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Living Smart: Sump Pumps

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By Angie Hicks

O(MCT)—Summer storms have made their way across the United States over the past weeks with more on the horizon.

For homeowners with below-ground basements, it’s also the perfect time of year to check that their sump pumps are working.

“They should be checked at least twice a year,” says Mike Collier with Collier Plumber Inc. in Seattle. “Usually, you find out during a heavy rain that the pump quit working and now your basement is wet. It’s very important to check them … before the rains start coming.”

Sump pumps in a sump pit in the basement are generally out of sight, which for many homeowners also makes them out of mind. These dutiful little devices serve an important purpose, though; especially during heavy storms.

“The ground water that collects around (a basement) has no way of leaving the basement without mechanical help,” says Todd Mitchell with Gordon Energy & Drainage in Olathe, Kan., whose company has installed thousands of sump pumps in newly constructed homes. “It can’t be done by gravity or the lay of the land, so now the water is there; it’s collected into a sump pit basin or holding tank in the floor. The pump is designed to discharge it away and never let it get to the level to where it will enter the basement.”

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