The cost of cleaning up a flooded basement in 2011 is astronomical. Just recently I received an insurance claim for over $16,000.00 relating to a failed sump pump that was over five years old. Yes… I said five years old! You have got to be kidding?!?!?
In this particular case the sump pump impeller was jammed with a buildup of iron and minerals, a sandwich bag full of debris, to be exact! This buildup prevented the sump pump from starting and the motor overheated and burnt itself up. I was surprised the homeowner did not smell something. Eventually the water raised up, probably after a big rain storm, saturated the foundation and leaked in around the finished areas creating a real mess.
“How could this be prevented?” you might ask. Well the homeowner should have tested the sump pump and periodically cleaned the sump basin as outlined in the owners information provided with each sump pump that leaves our shop. Or the owner or plumber could have installed a simple “High Water Alarm” set a few inches above the point where the sump pumps float switch turns the pump on; the homeowner would have been notified that there was a “high water” situation sooner and would have been able to remedy the situation before the water had backed up into the drain tiles and caused the flooding.
The retail cost of a basic “High Water Alarm” with a 9 volt battery, similar to a smoke detector, is about $35.00 and is easy to install. A better high water alarm, similar to a septic tank alarm, retails at around $109.00 and some can even be wired directly into a home security system or an “Auto-Dialer” that notifies the homeowner if they are away from their home.
The key is to remember with any of these high water alarms is that they need to be tested and checked yearly, or even more often, if they have an active sump pump.
Or… how about a battery back up system, which is always a great idea and will be the subject of my next blog.
Remember… a finished lower level means you and your customers need protection.