How to catch a sump pump malfunction before it floods your basement

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – As the weather warms up, all that snow is melting, which means all that water could be headed toward your house. There’s one thing that can help keep your basement dry.

Sump pumps can be as small as a coffee maker, but they are powerful machines that can prevent a lot of damage. But installing it isn’t enough — you need to check it constantly.

Thawing season has begun and while that’s good for travelers, it can be bad for homeowners. The water can overwhelm your drain pipes, leaving it nowhere to go but your basement.

That’s where sump pumps come in.

“The sump pump is made to take the water from the outside as it comes in through the sump pump and out to the ditches, drains or downspouts,” said Xavier Ugarte, with Roto-Rooter.

Sounds effective, but Ugarte says to expect a malfunction.

“A sump pump is mechanical, it’s going to fail. Just like your car, it’s going to fail. It’s just a matter of time.”

That’s why it’s important to check it often.

“I would go downstairs more than you usually do. See if you have any water around the drains, check your sump pump, make sure it’s operational, make sure the levels aren’t all the way to the top,” Ugarte said.

If the water has reached the top, that means it’s not working.

If the pump isn’t working, it could lead to a whole other issue — a sewer backup. When storm drains overfill, that water can flow into your sewer system.

Ugarte said it’s the most common call he gets, but can cost big money to fix.

Preventing a big bill is as easy as one phone call.

“It’s as simple as calling your insurance agent and telling them, ‘I want sewer and water backup.’ That will cover floods, sewer backups and the damage it caused,” Ugarte said.

He couldn’t stress how important it is for homeowners, saying sewer and water backup insurance can be as cheap as $11 a month.