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If you have a basement that get leaks and gets wet when it rains, chances are you have a sump pump to help keep the water out as well as mold and mildew from starting to grow. Your sump pump isn’t something that you think about on a daily basis; it’s something you know is there and you expect it to start working when it is needed to keep your basement dry and protected.

Unfortunately, like every other system in your home, your sump pump will need maintenance and eventually will need to be replaced. You will want to know the signs that your sump pump may be ready to fail so you aren’t caught off guard with a flooded basement.

Here in Toronto, between the weather and the fact that we site on a high water table, water entering the basement is a part of life for many of us.  And for many, the only thing keeping the basement from becoming a wet and moldy room is the sump pump.  A sump pump is a critical piece of equipment you need to have ready to work at all times if you want to keep your basement dry.

We highly recommend having a backup sump pump system installed, just imagine being on vacation when your sump pump decides to quit on you, but you should also be aware of signs that your sump pump may be ready to fail on you.

Sump Pump Installation Drwaing of Toronto Home

Sump Pump Installation Toronto

 

Signs Your Sump Pump May Be Ready to Fail

Cycling on and off – When you hear your sump pump constantly kicking on and off, this is a good sign that your sump pump either needs maintenance or to be replaced. This can be an indicator that your sump pump basin is too small for the amount of water that it is holding. The faster the water fills up the more frequently your sump pump needs to run. If your pump is turning on and off constantly to try to keep up with the water depth you might experience the motor burning out prematurely, which results in your purchasing a new sump pump.

 

Long run time – When your sump pump kicks on and stays running for longer than normal it is an indicator of a few possibilities: your pump is having to work too hard based either on the amount of water or the distance that it is required to move the water. Either way, you are going to want to make some changes. A motor that is having to work too hard can result in a failed sump pump and possibly a flooded basement.

Toronto Sump Pump Installation

Sump pump installed in Toronto home

 

Making a lot of noise – Your sump pump should make a low hum sound, anything more than this is a warning sign of a problem. If your sump pump is loud or making grinding or clanking noises, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. A noisy sump pump can mean a broken bearing or jammed impeller (that’s the fan that is used to suck the water up into the pump), both of these mean you are on your way to a new sump pump.

 

Not turning on when needed – This is one of the easier symptoms to diagnose. If your sump pump is not turning on when needed, you know you have a problem. However, don’t jump right to buying a new sump pump. Your first step if your sump pump isn’t turning on should be to check the float switch. Many times a stuck float switch is the cause of a malfunctioning sump pump. If you check and find this is not the cause of the problem, you need to quickly start considering a new sump pump.

 

Pedal-style pump – These pumps are typically made of plastic and while they were commonly used in the past, do not offer the same quality as newer pumps. Pedal-style pumps are louder and tend to be more unstable then current options. It is best to replace a pedal-style pump and upgrade to a submerged pump. While these were once the go-to pump, we have come a long way over the years and there are more efficient options for your home needs.

 

Damage from a Failed Sump Pump

A failed sump pump can lead to not only a flooded basement, but mold, mildew and damage to your property. The best way to avoid a potential problem is to make sure you are not neglecting your sump pump. Maintain it if needed and don’t brush off those noises and changes that you notice. The best time to replace your sump pump is before the old one quits working altogether, leaving you in a bind.

 

If you think that you might be in need of a new sump pump, or have questions about your existing pump, give Nusite Waterproofing a call or contact us here. As a Toronto-based, locally owned business with over 50 years of combined experience, Nusite Waterproofing can help you with all your weatherproofing needs.  We are experts in basement waterproofing and sump pump installations, we serve Toronto and the surrounding GTA.

While widespread power outages are rare in Toronto, you do see smaller power outages affecting various neighborhoods from time to time.  If you have a leaky basement and rely on an interior waterproofing system and sump pump to keep water out, then a power outage could create additional challenges for you.

