Frigid Temps To Flash Floods: Extreme Weather And Your Sump Pump

Frigid Temps To Flash Floods: Extreme Weather And Your Sump Pump

Our first real cold snap in several years has passed, and we may be about to enjoy some lovely January freezing rain as we “thaw”. I wanted to say a few words about the effect of cold & snow on your sump pump system.

Most people forget about their sump pumps over the winter. With all of the frozen precipitation just sitting on the ground, who cares, right? Well, there are some big issues that can happen when the weather warms up a little. First, all of that snow and ice is simply stored water, sitting there waiting to melt and flow into the ground, down to your drain tile and sump pump. But wait, we all know that snow and ice will melt long before the ground itself thaws out – what then?!?

What Happens When THIS Melts?!?

I’ll tell you what – with the ground frozen, it will not be able to absorb that water like it normally would in spring or summer. That melt water will flow to the side of your home’s foundation, then straight down into the drain tiles along the walls. The natural buffer created when the soil absorbs the water will not be there, so your sump pump system will be put to the test!

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because it’s winter. Floods don’t only happen in spring, they can happen ANYTIME, so make sure you and your home are prepared.To learn more, call us at 847-967-PUMP (7867) or click here. We’re always happy to help and answer questions.

So be safe in the cold weather, and be alert as it starts to warm up…

November Tornadoes – What Next?!?

November Tornadoes – What Next?!?

You all heard about the devastating storms that wiped out areas of downstate Illinois last Sunday… Our hearts go out to all who were affected, and we hope they recover quickly (if you want to help, see information below). It’s a tremendous shock to have a storm system produce so many powerful tornadoes – but in mid-November?? We were certainly surprised to see weather like that so late in the year – not normally our busy time here at The Sump Pump Company! It makes us wonder, what’s going on with the weather anyway?

From superstorms in the Northeast U.S., to mega-typhoons in the Philippines, it seems as though the weather is getting more severe each year. Perhaps our globe really is warming, but regardless of why it’s happening, there’s no question it’s a good idea to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature might throw our way. And as we just saw, you really never know when that storm might come!

For those heavy squalls with howling, power-line-toppling winds, you need a sump pump system that can keep all of the ground water out of your basement, no matter what. Like any machine, pumps fail, so you need a system that warns of failures so you have time to fix problems before your system goes down. We’ve seen too many flooded basements that had primary and battery backup pump systems which had failed with no warning at all, giving their owners a false sense of security while sleeping on the job!

Battery backup sump pump system

Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup System

I sleep well at night (even the other night when some strong storms rolled through) because I know my basement is protected by one of the best battery backup sump pump systems available, the PHCC Pro 2400. It’s always on guard, constantly monitoring itself and my primary pump for failures. If it detects a problem, it lets me know. Is your basement protected?

If you’re not sure, go ahead and browse around our website to learn all about sump pumps. If you still have questions, feel free to call us at 847-965-PUMP (7867) or click here to send us a message.

~ Dave

TORNADO DISASTER DONATIONS

If you want to help those who were affected by our unprecedented November tornadoes, the Red Cross is accepting donations to the Central Illinois Tornado Response fund at www.redcross.org or (800) RED CROSS.

We’ve been flooded, how about you?

We’ve Been Flooded, How About You?!?

Anyone who lives around here knows that we experienced extremely heavy rain and severe flooding last month.  While that’s great for our business, it’s definitely NOT great for our customers who were affected.

Many of our customers suffered from sewer backups, when the City sewers became overwhelmed and flowed into their basements.  Unfortunately, your sump pump won’t help with a City sewer backup – for that you need some sort of flood control system, like an overhead sewer conversion.  Our sister company LJ Brown Plumbing is expert at designing and installing such systems; feel free to call them at 847-965-2200 if you have any questions.

The other common way that basements flood is from groundwater.  Most homes with basements or crawlspaces have a sump basin that collects groundwater from around the base of the foundation before it rises high enough to seep into the basement through the crack between the wall & floor.  Your sump pump system is designed to pump the water out of the sump basin and away from your home. For a complete overview of this, watch our Sump Pump 101 video here.

Battery backup sump pump system

Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup System

If your sump pump fails to work, or does not have enough capacity to keep up with the inflow of water, it will overflow the basin and cause a flood.  That’s why we recommend a battery backup sump pump system be installed in EVERY sump basin.  If you don’t have a battery backup sump pump system, you don’t have a sump pump at all!

I know I may sound like a broken record, because I am constantly telling everyone that they need a backup pump system.  We’ve learned that there are two basic types of people – those who have experienced a flood, and those who haven’t yet had the pleasure.  It’s for the latter group that I keep repeating myself, in the hope that they will take steps to protect themselves before it’s too late!

