with the water level. When that happens, the pump will start automatically and run until all the water is removed. Listen carefully for unusual noises, vibrations, or fluctuations as the pump operates. That may suggest mechanical issues or blockages in the system.

Checking the discharge, too

If something is wrong with your sump pump’s discharge, it can’t properly protect your home. The discharge pipe has two roles in properly working sump pumps: it routes the water that’s pumped out of the house, and it make sure that water is discharged where it can’t flow back toward the house. That happens more often than you may realize. Check the discharge pipe for signs of blockages from debris, ice, or vegetation, that may interfere with the flow of water. Make sure the pipe is free of obstructions and directs water away from the foundation to a location where it can safely drain, such as a storm sewer or drainage ditch. You can prevent erosion damage at the discharge location by extending the drainpipe to a less-vulnerable location or installing a splash block.

Schedule preventive maintenance

The steps described here can help you ensure that your Greenwood home’s sump pump continues to deliver the performance that will protect your home and its contents … if you remember to do them regularly. Fortunately, there’s an even easier way to make sure your sump pump will be ready. Just call the plumbing professionals from Johnson Heating Cooling & Plumbing and schedule low-cost sump pump maintenance. A trained plumber will inspect, test, and perform maintenance on your sump pump to make sure all the components are in good working order. They’ll also make sure your outside drain is properly situated, so the water the sump pump removes doesn’t flow back toward your home. They’ll do all the work, and you won’t need to worry about your sump pump anymore!

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