Unfortunately, flooded basements and power outages often go hand in hand. Nobody wants to see their rec-room, wet bar or home office swamped with dirty water following a rainstorm or flash flood and this is why you should always be prepared for the worst-case scenario during a rainstorm.  There’s not really any way of stopping Mother Nature from taking its course, but you can definitely be ready for her and keep the water damage to a minimum.

Taking preemptive action is your best course when it comes to protecting your home from flooding in your basement, nobody wants to ruin their finished basement due to a pump failure, especially when it could have been preventing by ensuring you had backup measures in place.

Sump pumps

It’s highly recommended that you have a sump pump installed and ready to go just in case water starts to seep into your basement for whatever reason. If you are on the receiving end of a flooded basement a sump pump will be an essential piece of equipment. Without one, your basement could quickly resemble a swimming pool. A backup sump pump is designed to supplement a primary pump, especially if it ceases to work during a power failure, excessive use, or mechanical failure. A battery-powered backup pump will provide you with a few more hours of power and can help keep water out of your basement during the critical hours needed to get power restored.

Toronto-sump-pump-drawing

Sump pump installed in Toronto home

There are two types of battery-powered sump pumps, which are AC/DC and DC. If the AC power or the pump itself fails then the pump will automatically switch over to the DC battery power. The best pumps operate directly with AC power since they won’t deplete the battery whereas a DC-only pump can operate on battery power only. There are also a couple of types of batteries to choose from. You’ll find there are acid batteries which need water as well as maintenance-free deep-cycle marine models. Of course, if your basement’s in bad shape, you should consider operating both a sump pump and primary pump simultaneously.

Backup Generators

One of the most common problems when using a primary pump is the loss power in your home and a battery-powered sump pump works for just a limited amount of time. This means you may not be able to pump all of the water out of your dwelling unless you have some type of emergency backup generator for your sump pump. After you’ve used up the power in a backup pump you’re basically back to square one with a flooded cellar and no electricity. There’s no doubt that a battery-powered sump pump is better than no backup at all, but the best way to get rid of the water is with a more reliable power source.

liberty-sump-pump-diagram

Liberty backup sump pump diagram

A portable generator will enable you to operate your primary and/or backup pumps for several days if you’ve suffered a power outage. A generator will also let you keep some of your other necessary appliances running, such as the furnace and refrigerator/freezer. A standby generator is generally the best option when you’ve lost power. These may cost a few dollars more than standard generators, but they’re capable of automatically powering up several appliances at a time.

Backup emergency generators are available in several sizes which are categorized by the amount of watts they can put out. A medium-sized generator of about 5,000 watts is often large and strong enough to provide power to several appliances at once.  However, if you feel you need more power, you’ll be able to find portable generators that can serve up about 17,500 watts and are capable of restoring power to several rooms as well as your central air conditioning unit.

liberty-sump-pump-441

Liberty backup sump pump protection system.

Water Monitoring Devices

Modern technology can also help you out if your basement’s starting to flood as sophisticated home monitoring devices are designed to alert you if your home is starting to flood. Some sump-pump accessories can actually email or text home owners if there’s an emergency and they’re usually well worth the extra cost. These battery-operated models typically monitor temperature, water level, and power failures and are able to contact you via your home telephone land line. They’ll also send out an audio alarm which you’ll be able to hear if you’re at home.

Be prepared

Purchasing a sump pump after your basement has flooded is similar to buying insurance after you’ve crashed your car. It’s a little too late, but it could still help you out in the future. But speaking of insurance, you may want to consider purchasing a policy that specifically protects you from flood damage. This will offer you some peace of mind should your home be hit with water damage.

Do you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA?  Nusite Waterproofing offers a free in-home inspection and estimate in Toronto and the surrounding GTA.  We provide basement waterproofing services and can also install a fail proof backup sump pump system for your home.  Contact us today to learn more.

liberty-sump-pump-441The best way to get rid of any excess groundwater or rainwater from your home, office or any other property or area is to use a sump pump. This type of pump sits inside of a basin, which is also referred to as a sump and it’s designed to collect excess water that collects in your basement.

