How many of us understand the importance of the sump pump in keeping water away from the foundation of our homes? When was the last time you checked your sump pump for proper operation? Notice any foundation cracks around your home? Ever make the connection that your sump pump may be the cause of this cracking….? Think again. Water is the #1 enemy of a home. As a homeowner, your maintenance checklist should include checking the key items that ensure all surface and sub-surface water is directed away from the home.
This includes controlling surface water, controlling sub-surface water, and a properly operating and maintained sump pump discharge system. The following components are an integral part of a water control program for every homeowner;
1) Surface Water Control
• Gutters & Downspouts
o Ensure no obstructions are in the gutters and ensure downspouts push out away from home
• Lot Grading
o Ensure landscaping does not slope back towards the home
2) Sub-Surface Water Control
• Perimeter Drain System
o Surface water can move along the foundation wall
o This water is collected by the perimeter drain system and sent to the sump pump for discharge away from the home
3) Sump Pump Discharge System
• The sump pit gathers water from the perimeter drains, allowing this water to flow away from the foundation
• When the level reaches a set height, the sump turns on and discharges water away from the home
Problems with Sump Pumps in Naperville, IL
• Stuck floats & pump failure are the #1 sump problems
o If your float is stuck, or the pump fails, the sump will not come on and will not discharge the water
o This fills the sump, traps water in the perimeter drains, and traps water against the foundation walls of the home
Sump Pump Failure Results
• The results of sump failures can be dramatic and costly:
o Foundation wall movement (due to expansive soils)
o Flooded basement
o Mold growth
Sump Pump Testing
It is important to check your sump pump regularly to make sure that it is in proper working condition.
•Remove the cover and slowly pour water into the sump tank.
•Watch for the “float” to rise and trigger the pump.
•Once the pump is engaged, the water level will quickly lower and the float will shut off the pump.
Simple maintenance steps are all it takes to prevent costly problems from developing. After a hard rain or heavy snow melt, take a look at your sump pump. Check the level and pump operation regularly. When purchasing a home, look closely at these areas, or ask you home inspector to focus on these areas in a separate walk through of the home. The cost of an inspection will be well worth the peace of mind in knowing that these components are functioning and installed properly. Using simple observational analysis and visual inspections can be the difference between solving a problem early on, and being faced with extensive, costly repairs.
George Scott, Scott Home Inspection LLC