SEWER & SEPTIC SERVICES
Is a Backup Sump Pump Worth It?
1-800-Plumber + Air & Electric of Amarillo
Sump pumps are one of those household appliances that you don't think about until it isn't working. They are an absolute necessity when it comes to protecting your home and most people don't even realize they have one. While one sump pump is typical of homes and buildings, it's becoming more and more common for houses and other structures to utilize multiple sump pumps.
If you're wanting a backup sump pump or are only now realizing that it's an option, you've come to the right place. Sump pumps are one of our many specialties and you should contact us at 1-800-Plumber + Air & Electric of Amarillo if you're in need of a replacement, servicing, or installation of one.
Take a Closer Look at the Smell
The EPA estimates that there are as many as 75,000 sanitary sewer overflows in the U.S. each year. So if your home experiences a backup, you're far from alone.
But how can you tell if that smell is your sewer when there are so many potential sources of bad smells in the average home?
Is It Just Smelly or More Than That?
Sewer backups tend to release specific gases. These include:
In addition to smelling nasty, these gases can cause physical symptoms in people exposed to them. Common reactions include:
If you or other members of your household experience any of these symptoms at the same time you're noticing noxious smells, it's a good bet that you need the help of a plumbing professional right away.
Consider Other Indicators
You can also narrow down the cause of suspicious odors by looking for other common indicators of sewer problems. These include:
Gurgling sounds in your pipes or fixtures.
Visible backup in your tub, sinks, or floor drains
Visible evidence of your sewer backing up into a ditch or other above-ground outdoor spaces
Sudden or unexplained lushness in your lawn
Mold or mildew on your walls or near your pipes
Fixtures that are slow to drain
Visible leaks or moisture collection on or around the piping in your home
The appearance of or an increase in pests in or around your home
Sinks, tubs, and other fixtures that gurgle, drain slowly, or visibly back up with fluid are key indicators of potentially serious piping problems. Whenever you encounter one or more of these indicators alongside a foul smell, it's a sure sign that your sewer is at fault and you need to take action right away.
If you aren't sure about the source of an unwelcome smell inside your house, take a walk around your yard.
Is your lawn suddenly lush and green without explanation? Does that lushness appear in narrow bands across your lawn? If so, you almost certainly have broken piping.
If you notice new signs of pests or visible backup of water or other substances into ditches or low spots, that is also a sign you need professional help at once.
Mold and Mildew
Don't forget to look for mold and mildew, particularly in rooms that have fixtures with drains or in your basement. Both grow and thrive in damp areas, and if you start to see them where you haven't before it may be because a sewer leak is causing extra humidity or water invasion.
What Does a Sump Pump Do?
Before you can decide whether or not you need a backup sump pump, you need to fully realize how important they are. Sump pumps are typically located in the basement of homes or on the lowest level of your place of residence. They're buried under the ground with their tops at ground level and are designed to keep your basement from flooding.
No matter what part of Texas you live in, moisture is a constant threat during certain times of the year. Moisture is especially hazardous when you can't see it forming. Certains types of soil aren't as good at soaking up rain and water tends to leak in through old foundations or crawl spaces if you're not careful. Water can also result from leaky appliances such as air conditioners, washing machines, or furnaces.
The scary part about water accumulation is that it can add up extremely fast, especially during a torrential downpour. If water happens to start flooding in your basement, the only thing that's going to save you is your sump pump.
Water will naturally drain into the pit of your sump pump which is equipped with a motor and a float switch. As water fills the pit, the float switch slowly approaches the top of the pit until it triggers the pump motor. The motor then turns on and flushes water out of the sump pit to the outside of your home. This effectively removes all the water in your pit and saves your basement from flooding.
However, if there's a thunderstorm and your power goes out, your sump pump won't be able to do its job because it's electrically powered in most cases. This is where a backup sump pump comes in. Backup sump pumps are typically battery-operated to ensure operation during power outages. They can mean the difference between extensive water damage or a problem-free basement.
Is It Worth Having a Backup Sump Pump?
Having a backup sump pump is like taking out an extra insurance policy on your home. You hope that you never actually need it, but you're extremely thankful when you do. So, technically speaking, no one "needs" a backup sump pump, but it's recommended that everyone has a backup sump pump.
One of the most common reasons for flooded basements and water damage is power outages. Many power outages occur during thunderstorms, which means lots of rain. Power outages also mean that your electric sump pump won't work. Extensive rain and an inoperable sump pump is a recipe for disaster and can easily result in a flooded basement. No power to your sump pump can also be the result of a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
Clogged Exit Pipe
Water travels from your sump pump reservoir to the outside of your home via a 2 inch PVC exit pipe. If this pipe gets clogged for some reason, your sump pump will back up and won't be able to move water outside your home. This is another situation where having a backup sump pump can mean the difference between a flooded basement and a dry one.
Busted Float Switch
Your sump pump is equipped with a float switch that alerts your sump pump when it's time to activate. The float switch sits on top of the water and when it reaches a certain level inside the reservoir, it activates the pump, similar to a flushing toilet. If the float switch is busted or stuck at the bottom of the pump, it won't be able to float to the top and activate the pump motor. The result will be that your pump continues to take on the water until it overflows into your basement and floods.
What are the Benefits of a Backup Sump Pump
While preventing flooding in your basement is the main reason for a backup sump pump, there are additional benefits.
Big money savings
While it might cost you upfront to purchase and install the sump pump, it will pay off big time if your primary pump ever malfunctions. The amount of money that you'll spend on repairs will greatly surpass whatever you paid for your pump.
Protection against mold and mildew
Water damage is often what ushers in mold and mildew into your home. A backup sump pump that's battery-operated will prevent flooding, which will, in turn, prevent mold and mildew.
Operates around clogs
Your backup sump pump will have its own exit pipe which means that if your primary pump's exit pipe gets clogged, your backup will be there to save the day. Contact us to learn more about purchasing and installing a backup sump pump.
When you choose a backup sump pump from 1-800-Plumber + Air, installation is easy, fast, and non-invasive. The backup pump attaches to your current sump pit and kicks in only when the main one doesn't activate.
Who Can Install and Maintain My Sump Pumps?
If you're not convinced that you need a backup sump pump yet, I'm not sure what else will. Backup battery-operated sump pumps are a lifesaver if your primary pump ever gives out in the middle of a Texas rainstorm. If you're ready to take the next step in responsible homeownership, you should consider purchasing a backup sump pump.
Contact us at 1-800-Plumber + Air & Electric of Amarillo for top-notch sump pump maintenance, repairs, and installation. We offer 24/7 service and assistance for all of your sump pump needs.
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It is impossible to provide a single cost range for sewer backups. In some cases, the solution may be as simple as snaking a drain or replacing a valve or a ring on a fixture. When that happens, service is incredibly inexpensive.
When your sewer line has suffered a catastrophic breakdown, however, the costs will be much larger. Your total cost can also depend on:
What type of sewer lines you have in place
What state of repair those lines are in
The size of the sewer system in and around your home
The complexity of the sewer system in and around your home
What other problems, if any, have developed as the result of the sewer leak
Some of these factors, such as what type of sewer lines you have in place, are beyond your control. You can minimize the costs that are within your control by contacting a professional plumber as soon as you recognize that there may be a problem. This prevents additional problems from developing and allows you to tackle repairs while they are still as small as possible.