Of course, if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have a flooded basement you’ll need to pump the water out as soon as possible to limit the amount of damage done to your property and/or its contents. Since the pump’s sump basin can overflow if it’s not being pumped out constantly it’s essential to have a backup system in place if the main power should happen to go out or the primary pump fails.

If the pump does fail then a battery-powered backup pump will take over automatically, allowing you to remove the water from a flooded basement as quickly as you can.

If you’re searching for a an emergency sump pump system with a battery backup then you may want to check out the Liberty 441 model.

The Liberty Model 441 backup sump pump is designed to be used in combination with a primary 120-volt sump pump, operates via a 12-volt DC battery, and can adapt to a 1 and 1/2 or a 1 and 1/4 discharge. If the power goes out due to water damage, a severe storm or any other reason, you’ll be able to use this pump because it’s powered by a recommended Type M27 marine-grade deep-cycle battery. The 12-volt high-output pump comes with an advanced five-stage charging system plumbing connections, a battery box and strap, and a terminal block that’s simple to connect, but the battery needs to be obtained separately.

liberty-sump-pump-diagram

The Liberty 411 backup submersible sump pump also comes with a 12-volt charger, control panel, an automatic mercury-free switch, tee, check valve and bushings for 1 and ¼ and 1 and ½ connections, and audible light and alarm, and an automatic startup system.

The advanced five-stage charging system will test the battery while maintaining the maximum charge without running it down. The state-of-the art charging algorithm is designed to continuously test the unit’s charging process from the start to finish.

The specifications for the charger are INPUT: 120Vac, 0.19Aac, 60Hz and OUTPUT: 12Vdc, 900mA

Five Charging Stages:

1-This is known as the pre-qualification test and it utilizes a flashing yellow LED light. This stage actually consists of three different tests to the battery. If a fault is discovered in the system then any further charging will be prohibited. The length of this stage depends on the condition of the battery and it typically takes anywhere from 40 seconds up to two hours.

2-The second stage is known as the constant-current charge and it sees the yellow LED light stay on continuously when the battery is being charged at the full output.

3-The yellow LED light stays on in this stage, which is the constant-voltage charge. However, once the light goes out it means the battery has been fully charged.

4-The fourth stage is known as the float charge and a green LED light will come on. The charger will maintain the battery charge while you connect A.C. power. The power can be left connected for an indefinite period of time and only the service life of the battery can limit it.

5- The fifth and last stage is known as the recycle charge. During this stage a new charging cycle will begin every 84 days as long as the battery is connected to the charger.

liberty-sump-pump-performance

The system features a 150-hour safety timer. A fault will be displayed if the system times out and the charging process will be halted to protect the equipment. There’s also a short circuit and reverse-battery protection system and if there’s an emergency you’ll see an alarm light and be notified audibly as well. The unit’s slip-on connectors and terminal block make for easy wiring and the float switch is fully assembled. If the pump is operated continuously the battery will hold a charge for up to four hours and if the pump head’s used intermittently the battery can last up to 30 hours.

Have a question about backup power for your sump pump?  Contact Nusite today, we offer free in-home inspections and estimates in Toronto and across the GTA.

Sump Pump Program Toronto

We install a lot of sumps pumps here in Toronto.  They are usually the last line of defense to stop a flooded basement and choosing the right one for your basement is an important decision.

If you’re having repeated bouts of water leaking into your basement, a sump pump is probably the first step to a remedy.  Conversely, water through foundation cracks or basement window that don’t close properly are signs of a problem with your foundation, needing a complete cure.  And if your water troubles are minor and infrequent, you may not need a pump.

A sump pump is a sort of body guard for your basement.  It is there to head the water off, trap it, and get rid of it.  It’s almost like living on a mound with the sloping land all around directing the rain away.  A sump pump sits in a little hole dug for it in the basement’s floor—the sump pit.  If water enters the pit, the rising water level trips a switch that turns the pump on, which escorts the water out through a drain pipe.

