Your basement. Whether it’s finished or unfinished, used or unused, neat or messy, there’s one thing you always need from it – to be dry. Obviously, if your basement is finished, keeping it dry is essential but, as many Chicago homeowners don’t realize, it’s every bit as important when your basement is unfinished to prevent high humidity levels in your home as well as the growth of harmful mold.
One of a homeowner’s best weapons against a wet basement is a sump pump that takes water from drain tile and other sources and expels it from the house before it can do damage. A high quality, well maintained sump pump will keep your basement dry and your home safe for years – but what happens when the power fails or the sump pump breaks or wears out?
There are two calamities that can put your sump pump out of commission – the power can fail or the sump pump can malfunction or just plain wear out. There’s not much you can do to avoid either; they just happen, usually at the worst possible time. By preparing for these situations in advance by installing a backup sump pump can save the day, not to mention your basement.
There are three basic varieties of backup sump pump, each of which provides a different level of protection:
Battery Backup Sump Pump – A battery backup sump pump is powered by a strong, high capacity storage battery that can keep the pump running for 24 hours or more when household power fails. The battery backup pump will function just like your primary sump pump, cycling on and off as the water level rises and falls in the sump basin. A battery backup sump pump is a reliable safeguard when the power goes out but what about when the power stays on and the primary sump pump doesn’t?
AC/DC Backup Sump Pump – A dual-power (AC/DC) backup sump pump jumps in and saves the day not just during power failures but also during sump pump failures. When power fails, the AC/DC backup sump pump runs on battery power and fills in for the primary pump until power is restored. If the primary pump malfunctions or burns out, the backup pump again takes over, running on household current, and continues to work until the primary pump is repaired or replaced. A dual-power backup sump pump is a particularly good idea in areas where a high water table or frequent heavy rains causes the primary sump pump to run often, shortening the life of the motor.
AC/DC Dual Pump Backup Sump System – The ultimate in backup sump pumps features not just dual power sources but dual pumps and actually replaces the old pump and serves as both primary and backup sump pumps. Dual pump systems are designed for the pumps to alternate during use, minimizing wear on moving parts and the pump motors. Both pumps run on household current and a 48 – 72 hour battery to ensure that your basement stays dry, no matter what.
Now, some Chicago homeowners with backup electrical generator systems think they don’t need a backup sump pump but, in truth, most of these generators are not “whole house” as they are commonly called. Unless they are huge, and hugely expensive, they provide only a limited number of circuits that are often used for refrigerators and HVAC. Also, even if they have enough wattage to light up the Loop, they won’t remove one drop of water from your basement if the sump pump breaks or malfunctions.
The next time one of those huge summer thunderstorms knocks out your part of Chicago’s shaky power grid, don’t worry about basement turning into an indoor swimming pool. The experts at U.S. Waterproofing have installed thousands of backup sump pump systems for Chicago homeowners since our founding in 1957 so why not ask us how it’s done. Our advice is always free.
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