Basement just flooded - anyone use alarms?

jlj48December 25, 2006

Our basement just flooded - about 3 inches of water. We are dealing with the aftermath now - Oh what a mess. Home is 6 years old and basement is finished with berber carper - living room, bathroom, and son's bedroom. Sump pump floater became stuck. It is working fine now. My question: I obviously want to avoid this in the future. Is there something you should periodically pour down sump pump to keep it clear and unstuck? Also, does anyone have any alarms that they use to tell you when there is water? How effective are they? The bad thing is I was home all day. I woke my son up at 7:00 am for school - all was fine. Went back downstairs at 4:00 pm to find 3 inches of water. An alarm could have alerted me to the problem.

Thank you.

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mikie_gw

I dont have a basement but am curious what caused the flood ?

I;m sure a water alarm would have warned you, but what if you were not home to hear it. What if your pump motor was dead.
You might want a back up pump and should check its opperation frequently. Many boats have an alarm or warning light connected to a back up pump which also might serve double duty when its raining like heck.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 6:59PM
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schreibdave

I have 2 different alarms ($10 at HD) - one hangs down into the sump hole - at a height above where the pump should come on. The other is on the floor next to my water heater.

The other thing I am putting in is a water powered back up pump. It runs on the residential water supply and comes on when teh water gets heigher than where the main pump should come on.

Good luck

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 8:15PM
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dlubin

We use a little alarm ($10 at home depot) in the closet where the air handler and whole house humidifer are just in case the line leaks..

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 12:52PM
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jlj48

I love the idea of the water powered back up pump. We are still in the middle of this mess - having trouble with the insurance company so we will see. Thanks for the responses. Do any of you pour anything down your sump pump periodically to help keep it clean?
Mikie - the sump pump floater became stuck - not sure if it was clogged with debris or slime, not sure. One of those fluke things. It is working fine now and friends who know much more than we do seem to think that it is in good shape. It's just so maddening to think I was right upstairs the whole time. A back up pump and alarm is in order. Any other thoughts anyone?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 5:31PM
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mikie_gw

I;m curious - where did the water originally come from ? Would think a basement floods in one short day has a pretty good leak that needs fixing, rather than relying on pumping it out constantly.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 8:21PM
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jasper_60103

Same thing happened to my neighbor. His sump pump float got hung-up on some trash in the pit and didn't come on when necessary. Be sure to check the pit regulary and remove any trash. I second the idea of having a backup sump pump. I bought a water powered backup pump when I finished my basement, but my plumber said I didn't need one since my main sump pump never runs. Anyway, if anyones interested in a basementbuddy water powered sump pump, drop me an email.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 9:44PM
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jlj48

Jasper - Hope you got my e-mail. Mikie - we do not have a basement leak. Basement before was dry as a bone. House is only 6 years old and although we have had quite a bit of rain this week, we have had much more many other times. The water is rain water. The pump comes on as needed to deal with the rain water. We live in a low lying area but not a flood plain. We live less than a mile from the Mississippi river. Everyone in our neighborhood has sump pumps and many have had system failures. Sump pump backed up - floater stuck. No less, no more.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:50PM
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dgmarie

We have a few things which we installed:

1. battery backed up sump pump
2. water alarm which sits on the floor next to the sump pit (and the hot water heater and the washing machine). My husband (an electrical engineer) wired this into our home alarm system. It will send text messages to our cell phones in case of water level rise (by the way also have this for the smoke and heat detectors). Alarms are not good if you're not home to hear them.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 10:35PM
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bas157

Home depot and harbor freight both cell battery backup alarms. Very simple design, the water level will complete a circuit with sounds the alarm. Lowes probably also sells them.
I would definately get an alarm or few along with a battery backup or water powered backup system with a finished basement.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 12:19PM
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bentruler

Yup, have multiple alarms.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 3:21AM
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minigreenhouse

How about the idea of two sump pump systems in a basement in case one failed and tho other will kick on? Is this too much work and too expensive to retrofit for an existing house?

How much more will it cost for a new construction?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 12:13PM
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bas157

two regular sump pumps would work, BUT, if you lose power, then neither would work. A battery backup as the 2nd unit would be a better option as it would do the same as having a 2 sump pump system, but still work incase power goes out.
Most (if not all), battery backups will still work even if power has not gone out.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 10:03PM
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dgmarie

A battery backup does not usually have the capacity of the primary sump pump. If you have two pumps, get two back up pumps (one each). And yes, they do work without electricity. That is the point. However they won't work forever, and you might end up running out of juice.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 5:28PM
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