Varieties of Pumps

Submersible – This one is the Cadillac.  These are installed under your basement (in the pit) as described above.  They are made from zinc, bronze, stainless steel or cast iron, and the best models can pump up to 7,000 GPH, gallons per hour.  You’ll likely get a good 25 years or more from your submersible.  Go with this design unless you absolutely can’t afford it.

Pedestal ­- This is your average used sedan.  These actually sit above the pump and may serve you only about 10-15 years.  They’re generally not as powerful, and it’s the cost that causes most people to choose them.  Some buyers are attracted to the idea that the motor, up above the water itself, should not face the threat of damage.

Criteria

Once you’ve chosen the type of pump to go with, let’s look at the factors to consider when shopping.  The biggest ones are: horsepower, switch quality, pumping capacity, quality of construction

1. Horsepower

Hooking an actual horse up to the pump will get the animal cruelty people out to your place so fast you won’t believe it.  So you’ll have to settle for a bit less.  Pumps are usually sold in small increments of 1/2 hp, 1/3 or 1/4, which gives you plenty of flexibility.

Basically, the 1/4 hp variety is for a household that isn’t having water problems at all, but just wants a no-nonsense approach to stopping any possible threat.  If you live in a low-rainfall area, this is for you.

1/3 hp is a good option for folks whose foundation is at or above the water table, and who live in areas with average rainfall.  The majority of you will probably go with this option.

The 1/2 hp is for a house in a low-lying area or one that is susceptible to high quantities of water for any reason.

 

2. Switch Quality

You probably wouldn’t buy a car without researching the engine or a golf club whose head design you don’t like.  As we mentioned above, the switch is activated by the water level, and it makes the pump act.  Therefore, dazzle your local store employee by going in with some knowledge of the different kind of pumps.

Electronic – These switches are powered by electronic sensors.  Electronic vs. mechanical means less worry about physical parts that can wear out.  Word has it that sometimes these switches can outlast the pump itself, sometimes working for more than a million cycles.

Float –These are fairly common.  The floating mechanism sometimes moves up and down on a rod.  As outlined above, it’s the floating mechanism that detects rising water and turns on the pump mechanism.  As you can guess, this set-up can require occasional maintenance—switch failure is probably the most common problem with sump pumps.  While a good float switch is just fine, you may try to go electronic when possible.

Diaphragm – These use water pressure to alert the pump to water.  Some varieties of these are adjustable, while some are not.  That’s something to give serious consideration.

 

3. Pumping Capacity

How much water the pump can handle is pretty important, particularly if you live in an area with flood threats.  There’s probably no reason to monkey around with a product that lists a max capacity of less than 3,000 GPH.  You should also see a listing of “flow at 10’ lift” and you’ll want one with as high a ratio of this to maximum capacity as possible.  This is affected by the length of the discard pipe.

 

4. Quality of Construction

Your sump pump is made up the housing, which is the outer shell of the machine; the impeller, a small motor at the bottom of the rod that runs the machine’s center and activates the pump, and the cover.

Naturally, you’ll want the housing to be as strong and durable as possible.  Cast iron or bronze are the best materials.  Thermoplastic materials are good for housing since they are non-corrosive.  But be sure not to buy a pump with internal materials made of thermoplast.  These are not good alternatives to stainless steel and other heavy-duty material.

Choose a quality sump pump and contractor 

To conclude, many sump pumps come with warranties and quality of pumps can vary.   You can purchase a sump pump from your local hardware store, though you may need some expertise when it comes to choosing and installing the one that is right for your situation.  Sump pumps don’t last forever and require some maintenance to get the most out of it.  It’s usually your last line of defense when it comes to having a dry basement or a flooded basement, so it’s important to choose and install the right one.

If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA, feel free to contact us here with any sump pump or basement waterproofing questions you may have.