At Watters, we get lots of questions about sump pumps — especially in the spring when our Wisconsin winter snow finally starts to thaw out and flood risks are higher. Sump pumps are nifty devices that all too often go unnoticed in your basement until it either doesn’t work (yikes!) or it’s time to replace it. With that in mind, we thought we’d dive in and answer some of the most common questions our team of plumbing experts are asked about sump pumps.
How does a sump pump work?
As you probably already know, you’ll find your sump pump in the basement or a crawlspace and they’re meant to help keep water and moisture out of your house. While there are a lot of ins and outs depending on the sump pump, here’s the basic process:
- The pits beneath the sump pump collect water.
- When the water level reaches a certain point, the pressure automatically activates the sump pump.
- The pump then turns on and pushes the water away from the house.
A sump pump is definitely recommended here in the Fox Cities. We live in a relatively flat area of Wisconsin that receives a significant amount of rain and snow, which mean the flood risk is high. A sump pump is the first line of defense to keep water out of your basement.
How many sump pumps do I need?
Good question. This can vary depending on the size of the building. For most homeowners in Green Bay and the Fox Cities, we generally recommend having one automatic sump pump and a secondary battery backup system in case of pump failure or power outage.
How long should a sump pump last?
Generally, they last about 10 years. However, that can vary depending on the quality of the pump, how frequently it’s used, and other factors. A little noise is normal, but if you start hearing irregular noises (vibrations, clanging, or thuds) or your pump is running in excess even when the weather is fine, then it’s probably time to replace your pump.
What is the cost to replace a sump pump?
On average, homeowners can expect to pay in the $400 range. Again, this really depends on the sump pump and other factors. Our team would be happy to talk through your options and specific needs!
How do I maintain my sump pump?
You’ll want to check in on your sump pump every three months or so. Check for any debris around the pit and keep the area clean and clear. Be sure to check the wires for fraying or damage. If all looks good, add a few gallons of water to your pit to activate the sump pump and check if it is working. If you know there’s going to be a big storm or the Wisconsin spring thaw is in full swing, it might be best to keep a closer eye on things.
If you have any additional questions or something doesn’t seem right with your sump pump, we’re always here to help.