Quality Plumbing Services

Entries Tagged as Flooding

SUMP PUMP TIME OF YEAR

May 11, 2017 · No Comments

April showers bring May flowers …

and sometimes thunderstorms and basement flooding. Most basement flooding in our area occurs due to a failed sump pump. The average life expectancy of a submersible sump pump is 5 to 10 years. While the average life of a sump pump switch which controls when the pump will turn on and off is 4 to 7 years. However, sump pumps are not equipped with a cycle counter like an odometer on your car, or a warning light that your sump pump is about to fail. Your sump pump may work fine one minute and not the next which is a big problem for homeowners. 

 

The lifespan of any sump pump depends on many factors such as how often the pump cycles, cycle time, pipe size, length of piping run, etc. Unfortunately, no one can predict when your sump pump will fail. 

 

Somethings you can look for when assessing your sump pump:

 

Pay close attention to how your pump sounds strange or loud noises, humming sounds, grinding noise, or vibration. Any of these maybe a warning sign that something is wrong or about to go wrong with your sump pump. 

 

You can fill the pit with water making sure the sump pump both starts and stops as designed. A properly operating sump pump should expel the water very very quickly (quicker than you can refill the pit even using a garden hose). 

 

Always check to make sure that the sump pit is free of debris children's toys and items stored around the pump can fall into the basin. Also mud, leaves, rocks, and even original construction debris can get into the unit or hinder the float mechanism causing the sump pump to fail. 

 

Always inspect the check valve check valves are designed so that when the sump pump shuts off no water will go back into the sump basin. Often, you'll hear a thumping sound at the end of a pump cycle. That's the check valve slamming shut. Pay special attention to check valves using rubber couplings to connect them to the discharge piping. These rubber connections can rot or dry out overtime. Look for signs of leakage or discoloration around these connections on the discharge piping, as these rubber connections can loosen or become detached after years of operation.

 

If you know you have an aging sump pump or recognize any of these warning signs, please call Quality Plumbing Services and let one of our sump pump experts help you choose the right pump for your application. Quality Plumbing Services carries a wide variety of sump pumps. We offer submersible sump pumps, pumps with built in high water alarms, duplex systems, pedestal pumps backed by a 20 year warranty, as well as battery back up systems.

 

Whatever your sump pump needs, Quality Plumbing Services can help before it's too late. Call today and schedule an appointment 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200. 

 

 

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Ultimate Flood Protection

October 10, 2012 · No Comments

You may have heard, “all sump pumps will eventually fail.” “All submersible sump pumps will eventually fail.” Yes, that is true. No Doubt! And, anyone who has ever gone through a flood due to a failed sump pump knows the devastation and cost involved in clean-up and replacement of your possessions. Not to mention items that may have been damaged and cannot be replaced such as family photos, mementos, heirlooms, etc.

There is an ejector or sump pump available that is designed and built to last for 30-40 years. It also comes with a 20 year warranty. This pump may be the last ejector or sump pump you will ever purchase. Unlike a submersible sump or ejector pump, which its name tells you the motor, housing, switch and impeller are completely submerged in water.

A tower or pedestal pump means its motor and switch are above the sump pit, only its impeller and float ball (which activates the pump motor) are in the water.

Tower ejector or sump pumps have a 30-40 year life expectancy which is five times the national average life of a residential submersible ejector or sump pump. The upright design eliminates 85% of pump failures resulting from water entering into the motor or switch. Tower ejector or sump pumps are capable of pumping 100 gallons per minute, 2-3 times the flow rate of other residential ejector or sump pumps. Tower ejector or sump pumps are maintenance free, and built for longevity with dependable and reliable operation for many, many years.

If you've had your basement flood or are in a home prone to potential flooding, or have to replace your ejector or sump pumps often … a tower ejector or sump pump may be the right solution for your home.

As with any ejector or sump pump, the tower ejector or sump pump requires electrical power to operate. So, what do you do when the power goes out? Consider an automatic stand-by generator.

 

An automatic stand-by generator is a back-up electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of a power outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home's electrical circuit breaker box. After power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas and sits outside similar to a central air conditioning unit. Some towns have local ordinances and certain requirements for installation such as distance away from property lines and thickness of pad, but most requirements are not very restrictive.

A generator can be installed to cover only essential circuits like ejector or sump pumps and refrigerators; or it can be installed to provide complete whole house coverage. Not only can you protect yourself from flooding, but you have the added benefit of working lights, television, heating and air conditioning as well.

