It’s hard to think about flooding during the driest part of a Boston summer, but this is actually a great time to protect your home against water damage. Water damage from flooding can occur with little warning, and can be the result of severe storms or plumbing problems within your home. Regardless of the water source, you can take steps to avoid home flooding.
If you have a sump pump in your home, proper maintenance can help ensure that your sump works when you need it to. Sumps come in a variety of designs. Some are designed to sit submerged in a sump well, while others sit on a pedestal above the water line, or to the side of the sump well. Submersible sumps are more expensive, but they’re sealed so they require less maintenance and may even last longer.
Regardless of your pump design, check the inlet valve to make sure that no debris has accumulated at the bottom of the well. Get rid of any debris (dirt, pet hair, lint, etc) that could reduce the flow of water into the pump. If your sump pump has a float-arm actuator, check it to ensure that it turns on properly. Do this by lifting the float arm until the pump turns on. Don’t do this with your bare hands. Use a stick or a scrap piece of wood to lift the float-arm. You can adjust the sensitivity of the sump pump by adjusting the float arm.
Consider installing a water alarm that will sound when the water level in the sump well gets too high. You can also use water alarms to detect leaks in other parts of your plumbing system, or in hidden water lines that feed appliances. These alarms can let you know of a problem immediately so you can limit the damage to walls, floors, cabinets and your personal possessions.
Keep in mind that your main sump pump probably runs on electricity, and won’t work when your power goes out. In other words, a severe storm could leave you without your sump pump just when you need it the most. If your home is susceptible to flooding, consider installing a backup sump pump. Backup systems operate when the primary pump fails and may operate on battery power.
Another popular “unpowered” design uses pressurized clean, flowing water from your municipal supply to create a strong suction in the sump well. The suction draws water up from the well and into a drain. When the water level in the sump well drops sufficiently, a special valve turns the supply line off and breaks the suction.
If you need assistance with installing or maintaining a sump pump, or you would like to install a backup sump pump or water alarms, we’re happy to lend a hand. Contact Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 and we’ll be happy to schedule a visit.