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Sump pump savvy: Beating the snowmelt before it beats your basement

PARK CITY, Utah — As the snow begins to melt and temperatures begin to rise this week, ensuring that groundwater stays out of homes is more critical than ever. Jonathan Cheever, founder of Team Cheever Plumbing and Heating, shares his insights on the importance of sump pumps—and utilizing them effectively—for local homeowners.

Sump pumps play a vital role in preventing water from accumulating in basements or crawl spaces, safeguarding properties from potential water damage. These devices are designed to automatically activate when water levels rise, moving water out of the home to designated drainage areas. Cheever emphasizes the efficiency and quiet operation of submersible sump pumps, which are preferred for residential use due to their ability to handle larger volumes of water discreetly.

Sump pump in a Park City crawl space.

These pumps operate using a float switch that triggers the pump when water reaches a certain level, similar to mechanisms found in toilet tanks. This process is critical in keeping basements dry and protecting homes’ foundations. Cheever encourages homeowners to install a backup float switch and an alarm if they fail, which prevents unwanted flooding.

“Understanding how your sump pump works is just the beginning. Equally important is recognizing what influences its performance and how regular maintenance can significantly extend its life and functionality,” Cheever said.

Cheever advises on the importance of regular checks for the following to maintain an efficient and effective sump pump:

  • Look for debris in the basin, as debris can cause the pump to clog and not turn on
  • Test the system by putting water in the pump before the major runoff and listen for unusual noises like loud knocking or banging that could indicate problems
  • Look for signs of cracks or damage; even small cracks can be problematic with high pressure
  • Confirm the power connection is secure and undamaged

A backup system can be crucial should the main sump pump fail, including water-powered backups that operate without electricity, leveraging something called Bernoulli’s principle to create a vacuum and remove water efficiently.

An efficient and quality sump pump installation considers various factors, including the pump’s horsepower, head pressure, and flow rate, to ensure that each system is tailored to the home where it is being installed. However, consistent maintenance and inspections are crucial to keeping the pump in working order, so homeowners don’t find themselves “in over their heads.”

Residents in need of advice or professional plumbing services are encouraged to reach out to Team Cheever Plumbing and Heating for a sump pump evaluation.

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