The combination of a tower ejector or sump pump and a stand-by generator will give you the ultimate flood protection system. If you are serious about never wanting to flood, this system will give you piece of mind knowing your home is protected no matter what weather conditions are outside.

Call Quality Plumbing Services to schedule an appointment. Our highly trained technicians can answer any questions you may have regarding tower ejector or sump pumps and stand-by generators.

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Power Outages Contribute to Sump Pump Failure

September 27, 2012 · No Comments

Our last post discussed one method of protecting your home from flooding due to sump pump failure. However, the sump pump system in most homes typically relies on electrical power to function properly. So, how do you protect your home from flooding in the event of a power failure?

Power outages can be a common occurrence during a severe rain storm. If electrical power reliability is a concern, then you should consider a stand-by natural gas generator that will automatically turn on in the event of a power failure. A stand-by generator will give you added fringe benefits of working lights, heat, air conditioning and refrigeration in addition to operating your sump pump system when the power goes out. If a stand-by generator is not an option, you may want to consider a battery operated alternate power source to power your sump pump.

 

Most people are familiar with the standard system that uses a small plastic DC (battery) pump, a 12 volt deep cycle battery and a charging unit. These systems are readily available at most home centers (Home Depot, Menards, Lowes). Most DC pumps used as part of a back-up system were designed to be bilge pumps for boats and are not heavy duty. A characteristic of a DC (battery) system versus an AC (electrical) system is the sump pump's ability to discharge water.

Keep in mind in such a system only the secondary pump remains functional in the event of electricity failure. The major disadvantage of such battery back-up pumps is that the DC (battery) pump is incapable of handling the same water volume as the main sump pump. During heavy rain the consequences of this kind of situation can be a flooded basement when electricity becomes absent. Also, the DC pumps battery supplied with the system is usually small resulting in limited back-up time.

Short of a stand-by generator, the best method of protecting your home from flooding during a power outage is with the use of an AC (electrical) based back-up system. With this type of system electricity to the main sump pump is maintained, allowing the main sump pump to keep operating at full pumping capacity.

An AC (electrical) based back-up system typically consists of the home's primary sump pump, a 12 volt deep cycle battery or two (2) 12 volt batteries in a 24 volt system as well as an inverter with a charging unit. An inverter converts the DC power of the battery into AC power which allows the home's sump pump system to function as if it were under normal conditions. The battery charger monitors the batteries over time and will perform full charges when batteries become depleted after a power outage, and also performs trickle charges during times of full power to maintain maximum battery life.

 

 

The main advantage of a sump pump battery back-up which powers an existing main pump, is it enables the sump pump to function at full capacity during a power outage. Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking a glorified bilge pump is adequate flood protection for your home in the event of sump pump failure or power failure.

Call Quality Plumbing Services at 847-259-0200 and let one of our highly skilled plumbers assess your home's sump pump needs and give you options on how to best protect your home from flooding due to sump pump failure or in the event of a power outage. Visit our website at www.qualityplumbingchicago.com

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Are Two Sump Pumps Better Than One?

September 21, 2012 · No Comments

When you ask a homeowner what is the most important mechanical device or appliance in their home, you will get a wide variety of answers. Very few will consider a working sump pump to be very high on the list. However, many of the important mechanical systems of the home such as heating and air conditioning systems, electrical panels, and water heaters are located in the basement. Frequently, there are expensive finished rooms with the finer things we enjoy like entertainment systems, pool tables, and children's play areas. All of these things could be expensive to repair or replace in the event of a flooded basement and will highly affect the quality of life in your home. Many manufacturers recommend replacement of items such as water heaters and heating units if they are involved in a flood. If you have a basement or crawl space, you are probably using a sump pump to protect your home from water damage. Protecting your home from sump pump failure is not a wise place to cut corners and save a buck.

