Heavy Rain and Sump Pumps

Dated: September 23 2021

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Rain Rain, Go Away!

With the crazy amount of rain we've had here in Michigan this year, we've seen a record number of basements that have flooded with our listings.  Cleaning up and throwing away personal items, dealing with sewage, mold, mildew, and other items is never something a homeowner wants to deal with.  What are some steps to make sure you are best protected to prevent these situations?  Below are some steps to prevent water getting into your basement.

What can I do to prevent water in my basement?

My favorite inspector once told me that 99% of water that gets in a basement originated on the roof.  Proper water routing, gutter management, grading and soil composition all play an integral role in keeping water outside, not inside.

  1. Keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Clean them seasonally or get gutter guards.
  2. Ensure gutters are dispensing water at least 6 feet away from the foundation.
  3. Maintain proper grade around the foundation.  Aim for 6" of positive grade over the first 4 feet from the base of the home.
  4. Keep trees/shrubs away from the base of the foundation.
  5. Route your sump discharge pipe well away from the home.

What about my sump pump?  How can I prevent it from backing up?

The sump pump is designed to take water collected from the drain tiles, pump it out and away from the base of the home.  There are several backup methods one can employ to help ensure the system doesn't fail and prevents water from overflowing the sump and into your basement.

  1. Always have an extra pump on hand.  If the pump ever fails, you want to be able to immediately replace the pump and not have to go to the store to buy another one.  Every minute matters when water is overflowing the sump.
  2. Inspect the sump for debris that could clog the pump.  This is especially important in new construction homes, as the sump is often a bathroom for workers and a place that construction debris accumulates.
  3. Install a high water warning detector.  Similar to how a smoke detector alerts you when smoke is present, a water warning detector makes an alarm when water touches a sensor placed at the top of the sump pit.
  4. Install a backup system.  

What are sump backup type examples and how are they different?

The type of backup you can choose is largely dependent upon where your home is. Battery backup systems are cheaper, but less reliable than water-injection systems. Homes with a well and septic system cannot use water-injection, as it uses municipal water pressure to siphon out water and have to use a battery backup system.

Battery Backup systems

These are systems in place mostly for power outages to keep a pump running.  This battery can last for several days of regular usage to help keep water from overflowing.  In many situations, several days is enough for the power service to be restored, but not always.  The battery unit is placed next to the sump and can pump around 10,000 gallons with a single battery charge.  This is a 2nd pump placed into the sump pit and only activates when the float is triggered. Cost for this varies from around $300 -$800.

Water Powered (Injection) Sump System

These are systems that are widely known to be the most reliable and offer the best protection from water intrusion.  These systems should be installed by a licensed plumbing professional, and are in the cost range of $1000-$2000.

They feature:

  • Highest pumping rates among all water powered sump pumps.
  • Plumbers overwhelmingly agree - it's the most dependable water powered system available.
  • Heavy duty propelene construction. Corrosion resistant. No maintenance required.
  • Models with Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker backflow preventers are available, to protect against backflow issues.
  • Unlimited running time - as long as city water is available.
  • Low cost to use - costs zero until it runs, and then the only cost is water.

Here's a video to show how they work:


Overall, planning ahead can be crucial to preventing water intrusion in your basement.  As always, we suggest working with your insurance provider to have a water intrusion policy in addition to your backup methods.  Combining all of these items above will help keep your basement dry and your personal items safe!

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Andy Hargreaves

#1 Agent Nationally for Coldwell Banker for # of homes sold in 2015 Top 5 Nationally in Sales for Coldwell Banker 2011-2015 #1 Coldwell Banker Agent in Michigan for homes sold in 2011-2016 Top 10 Team....

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