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You Don’t Have To Be Worried About Basement Flooding Every Time It Rains

I have multiple articles on theplumbinginfo.com regarding sump pumps, battery backups and basement flooding. This one is going to be slightly different. This is my call to action article. Residential service plumbing contractors make a living by changing out sump pumps and installing battery backup sump pumps but they make their most money on emergencies during downpours. Furthermore, a large percentage of sump pump replacement and flood situations happen in finished basements. When a basement is used for storage a sump pump (singular) may be enough for you. However, when a basement has been remodeled and is used for extra living space it’s ridiculous to rely on just a sump pump.

This may sound a bit harsh but I have a tough time feeling any empathy for homeowners that spend between 20K and 80K on basement refinishing and then flood when the power goes out or their single sump pump fails. It amazes me how many of those sump pumps we go to change only to find they are the cheapest you can purchase. It’s like buying a brand new car with no insurance.

Dear homeowners, when you are remodeling your basement please allow in your budget a line item for flood protection. An $85.00 home center

Pool tables don't like 12" of water

Pool tables don’t like 12″ of water

sump pump is not the protection you want or need; it needs to be in direct proportion to the value you have invested in your basement in time and money. If you choose not to protect your basement you have only yourself to blame when Service Master has to come out to your house to rip out the carpeting, half the drywall and perform mold remediation because your basement flooded once again.

There are Many Levels of Basement Flood Protection to Choose From

Here are the different levels of basement flood protection you can have installed starting with the most basic and ending with the best of all protection:

Plastic Sump PumpBasic Budget Sump Pump – Please read the above carefully. This is the sump pump the builder gave you when the house was built or it’s the cheapest one you could find when the builders special failed and you needed a quick fix. These are usually made from plastic. There are a couple reliable plastic models out there but they are by no means pumps you should install to protect a finished basement. Cost $80.00 to $125.00 pump only.

Heavy Duty Sump Pumps – Quite a few sump pump manufacturers make this kind of pump. It’s the next step up. They are

This is a heck of a sump pump

This is a heck of a sump pump

usually made of cast iron or a combination of stainless and cast iron. Every house in the U.S. that has a basement in an area prone to flooding should have this type of pump. They come in multiple horsepower variations. Don’t get too caught up with H.P. It’s the total developed head the pump has to pump against that determines the H.P. of the pump. Most normal homes are perfectly fine with a 1/3 H.P. pump. There are near commercial pumps you can buy in this category but I’m not going to go into all the variations here. Contact me and I’d be glad to guide you to the right product. Cost $185.00 to $325.00 pump only.

Budget Battery Back-up Sump Pump System – These are the cheapest consumer units you can find at the home centers. Most professional plumbers won’t even install them. They consist of a marine battery, a controller to monitor the battery charge and to let you know if your power is out and small plastic sump pump. This unit will turn on if your primary pump fails, the power goes out or if the water rises in the pit to the level of the backup float, essentially helping out the primary pump to evacuate water. Cost $450.00 to $650.00 pump system only.

***Editors Note. I am not going to quote prices on the products below. There is such a range of products that it would nearly impossible for me to quote a price without having specific products. If you are interested I can give you a recommendation and buy the system and have it shipped to your address.

Premium Battery Back-up Sump Pump System – There are many different variations of what many would consider to be premium back-up sump pump systems so I will explain several to give you an idea of range of differences.

  • Single Heavy Duty Back-up Pump w/Marine Maintenance Free Battery – this is basically the same as the above with much nicer components: A premium sump pump, a maintenance free battery and a controller that gives you much more information. Some will even text you if your power goes out.
  • Pre-Piped Dual Heavy Duty Sumps with Maintenance Free Battery – this unit usually comes with two heavy-duty sump pumpsIon Storm Pro pre-piped. This would take the place of your existing sump pump. So one pump would work as your primary and the other would be a back up in case of the primary pump failing or the power going off.
  • Duel Heavy Duty Sumps with Maintenance Free Battery and Premium Controls – This is very similar to the above however companies take it a few steps further adding premium controls that give you a ton of monitoring information and will email, text or call in the event of a power outage. Most pumps systems in this range will also be duplex in nature. This means that the controls will be equipped with an alternating switch that alternates between pumps on every cycle to spread out the pumps cycles equally. This increases the life span of both pumps greatly.

Premium Backup System – The Sumpro is a perfect example of this type of unit. This is basically a heavy-duty battery charger with two marine batteries installed in the unit. Because most basements flood because the power goes off, this unit provides power to your existing pump with an impressive run time. This bad boy will provide power to your pump for a couple days with no power on a full charge. However, it does nothing without working pumps so it has its limitations.

This is a lock down option for basement flooding protection.

This is a lock down option for basement flooding protection.

Whole House Generator – This is the ultimate in home and basement protection. If your power goes out these types of generators automatically switch on using natural gas and power certain appliances and appurtenances in your home mainly the refrigerator and pumps. You can literally go as nuts as you want. You can buy a generator that will light up your house like a torch during power outages. We have put in back up generators that allow homeowners to run their pool lighting and heater during power outages. It’s a bit much but hey, if you have the money knock yourself out. Most people choose to power essential things like the garage door, refrigerators, freezers, pumps and family room so you can watch TV. If you combine a small generator with a battery backup and duplex pumping you are locking down your basement like a vault.

Basement Flooding Can Be Virtually Eliminated

I hope during reading the above I’ve convinced a few people to take some steps to protect your basements. I know it may sound a bit rough but every time it rains I see driveways filled with carpeting and drywall to be hauled away and most of the flooding can be avoided by investing some money in proper basement protection. I feel like if you spend 50K finishing your basement you should spend at least 3K to 5K to protect it.

Thanks for reading and thank you for making theplumbinginfo.com one of the most read plumbing websites on the Internet.

 

Sincerely,

Sean Kavanaugh

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