One of the best ways you can protect your home from damage caused by a failed sump pump is to install an Alternating Duplex Sump Pump System. Some sump pump pits may need to be larger in order to accommodate the two sump pumps used in the duplex system. However, most existing sump pump pits are sufficient to allow the installation of two sump pumps. The two sump pumps are controlled by an alternating controller which alternates the sump pump used with each cycle. As the water level rises in the pit, sump pump #1 turns on and empties the sump pit. As the water level rises again, the alternating controller will cycle sump pump #2. This sequence is repeated each time the water level rises in the sump pit. This has many benefits; for example, extended sump pump life by sharing the workload by two sump pumps. It keeps the sump pump from overheating and allows the sump pump to rest between cycles rather than running continuously which is especially important during heavy rains. In addition if one sump pump was to fail the second sump pump would take over the pumping duties and an alarm would sound to alert you to the failure of one of the sump pumps. This sump pump would continue to function on its own protecting your basement from flooding, and allowing you time to repair or replace the failed sump pump.

Alternating Controller

 

The alternating duplex system is far more desirable due to the fact that it exercises both sump pumps. Installations utilizing two sump pumps without an alternator calls for the back-up sump pump to be at a higher elevation and only functioning when the primary sump pump has failed. The unused pump will certainly be damaged by corrosion and a lack of use so by the time it is called into action, it may have already failed something we refer to as “Dying of Boredom.”

Installing a Duplex Sump Pump System can keep your basement dry. Every year many people experience flooded basements when a sump pump failure allows the basement to fill with water. For many people, the damage to finished basements, and mechanical equipment runs into huge amounts of money. Do not risk damage to your home or possessions due to a failed sump pump. Call Quality Plumbing Services at 847-259-0200 to schedule an appointment today or visit our website at www.qualityplumbingchicago.com.

Keep in mind, all sump pumps require electricity to function. This post is addressing failed sump pumps only. Stay tuned for our next entry which will discuss how to protect your home from flooding or keep your sump pump working in the event of a power outage.

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Don't Be Fooled By Your Sump Pump's Horsepower

September 12, 2012 · No Comments

Sump pumps comes in all sizes, powers and performance levels to suit the needs of your home's individual drainage purposes and flood protection.

Many different factors go into determining which sump pump is right for your needs – warranty, price, etc. Choosing a sump pump begins with determining how much water you need to move. Sump pump manufacturers rate sump pumps in several ways – mainly by horsepower or by head pressure.

 

 

 

The sump pump's head pressure is an important factor in choosing a sump pump. Head pressure is the maximum height a sump pump will move water before it loses flow. Most sump pumps, if purchased from a store or plumbing company will have what's known as a flow chart which compares on a graph the Gallons per Minute (GPM) with feet of discharge line (height) showing the sump pump's capability to pump water. Generally, flow charts use 10 feet of head as a rule of thumb because the majority of sump pumps are usually 2 feet below the basement floor in a pit and the average height of a foundation wall is 8 feet (2' + 8' = 10 feet).

Therefore, a sump pump that can pump 60 gallons per minute (GPM) at 10 feet of head is superior to a sump pump that pumps only 30 gallons per minute (GPM) at 10 feet of head even if its horsepower rating is higher than the sump pump pumping 60 gallons per minute. Be aware when buying or choosing a sump pump that manufacturers rate themselves for high GPM at zero feet of head which may sound impressive but doesn't mean very much. Sump pump manufacturers may also rate sump pumps in gallons per hour which may look impressive on the box, but again, doesn't mean very much. This is extremely important to keep in mind when choosing any sump pump rated this way. Battery back-up systems utilizing a small plastic bilge-type DC pump commonly list pumping capacities such as 1,000 gallons per hour at 10 feet lift (1,000 gallons ÷ 60 minutes per hour = 16.6 gallons per minute) which means this sump pump will pump only 16 gallons per minute at 10 feet of head. Hardly adequate flood protection for our area especially in heavy rains! Another way manufacturers hide poor pumping capacities is to list them at 0 feet of head. For example, 3,500 gallons per hour at 0 feet of lift – not a very practical way to measure a sump pump's capacity.

All sump pumps, whether in flood protection or sewage applications are motors. Each motor is assigned a horsepower rating. Just like a car engine, typically the more horsepower, the greater the pumping capacity. However, don't let the home centers or the sump pump manufacturers fool you into thinking “More Horsepower is Better.” Be aware when you are choosing which sump pump is right for your application, a sump pump's head pressure rating and ability to move water out of your basement in heavy rain, is more important that just its horsepower rating.

At Quality Plumbing Services Inc. we offer a wide variety of sump pumps and battery back-up systems, duplex systems as well as warranties available on certain sump pumps up to 20 years. Call us today at 847-259-0200 and have our qualified professionals give you options that will meet all your sump pump needs.

 

 

 

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Can Our Current Drought Affect Your Sump Pump?

