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What are sump pumps, and why does every Chicago home need one?


Water is one of nature’s most unstoppable forces. Chicago homeowners deal with moisture incursion year-round thanks to powerful summer storms and melting winter snow. Here’s a look at what sump pumps are and why they are an essential part of your home here in Chicagoland.

For sump pump services—including replacement pumps and repair—contact our team. We offer free plumbing inspections here in Chicago’s South Side.

What are sump pumps?

A basement sump pump sits at the lowest point of your house in a pit that fills as moisture enters the building. When the water level rises, a float switches it on, and the unit pumps the liquid out of your home through a discharge pipe.

Now you know how these devices work, here’s why you need one.


What do sump pumps do?

#1. Prevent basement flooding

Most flooded basements aren’t the result of catastrophic floods, as it only takes a large snow melt or damaged gutter to allow water to accumulate against your foundation. Without a sump pump, the moisture could eventually build up to the point where structural damage occurs.

#2. Reduce mold and mildew growth

Even if your basement doesn’t flood, the increased moisture can be the perfect breeding ground for harmful growths such as mold and mildew. Not only can these fungal blooms cause significant health problems, but they can also affect the resale value of your property if they’re detected during a home inspection.

#3. Increase your home’s desirability

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future, it’s a good idea to make it as desirable as possible. With Chicago’s year-round precipitation, a sump pump is something many homebuyers look for. Get a leg up on the competition by having us install one of our high-quality pumps before listing the property.

#4. Get alerted to flooding

Even if you have a fully functional sump pump, it’s possible for moisture to come in faster than the device can handle. While basic pumps can emit an audible alarm if the water level gets too high, more advanced models can send an alert to your smart phone to warn you that extra attention is needed. If you’re interested in upgrading to a new sump pump, call King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.

Here’s what you need to know about sump pump upkeep this winter

If your home has a basement, there’s a good chance that it has a sump pump. Here in the Chicago area, sump pumps are essential to the protection of basements from water incursion. Yet, many homeowners take their sump pump for granted. In reality, you should be checking your pump regularly to ensure that it’s functioning properly and protecting your home. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to sump pump upkeep and some signs you should call us for sump pump services and a free plumbing inspection.


Why is a working sump pump so important?

During the winter and spring months here in the Chicago area, heavy snow and rain can saturate the ground with excess water. Since many basements are below the water table, water will begin to seep up from the ground into the basement. The sump pump, being located at the lowest physical point in the home, is the first line of defense. When it senses water intrusion, the pump kicks on, sucking in water, and pumping it through pipes to places where it can safely drain off.

During times of heavy rain or snowmelt, a basement sump pump is the only thing preventing your basement from flooding, causing significant water damage and leading to needed mold remediation.

There are many different types of sump pumps and ways that sump pumps can be set up. However, here’s what is true for all of them: a working sump pump is essential. In the next section, we’ll review how you can confirm that your pump is working as expected—and what to do if it is not.

A working sump pump protects your home and basement from flooding and water damage, especially during high rain or snowmelt.

How can you make sure your sump pump is working properly?

You should periodically check your home’s sump pump to ensure that it’s working as it should. Here are some quick and easy ways to test that your pump is operational and diagnose any potential issues:

    • Since they pull in water from the bottom, most sump pumps only work properly if standing upright. Many sump pump disasters occur because the pump has been accidentally knocked over.

    • The pump should automatically turn on when it senses water. Take some water in a bucket to the sump pump and confirm that the device turns on and is actively draining the water. If not, you’ll need to give us a call.

    • The pump has to put water somewhere. Make sure that the discharge pipe is free of any blockages, including leaves or rocks. These can prevent the pump from effectively removing water from the basement.

    • Take a look at the sump pump’s electrical cord to ensure that it isn’t damaged or fraying. A sump pump needs to be plugged into a grounded outlet with its own breakers. If the sump pump doesn’t turn on during your test, try resetting the breakers and seeing if that resolves the issue.

    • If your sump pump relies on a backup power supply—such as a propane generator—you should also confirm that the generator is working before the start of winter.

Again: when in doubt, call in one of our plumbers for a free inspection. When it comes to a sump pump and the prospect of your basement flooding, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When should you call the experts?

At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we specialize in sump pump upkeep, repair, and installation. No matter what your sump pump needs are here in Chicagoland, we have you covered. Call us today for 24/7 emergency plumbing service and a free plumbing inspection. We’ll send one of our experienced, friendly plumbers out to your home to diagnose the issue with the pump and make the right fix.


Do you need a plumber to install a sump pump?

Yes. Sump pumps are complex because they require the pump itself to be installed right, along with its pipes and drainage. As with any plumbing project in your home, the consequences—including extensive water damage and flooding—and potential cost of improper installation just aren’t worth the risk of treating this like a do-it-yourself project. Leave your sump pump installation to the experts.

How much does a sump pump generally cost?

This depends on the specific details individual to your home, as well as what pump needs to be installed. Generally speaking, homeowners nationwide pay between $2,500 and $6,000 for initial sump pump system installation. This includes the pipes, drainage, pump, and everything else. After that, if the pump fails in the future, it’ll cost around $500 to $1,300 to replace. In most cases, all the plumbing and drainage does not need to be replaced along with the pump.

If you need a new sump pump in your home, call us at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to get an estimate from our team.

Do sump pumps need maintenance?

inter. However, you can perform your own checkup even more often. For a complete review of what to look for, check out this article. However, here’s a quick overview:

    • Sump pumps should start automatically when they sense water. Pour some water on the pump to ensure that it gets going as expected.

    • Sump pumps generally work only when upright. In a basement, it’s easy for the pump to accidentally get knocked over, so make sure it’s in place.

    • Check the discharge pipe to make sure that it’s clear. Otherwise, the sump pump will have nowhere to, well, pump.

Again, if you have questions or you suspect something might be wrong with your sump pump, the time to call King is now. It’s far better to have us address sump pump issues before rain and snow arrive and your home desperately needs its sump pump to be running.

Call King for sump pump installation, repair, and other services

If you’re a Chicago homeowner, let King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing help you keep your basement dry all year. Take advantage of our 50 years of experience by scheduling your appointment for sump pump services today.