We’ve had a lot of calls recently from the former group, those who HAVE flooded before.  Many customers have said that although they have a backup pump system, the recent weather made them very nervous about another flood, and they came upon our website and were interested in our backup systems.  It’s clear: those who have flooded before would do almost anything to prevent it from happening again!

Don’t be an unfortunate victim.  Protect yourself.  Put in a good sump pump and battery backup system from The Sump Pump Company (serving Morton Grove, Park Ridge, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Niles, Evanston, the North and Northwest suburbs and Chicago’s North Side). and sleep well at night (even stormy nights)!

~ Dave

Don’t Stand For A Standalone Battery Backup Unit!

Don’t Stand For A Standalone Battery Backup Unit!

You may have seen battery backup power supply units available on the market that can provide power backup to anything plugged into them, including a regular sump pump.  It’s reasonable to ask why one wouldn’t want to just use a standard AC powered sump pump, along with a battery backup unit, for their sump pump system.  Well, there are a couple of very important reasons why I think that’s not a good idea at all!

First of all, the best thing about having a separate battery backup pump system is that when (not IF) your main pump fails, there is another pump right there to take over.  It is NOT ENOUGH to simply back up the power supply – you need an entire second system!

Another major problem I have with standalone battery backup units is the fact that I’ve never seen one that effectively tests and monitors itself.  When the batteries fail, you have no backup power source.  Batteries are GUARANTEED TO FAIL, and they usually do so much more rapidly than the equipment they’re meant to power.  Having a system that alerts you when there’s a problem is essential!

The backup power units that I’ve seen come with a standard duplex outlet (that means two places to plug something in).  The problem with that is the fact that these units can only supply a maximum of around 13 amps.  Most devices will not draw too much current by themselves.  However, if you plug TWO devices in and they both activate, you could end up with a dead backup unit…

battery backup sump pump system

PHCC Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup Sump Pump System

The bottom line is a good dedicated battery backup sump pump system is almost always a better choice than a standalone battery backup power source.  Not only can you avoid the pitfalls I’ve just described, systems like our PHCC Pro 2400 also test their pumps regularly, and they monitor their float switches for problems as well.  No standalone battery backup unit that I’m aware of provides those features.

And remember, we’re talking about a critical system in your home.  If you don’t have a good battery backup sump pump, you don’t have a sump pump at all!  Don’t take chances, call The Sump Pump Company at 847-967-PUMP (7867) and enjoy the peace of mind you’ll experience knowing you’re protected.

~ Dave

 

“Sump Pump Works Great, But…”

“Sump Pump Works Great, But Expensive”

Sump Pump installation feedbackThat’s what was written on a comment card we recently received back from a customer who purchased a system from us, and I think it goes to the heart of what we try to do here at The Sump Pump Company.  You see, our mission is to learn everything we can about all of the sump pump products available, then help you choose which system to install.  Our philosophy is to balance COST against FEATURES, to come up with the best VALUE.

Unfortunately, I have yet to come across a sump pump system that is both CHEAP, and WORTH IT… The fact is, there are dozens of products that span the range from very cheap to outrageously expensive.  In our experience, it’s rare that we come across a situation which requires the most expensive solution.  And, we have yet to see a very inexpensive pump system that actually protects you reliably.  As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, and with a system as critical as your sump pump, going cheap could have disastrous (and expensive) consequences.

You may have noticed that we don’t offer a very wide range of products.  The reason is simple: we carry products that have proven, over time, to represent the best balance between features and cost.  Price is only one of the factors we look at; we’re also very keen to make sure our products have the right features to protect your home reliably.

There may be more products coming out that may earn the privilege of being “Sump Pump Company Approved”, but until those products pass our test (including living in my basement), we’re not comfortable staking our reputation on them.  Because that’s what we’re doing when we offer a product – we are staking our reputation on that product’s quality, and on the value it represents to our customers.  And we don’t take that lightly.

So, I’m glad our pump systems work great, and I’m sorry that they may seem expensive.  We know that quality is remembered long after price is forgotten, and if you’ve ever had to suffer through a basement flood, I know you’ll understand that ours is a very small price indeed, compared to the cost of a flood.

So, protect your home and what you own, and make sure you have a quality, reliable primary AND battery backup sump pump system.  Because if you don’t have a backup sump pump, you don’t have a sump pump at all!

–Dave

Got a whole-house generator? Great, now get a backup sump pump!

