home-inspection-flooding-miwaukeeFlooding in the basement is a reality for so many families – and it can happen any time of the year.

To prevent losing clothes, family photo albums and other precious possessions, learn how to prevent flooding by checking your sump pump even before the Fall rains and leaves add more trouble.

If you have never experienced this odds are your home had one prior to you moving in. Read below to find out a few basics about this frustration saving piece of equipment.

Sump Pump Basics
A sump pump protects your home from groundwater getting into your basement. A system below the basement floor channels the water into the sump pump crock. The sump pump either lifts the water outside to surface level or into a storm sere away from your home. There are a few quick things you should know:

  • Your sump pump has a separate drainage system than the rest of your home.
  • Test your sump pump every few months. Pour water into the crock. Once the water gets about 8-12 inches the sump pump should come on. The water should be clear and have no roots or debris in it.
  • If there is a float on the end of a rod make sure the float moves easily. If the float is sticking then the pump will not run and your basement can flood.
  • If the pump is worn, rusty, or noisy it is time to replaced it. The pump should be securely mounted in the crock. The power should be directly from an outlet and not an extension cord.
  • If your pump runs more than a few times daily or runs consistently in heavy rain you may need a secondary pump to avoid flooding. The second pump should have higher water level set so that it only comes on as backup. If you live in an area that often experiences power outages consider a battery backup fir the pump system.
  • Consider installing a monitor that alerts you if the sump pump stops working. This can help avoid flooding. You get one as cheap as approximately $12 and can save yourself a lot of trouble.
  • The water detector is a small unit about the size of your palm that runs on a 9v battery. It sounds an alarm for up to 72 hours when it comes in contact with water.

Roots in your sump pump crock
Roots in your sump pump crock can be a serious problem. If roots are blocking any part of the system it could hinder water drainage and cause a flood. During cold weather this can cause horizontal movement and cracking.

Have a professional evaluate the problem. They can cut holes in the basement floor to examine the condition of the bleeders. The bleeders’ condition will indicate how sever the problem is. Before you commit to any repairs have your drain tile system evaluated. An evaluation of the drain tile system should cost about $400 and will tell you what steps to take next.

Walk the perimeter of your property to see if you can determine the source of the problem. If you have willow, Cottonwood, or Chinese Elm trees check these first as they are known to have roots spread into sewage systems. These are very common trees in the Milwaukee area, and most trees have roots that extend a little beyond it’s leaf area(crown), but these trees can extend four or more times their crown.

When to hire a contractor
If you decide to use a basement repair contractor make sure to check the references first. The contractor should completely evaluate the problem before suggesting any repairs. Consult several different contractors to ensure that you are being given correct information. Be sure that the contractor you hire belongs to the local home builders’ or professional home remodelers group.

Also consider hiring a basement repair consultant or structural engineer who works independently of repair contractors. A consultant can help you determine what actually needs to be done without getting caught in being sold expensive unnecessary repairs.