In late December and early January, we’ve been seeing an unusual increase in customers calling for basement groundwater issues. As I hope you’ve learned from our posts in the past, your sump pump and weeping tile system are together responsible for removing groundwater from underneath and around the foundation of your home. With the repetitive freeze/thaw cycles that we’ve been going through so far this winter, those sump pumps have been working overtime!
Here's the issue with sump pumps – they tend to fail without warning. The lifespan of a typical sump pump is about 7 years, but we often see them fail earlier than that! What dictates that lifespan is very dependent on how often it pumps, how far it needs to push the water, etc. The hope is that you are able to catch the failure before the next rainstorm, where groundwater becomes an issue and floods the basement!
So, what can you do? There are essentially three options:
1. Wait for the sump pump to fail and hope that you catch it before you find yourself with wet feet
2. Pre-emptively replace the sump pump every seven years, before it fails (hopefully)
3. INSTALL A BATTERY BACKUP SYSTEM WITH AN ALARM!
Ok, so you can likely see what we consider to be the best option. The thing with Option #3 is that you have a couple of extra ways to protect your home. First, there is a secondary pump powered by a battery which kicks in if that primary pump fails because of age, power outage, etc. and second, there is a built in alarm to tell you that the backup pump is the one doing the work. This tells you that something has happened to that primary pump and you need to have a look. All of these things help protect your home from that dreaded flood.
The only thing about these battery backup systems is that they are not cheap. However, there is good news - the City of Toronto has a rebate that will cover 80% of the total invoiced cost, up to $1750! To say it again, the City of Toronto is GOING TO PAY YOU $1750 TO PROTECT YOUR HOME! While these battery powered backup systems will max out that rebate, you will only be left paying a few hundred dollars for a shiny new system (and more importantly, peace of mind). Please have a look at the link below to see what the rebate entails as well as other ways you can help protect your home using the other rebates.
That is all for this week! I strongly suggest you consider having a look into your sump pump system, especially this winter. The year has been a tough one on these systems so far and I envision the spring will bring a whole new set of problems!