Tip for residential customers: Are you ready for spring rains? Check your sump pump!

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By Gary Kellermeier
Owner of Kellermeier Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

Basement flooding is a lot of things – and all of them bad. It’s expensive. It can cause illness. And, it causes stress – a lot of stress.

Especially if the basement is finished. Wet insulation and wet sheetrock can cause mold and mildew, which can cause serious illness. Wet framing is a concern because it can cause structural damage, which can greatly drive up repair bills, sometimes by thousands of dollars.

Simply put: It’s a big headache – and it’s expensive — to clean up and to replace lost property after a basement flood.

So, in the interest of preventing water damage, the first thing is to make sure the basement walls and floors are protected as well as they can be from water. It is also absolutely imperative to make sure the sump pump is working properly. An automatic sump pump should help keep normal amounts of groundwater from building up in the basement. It will act like a floor drain and keep the water from rising.
Unless there’s something wrong with the sump pump.
In fact, most flooded basements are the result of faulty sump pumps. Yes, power outages sometimes contribute to flooding, but the majority of basement flooding is caused by sump pumps that have failed or otherwise can’t handle the amount and flow of water.
To avoid plumbing service repair bills that can happen when a sump pump needs attention, and to prevent damage to property that is the result of flooding, homeowners should take the first step in prevention by making sure the sump pump is not more than 10 years old, the usual life expectancy of a sump pump. The best way to know the age of a sump pump is to keep the receipt; in fact, put it in a file to pass off to the next owner of the home, as a courtesy – and a headache preventive.
Basement flooding is preventable. To help avoid the results of flooding, keep handy this list of things that can disable a sump pump:

• Tripped circuit breaker: Make sure the sump pump has a dedicated circuit. If additional items are connected, it could trip the circuit.
• Faulty switch: The sump pump’s switch might be stuck against the side of the pit. Or, debris might be caught in the pit, causing the switch to fail. Be sure to inspect the switch to make sure it’s operating freely.
• Clogged strainer: Sump pumps have a strainer at the bottom that the water flows through. If the strainer is clogged, the water won’t flow through properly and the basement could flood.

Another effective way to help prevent basement flooding is to install a two-pump system, which insures there will be a back-up pump should one pump fail. It also has an alarm to alert homeowners in the event of a failure.

Basement flooding can be very expensive, and it certainly is a very big headache. It is also preventable. Being proactive by knowing what problems to look for in sump pumps currently in use and by becoming educated about alternative systems is advisable.

About the Author

Gary Kellermeier is the owner of Kellermeier Plumbing & Heating, Inc., in Haskins, Ohio. The company offers its exclusive FloodGuard, a system with two sump pumps, a solid state control box and two level controls, which insures there will always be a backup pump available. To learn more, contact Gary at 419.823.7626 and visit kphcomfort.com.


The best way to avoid damage to personal items and other property that is the result of flooding is to prevent the problem in the first place. One way to do that is to check the sump pump. A sump pump should help keep normal amounts of groundwater from building up in the basement. In fact, though, most flooding problems are caused by sump pumps that have failed or otherwise can’t handle the amount and flow of water. FloodGuard is an exclusive two-pump system that insures there will always be a back-up pump available – and alerts when there is an issue.

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