How Extreme Weather effects your Sump Pumps.

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?!?

Frozen Falls Frozen Pumps
Frozen Falls Frozen Pumps

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…

Strange Weather and November Tornadoes ?

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!

PHCC Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup Sump
PHCC Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup Sump

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.

Getting Flooded ? Not Fun.

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.

PHCC Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup Sump
PHCC Pro Series 2400 Battery Backup Sump

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

Standalone Battery Backup – Not Enough

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

Online-Connected Sump Pumps.

Internet-Connected SUMP PUMPS?

Yep, you heard right! Believe it or not, even the old sump pump is benefiting from modern technology, and I’m pretty excited about what’s recently come to the market…

Online Connected Sump Pumps
Online Connected Sump Pumps

Since December, 2011, I have had a battery backup sump pump system called the PeakFlow iControl installed in my basement.  I was intrigued by the system when I first saw it, because it allows you to connect to your pump system over the internet, using any web browser.  You can run a self-test, check battery capacity, and monitor and clear alarms from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD you can get an internet connection.

I’m pretty impressed with this pump system, and not just because of the really great internet feature.  This system has a powerful pump motor, a nice looking (and so far perfectly reliable) dual-float switch, and a ruggedly-constructed control unit.  It’s also manufactured by a local company (like our PHCC Pro brand), who has been in business for a long time, and whose products have an excellent reputation for reliability.  It gives me a great comfort level to know that if I ever had an issue with their product, I have direct access to the owners of the company.  That kind of personal connection lets me give you even more assurance that the products we sell are made to last!

I actually removed my main pump several months ago, to give the iControl more of a workout.  Now that we’re getting some rain & snow melt, that pump is getting more and more use, and it’s performing perfectly.

Now, you may be thinking that it’s no big deal to be able to connect to your pump over the internet.  I would respectfully disagree!  Right now, my own “original” backup pump system, a PHCC Pro 2400, is connected to my home alarm system.  When any kind of trouble happens (such as a power failure, or the pump activating for any reason), my alarm keypad beeps, and the alarm monitoring company calls me.

Now that’s all well and good, but when I get the call, all the alarm company can tell me is that I have a “Sump Pump Trouble Alarm”.  There is no way to know WHAT caused it, and that could be a big issue!  With the iControl, I can simply log on to tell if there is a power failure, or if the pump was activated.  I can run a self test cycle and check the battery level.  The bottom line is, I can easily and conveniently tell if I have a problem that needs immediate action, or if it’s something that can wait.  With my PHCC Pro 2400, I have no idea what the problem may be.  If I were on vacation when the pump alarm came, I would certainly FAR PREFER the information I get from the iControl.  With the Pro 2400, I might be forced to call a neighbor to check on my house – I like my neighbors, but I’m sure we’d all like to avoid having them check on my sump pump!!

We’re getting close to offering this pump system for sale at The Sump Pump Company, and when we do, you’ll see all the information here on our site.  If you want to KNOW what’s going on with your sump pump rather than just guessing, then the iControl is the system for you!

~ Dave

My Expensive Sump Pump Works Great !

“Sump Pump Works Great, But Expensive”

Sump Pump Company Approved
Sump Pump Company Approved“Sump Pump Works Great, But Expensive”

That’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!

— The Sump Pump Company