Sump Pump Failure a Nightmare on Many Levels – A Real Life Case Study

Springtime brings melting snow and heavy rains that saturate the soil and raise the level of groundwater.  For many unfortunate homeowners, these conditions inevitably lead to wet or flooded basements. A sump pump installed in the basement floor will get rid of water beneath the home before it leaks into the basement.  Designed to operate automatically as water levels rise, sump pumps are often referred to as “the last line of defense” in preventing water damage – unless there is a problem and they malfunction.   And that’s exactly what happened to John and Sara Pollan of Ringwood, New Jersey, whose sump pump failed during a winter weekend of teeming rain.

“We returned home on a Sunday night to an unusually cold house, so John went down into the crawlspace to check on the furnace,” Sara says.  “There he discovered our brand new boiler submerged in a foot of water!”

Although the Pollans’ crawlspace had been equipped with a sump pump, their pump was apparently overwhelmed by the swell of groundwater and had failed.  A control panel on the boiler was also damaged by the water and that shut down the heating system.  With the water continuing to rise, Sara was concerned that the main floor of the house would soon be affected.

John was able to buy and install a new sump pump with the help of his father-in-law.  They picked the ABS Robusta 200TS 1/3-horsepower model which was slightly more powerful than the 1/4-horsepower model that had failed.  (For information on choosing the right sump pump for your home, see the article “Choosing the Right Sump Pump For Your Pumping Job.”   Once the water was pumped out of the crawlspace, they were able to restore heat by hitting the “reset” switch on the boiler, although the control panel still had to be replaced for full functionality.

To avoid future surprises, John decided to hook up a flood sensor that would alert him by phone if his crawlspace was taking on water again.  Since his home was already equipped with a THP202 PhoneAlert Power Failure & Freeze Monitoring System by Reliance Controls, he easily added a flood sensor accessory that detects water on the crawlspace floor.

“We were lucky this time that we arrived home before our house suffered extensive damage from the flood,” John says.  “By upgrading to a more powerful sump pump and adding a flood sensor, I feel better prepared for the next spring thaw or major downpour.”

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