Got a whole-house generator? Great, now get a backup sump pump!

whole house generator

Whole House Generator

So you decided to protect yourself and get a whole-house generator to keep the lights on in case the power fails.  Great idea – generators can save a lot of pain and hassle; in fact, you may not even know the power in your neighborhood has failed unless you go outside!

Many people believe that having a generator means they don’t have to worry about having a battery backup sump pump system.  Those people are WRONG!  Yes, a battery backup system will protect you in case of a power failure.  However, the main reason for having a backup pump system is to protect you from a MAIN PUMP FAILURE Most main pump failures have nothing to do with the power – the pump simply gets old, wears out, and stops working.  If you don’t have a backup pump system and the main fails, you will get water in your house even if the power is on!  Your fancy generator will be powerless to help you.

combination sump pump system

C33 COMBO Sump Pump System

A good backup pump system will not only protect your home by continuing to keep water out after the main pump fails, it will also ALERT YOU THAT IT HAS BEEN ACTIVATED.  That alert gives you the opportunity to replace the main pump, so you can maintain your full level of protection.

Of course, good backup pump systems also self-test and exercise themselves regularly, and they monitor the condition of their batteries.  If anything goes wrong, you get an alert.

Don’t get complacent simply because you have a generator and your AC power supply is secure.  Without a good backup sump pump system, you are at risk.  As we say here at The Sump Pump Companyif you don’t have a backup sump pump system, you don’t have a sump pump at all!

~ Dave

The Benefits of Sump Pump Excercise

The Benefits of Sump Pump Exercise

Sump PumpWe all know that regular exercise helps keep our bodies in shape, prevents a myriad of health problems, and generally helps us live longer, healthier lives. Well, believe it or not, regular exercise is also essential for keeping sump pump systems in top condition!

As you know, most sump pumps live their lives partially or totally submerged in water. Over time, minerals and debris present in the water can build up deposits on those parts of the pump that it touches. Also, the water promotes corrosion (rusting) of metal parts.

Pumps that sit in water and rarely operate are prone to problems with corrosion and buildups. A pump that sits long enough will fail – when it tries to turn on, if the layers of corrosion and buildup are thick enough, they will prevent the motor and pump from turning, and the pump will burn out, shut off on overload, or even trip the circuit breaker. In our experience, we find all too often that pumps which operates regularly last FAR LONGER than those which simply sit in water and never run.

The solution is regular exercise.  If the pump is run every so often, it helps keep deposits and corrosion from building up, so it will be able to operate when called upon. That’s why we offer pump controllers that are capable of automatically exercising the pump at regular intervals (usually once a week, for just a few seconds). This regular exercise is enough to allow the moving parts to spin and keep themselves free of buildups.

In our opinion, ALL sump pumps (primary AND battery backup) should have controllers that exercise them.  That way, there’s one less thing that may prevent them from working at the moment of truth.  Of course, even a pump that exercises will fail eventually.  That’s why you need to have a backup pump system, no matter what.  You know what we say here at The Sump Pump Company – if you don’t have a backup sump pump, you don’t have a sump pump at all!

Protect your home and what you own with primary AND backup pumps that get regular exercise, and enjoy the peace of mind…

~ Dave

Is Eight Enough? How much is YOUR peace of mind worth?

Is Eight Enough? How much is YOUR peace of mind worth?

Sump Pump system

OCTO-PUMP!!

Last weekend my wife and I had dinner with old friends, whom we had not seen in a number of years since we all lived down in the City. They, like us, had kids and migrated up to the suburbs; in their case Glencoe. Dave is a developer and builder, and his wife Andrea is an extremely talented interior designer. They built a magnificent home for their family, and I have to tell you it’s absolutely gorgeous!

About 6 months after they moved in, there were large storms. Unfortunately, Dave & Andrea were inundated with almost 2 feet of water in their brand-new, beautiful basement. Dave decided that he was going to do WHATEVER IT TOOK to make sure he never had another drop of water! Some might say he went a little overboard, but I can assure you he does not lose once second of sleep worrying about a basement flood…

Dave tapped some of the vendors he works with to build commercial buildings, and they collaborated on a new sump pump design. They tore out the old basin and installed a new basin 3 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep. Into that basin, they installed EIGHT PUMPS. Yes, you read that correctly. My friend Dave’s basement has EIGHT SUMP PUMPS in it! Four of them are primary, AC pumps, controlled by a custom made panel which alternates them so they all get exercised. In addition, he installed four battery backup pumps made by the same company as the internet-connected pump I’ve been testing for almost a year in my own basement – I’ll be picking his brain to see how they’ve performed (I’m guessing very well, or they wouldn’t be there).

