Boston Braces For Hurricane Sandy

If you’re a homeowner in Boston, you should be making preparations for Hurricane Sandy. While the central portion of the hurricane is expected to make landfall in New Jersey, residents will experience significant wind and flooding in Boston as a result. Compounding the problem is a large cold front that’s traveling southward from Canada, which is expected to meet the remnants of Sandy as it moves inland.

The National Weather Service is predicting between 1 to 2 inches of rain. Flooding is expected throughout Boston, and additional water may come ashore during high tide later in the evening. Residents should verify that sump pumps and emergency generators are in good working order.

It seems like obvious advice, but homeowners should ensure that their sump pumps are connected to an electrical circuit that will be supported by their generator. This will help ensure that low-lying water can be pumped out if electrical services fail as can be anticipated during a storm of this magnitude.

Additionally, residents should stockpile clean bottled water for drinking, cooking and sanitary uses. Residents should have enough water to last 2-4 days. Municipal fresh water systems, as well as sewage systems may be overwhelmed by storm water during this event, and sewage backups may be unavoidable.

Outside of your home, make sure that all storm water drains are clear of autumn leaves and debris. This will help clear water runoff during the worst part of the storm. If time permits, homeowners should also verify that their downspouts and gutters are clear of leaves and other organic debris to allow more water to drain away from their home’s foundation. Downspout extensions can also help direct water away from the home and reduce the chance of flooding and other water damage related to the storm.

Officials are predicting that Sandy may leave millions without power for 2-4 days following the storm, and emergency power crews from around the country have already assembled in the area to assist with power restoration efforts. Boston residents should avoid driving during the storm, as flooding and flash flooding can occur, especially in areas where the ground is already saturated with water.

If you experience a plumbing emergency during the storm, please contact Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We can help repair or replace damaged or non-working sump pumps, and help clear clogged drains, sewer lines and help assess other types of water damage.

Maintaining Sump Pumps in Boston

Depending upon the design of your home, you may have a sump pump. A sump pump is designed to remove water from the basement of your home and usually resides in a sump well, a covered hole in the basement floor. Maintaining sump pumps in Boston depends upon how often the pump is used, what it is used for, and the pump’s design.

Commonly, a sump pump will have one of four basic designs: floor suckers, pedestal, underwater and water-powered. Floor sucker pumps are meant for use in areas where water may accumulate on an irregular basis – such as basement and crawlspace flooding after a severe rain. Floor suckers remove standing water to within 1/8″ of the floor surface and drain it to the outside, or down a drain. The great advantage of a floor sucker is that it removes water quickly. These types of sump pumps can be invaluable when attempting to mitigate a flooding disaster. They are not, however, meant for regular use.

If your basement or crawlspace has the regular potential to accumulate standing water, a permanent sump pump is installed. Sometimes, homes are built into a hill or low spot in the terrain. In this circumstance, a sump pump can assist in the removal of wastewater when a home’s main drain is at or near grade.

A pedestal sump pump sits above the water line in a sump well and is activated when the water level reaches a certain height. The pedestal sump pump is not designed to get wet. Pedestal sump designs are common. They are less expensive and more efficient than other sump designs, but they are generally noisier.

An underwater sump pump is submerged in the sump well and relies on optical sensors at the normal water level to activate the pump when additional water is detected. Submersible sump pumps are more expensive than pedestal pumps, and require more maintenance. A submersible sump pump should be cleaned three or four times per year, and the pump should be inspected annually for signs of leakage or wear.

A water-powered sump pump is never used alone. Instead, it is used as a backup for a conventional sump pump. A water-powered sump pump would be too inefficient for regular use, but in a pinch, a water-powered sump can mean the difference between a dry basement and an insurance claim. The water-powered sump pump uses your home’s clean water supply to create a significant drop in water pressure, which in turn creates a vacuum. The change in pressure draws the water out of the well (like a straw) and sends it out of the house through a drain or hose. A water-powered sump pump is an excellent protective measure if your home (either through poor design or location) has a high potential to flood.

Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating can assist you with sump pump maintenance, repair and replacement. We can also add a water-powered sump pump to your home to give you added protection against accidental flooding. Contact us today at (617) 288-2911 for more information.