September 06, 2012 · No Comments

During very rainy periods most of us think about our sump pump all the time. However, with the recent drought in the Chicagoland area it can be easy to forget about your sump pump and if it will function properly when the rains return.

For many homeowners, the first line of defense against water in the basement or crawl space is a good quality, properly functioning sump pump. Due to the dry conditions we've experienced lately, sump pumps may not have been very active or have been sitting in completely dry sump pits. Neither condition is good for your sump pump. Sump pumps need to be exercised regularly – pumps that sit idle for long periods of time can have the motors and shafts seize up, bearings rust, and seals dry out causing pump failure. This is a condition we refer to as “Pump Dying of Boredom.”

Here are some things to look for to ensure your sump pump is functioning properly:

  1. Unplug the sump pump. Remove the lid (if the sump pit has one) and use a flashlight to check that the sump pit is clean and does not have an excess amount of gravel, rocks and debris.

  2. Check the power cord for any damage and plug it into a properly working electrical outlet. A dedicated electrical outlet should be used for all sump pumps. Most pumps have a high amp load when starting; do not use an extension cord to plug the pump into an outlet.

  3. Make sure the pump discharge line is discharging into the backyard approximately 10 feet away from the house in such a way water drains away from the house. It should not be directed on to a neighbor's lot or adjacent sidewalks or drive-ways. Never discharge a pump into the building's sanitary sewer, sinks or floor drains.

  4. If your pump is equipped with a rising float switch or float ball, make sure the float moves freely and is not hung up on the side walls of the pit or tangled up in the cords.

  5. Check for any rubber couplings in the discharge piping or check valve. These can dry out and deteriorate causing major flood damage These should be replaced with proper connections.

  6. Using a bucket(s) of water or a hose, slowly add water to the sump pit. This will raise the float or activate the pressure switch. As the water level rises, the pump should turn on well before the water reaches the top of the sump pit. Make sure the pump turns on and then off at least twice. Listen to the pump – if it does not sound right or does not turn on, have it checked as soon as possible. Note: When the pump turns on, the water level in the pit should drop very rapidly. Any swirling or sluggish action could be a sign of pump failure.

If your pump is 4-5 years old or of unknown age, consider replacement. Useful life of a sump pump depends on how often and for how long they have run. Also, the type and quality of pump to begin with is a factor. Some manufacturers recommend replacing the switch and float every two years and the pump every five years. Don't take a chance with an aging sump pump. The cost of a sump pump replacement is minimal compared to the cost of flood clean-up.

If you have any questions or are unsure if your sump pump is working properly, call Quality Plumbing Services Inc. at 847-259-0200 or visit our website at www.qualityplumbingchicago.com.

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Do You Know Your Water?

April 18, 2012 · No Comments

Large or small, no one wants to deal with the damage to their property caused by water. The damage to your property can sometimes be devastating. There are three (3) categories of water damage: clean water, black water and grey water. Let's first take a look at these three water types.

Black water is the worst type of water damage and the one that will cause the most problems. It may contain chemicals, bacteria, and/or fungi that can cause harm or even death. This could happen because of a leak from your kitchen drain or a toilet overflow. It should always be handled by professionals who are knowledgeable and have the equipment to deal with it.

Grey water contains harmful contaminates that could make you ill when you are exposed to it. Such as a leak from your air conditioning drain line.

Clean water is exactly that … clean water. It means that the water is safe to work with during restoration. There are no impurities present that will harm you or make you sick. An example of a clean water discharge is water leaking from a water supply line.

These three types of water damage, for the most part, can be prevented if you know the root cause. Getting your plumbing inspected and having a roof inspection can have a huge impact on the avoidance of these problems.

Although water damage can happen on a large scale, there are many times that it can happen on a smaller scale and still cause serious damage. A small leak in the roof, inside the wall or a damaged pipe with a slow drip can cause serious and costly damage.

There are many ways for water to damage your property. Do you have water damage? Are there stains on your walls? Has your air conditioner leaked onto your floors? Call Quality Plumbing Services Inc. at 847-259-0200 or visit our website at www.qualityplumbingchicago.com.

No CommentsTags: Flooding

Flooded Water Heaters?

October 02, 2011 · No Comments

After the recent weather in our area many people have asked -

If my water heater was in a flood, do I need to replace it?

[Read more →]

No CommentsTags: Flooding · Water Heaters