Two pairs of pumps discharge into a 4” pipe, and the other two pairs connect to a second 4” pipe. Those two pipes then merge into an enormous 6” pipe, which is connected directly to the storm sewer outside. Without question, this is the most impressive sump pump system I have ever seen in ANY building, let alone a single family home!

Overkill? I say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s YOUR peace of mind worth? You may not need the OCTO-PUMP, but, like we say at The Sump Pump Company,  if you don’t have a battery backup sump pump, you don’t have a sump pump at all! Protect your home and what you own, and enjoy the peace of mind…

~ Dave

 

 

The Illinois Home Repair & Remodeling Act

The Illinois Home Repair & Remodeling Act

Sump Pump CompanyThe title is quite a mouthful, but “The Act” is a powerful piece of legislation designed to help keep consumers from getting ripped off.  Back in the year 2000, Illinois passed a law requiring contractors to provide certain information to customers, informing them of their legal rights.  The law was designed with an eye towards preventing home repair scams that commonly victimize elderly people. You’ve probably seen the story many times; an old lady scammed by an unscrupulous “contractor” who claimed to have a cheap fix for a problem the homeowner didn’t even know they had.  The contractor was even kind enough to drive the victim to the bank, where they withdrew money for a “deposit”.  Once paid, of course nobody ever returns to perform any work.

To comply with The Act, contractors are required to give customers a brochure, which details many facts about home repair contracts and scams, and how to recognize when you may be getting taken advantage of.  It also contains contact information for the Attorney General’s office.  In addition to providing the brochure, contractors are also required to make it clear that consumers have the right to cancel any contract they sign, within 3 business days.

Of course, The Sump Pump Company fully complies with these laws – in fact, we have built all of the required paperwork right into our service invoice.  Don’t be put off with what at first may seem like too much paperwork.  On closer inspection, you’ll see that it’s designed with your protection in mind, and we’re happy to comply.  It’s just one more reason you can enjoy peace of mind when you call The Sump Pump Company.

Remember, you need a good sump pump and battery backup pump system to protect your home and what you own.  Call a good company to provide them for you, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re protected.  Call The Sump Pump Company today!

~ Dave

The Plusses & Minuses of the Better Business Bureau

The Plusses & Minuses of the Better Business Bureau

If you’re reading this, you may have clicked the link below the ‘BBB’ logo on our web page.  If you want to read the BBB Business Review for The Sump Pump Company, click here.

Better Business BureauBefore you do, I wanted to explain a little bit about the BBB’s rating system and how it works.  The Better Business Bureau has set up a system to rate companies with a letter grade, from  A+ down to F.  The system is designed to help consumers make an educated choice about which company to use (or not use, as the case may be).  There are many different factors that go into deciding what grade to give a company, including complaint history, length of time in business, etc.  For the BBB’s explanation of how grades are determined, click here.

Both The Sump Pump Company and our sister company Leonard J. Brown Plumbing, Inc. are BBB Accredited businesses.  We chose to become accredited, because we really like the idea of an independent third party offering a non-biased opinion and a set of standards for us to follow.  We take great pride in how we operate our businesses and treat our customers, and BBB Accreditation is just one more way we can demonstrate our commitment to customer satisfaction.

The reason I’m writing this blog is because, despite the fact that we think the BBB rating system is a great thing, you will find that The Sump Pump Company is NOT rated A+…  In fact, we only got an A-!  When I discovered that The Sump Pump Company’s grade was not the same A+ as Leonard J. Brown Plumbing, Inc. (click here for LJB’s review), I was extremely upset, and I had some pretty strong words for my contact at the BBB!!

Well, unfortunately, it turns out that NO BUSINESS can get an A+ rating until they have been in existence for 7 years, regardless of performance, complaint record, or anything else.  In fact, we won’t even be eligible for an A grade until we’ve been around for 4 years.  I wanted to explain, because at first I was a bit ashamed that we weren’t A+ rated, however we’re very committed to the BBB, and we wanted to advertise our accreditation on our web site.

The good news is, despite my best efforts, I was NOT able to convince the BBB to raise our grade.  They have a strict set of rules which they use to rate companies, and they refuse to make exceptions for anyone.  It’s good news because it proves the BBB is ethical and cannot be bought off or pressured to provide a good rating – believe me, I tried very hard!

That being said, I want to remind everyone that The Sump Pump Company, the sister company to A+ rated Leonard J. Brown Plumbing, Inc., has ALL OF THE SAME EMPLOYEES!  Abby & Joan answer the phone for both companies, I manage both companies, and all of The Sump Pump Company’s installations are performed by Leonard J. Brown plumbers.  So, despite the rating, you will receive A+ service from A+ people whenever you call!

~Dave