Spring 2013 will be noted in weather history for two characteristics: It’s been unusually chilly and unusually wet. Most Chicagoans shrug it off as some sort of karmic balance for Spring 2012 when it was atypically warm and dry.
If you’re a Chicago homeowner who’s suffered from a wet basement during the heavy spring rains, however, you can’t afford to shrug it off because ruined rugs and furniture and soggy cardboard boxes are probably more bad karma than you deserve. Because torrential spring rains (and heavy summer thunderstorms) are hardly unique events in Chicago, it’ll pay to be prepared for the next time the skies open and one great way to do so is to put a backup sump pump installation on your calendar.
What Kind of Backup Sump Pump Should I Install in my Chicago Basement?
Every Chicago homeowner knows about sump pumps, right? They sit in a hole over in the corner and turn on when water enters the pit then “clunk” when they shut off. Well, yeah, but that part about turning on when water enters the pit is the critical part of the description. Sump pumps are generally reliable but, like any mechanical device, they eventually wear out or break. Also, particularly during those thunderstorms, Chicago’s wobbly power grid gives out and the sump pump turns into a paperweight as the water flows across the floor.
And, if that weren’t enough, a really heavy rain can cause such a rapid flow of water into the sump pit that the pump won’t be able to keep up with the volume.
The way to prevent any of these disasters is to install a backup sump pump system that will take over when the primary pump gives out, can’t keep up or the power fails. The backup pump is similar to the primary pump; what differs is its source (or sources) of power:
Battery-only Backup Sump Pump – The most basic backup sump pump is one that operates by battery alone; these are known as DC pumps and are commonly available at home centers and hardware stores. Pumps of this type, like the BOSS 2100, are powered by a strong rechargeable battery that can power between 48 and 72 hours of periodic operation. These battery-only pumps are tied to the household electrical system so they can switch on when the power is interrupted. They are the most economical alternative and they’re better than going without a backup but they won’t step in if the primary sump pump dies or gets overwhelmed by the incoming flow of water, so they have a few limitations.
Dual-Power Backup Sump Pump – A significant improvement over the battery-only backup sump pump and the most popular solution among Chicago homeowners is one that uses both AC and DC power sources – a powerful battery and household current. A dual-power backup sump pump, like the BOSS 3000, takes over and runs on battery power when household power fails. If the primary sump pump jams, breaks or dies completely or if it is overwhelmed by the volume of water, the backup sump pump jumps in to help, drawing household current to power it as long as it is needed.
Dual-Power, Dual Pump Backup System – The latest and most advanced development in backup sump pumps is an AC/DC powered, dual-pump system that replaces, not just assists, the primary sump pump. These systems, like the BOSS 3000 Deluxe, consist of two matched sump pumps that are both connected to strong batteries and household power. They alternate in serving as the primary pump, which prolongs the life of both, and one will take over if the other fails. Also, when the flow of water becomes too much for one pump, both sump pumps will step up and pump water until the flow diminishes.
To determine which type of pump is right for your home, call on the services of a basement waterproofing contractors that knows Chicago basements and can offer a full range of backup sump pump systems. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been installing backup sump pump systems in Chicago for decades and we test every pump we sell in our Sump Pump Research Center, not in our customers’ homes. Why not ask for a free consultation?