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Do I Need a Sump Pump?

Written by Hanna Plumbing & Heating / June 12, 2020

First, a quick reminder of what a sump pump does. A sump pump sits in a “sump pit” which sits just below the level of the basement floor and collects excess water that would otherwise end up leaking into the basement. The sump pump then transfers that water from the pit up and out of your home so you and your home stay safe and dry.

How do you know if your home needs a sump pump? Well, that depends on a few factors. Without seeing your specific house we can’t give you a firm yes or no, but if your home meets any of these conditions, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

1. You’ve Had Water in Your Basement Before.

This is the most obvious way to know that you need a sump pump. If you’ve had water in your basement before, it’s only a matter of time until it happens again. Water buildup in your basement means that water is getting into your basement and has no way to get out—and providing a way out is exactly what a sump pump is for.

2. You Live in an Area With Lots of Rain and Snow Buildup.

If you live in Iowa, you probably fit this description. Heavy rain can always be a threat, but what we see most often is a basement flooding when all the snow that has piled up over the winter begins to melt. This is usually caused by the combination of melting snow that is sped-up by spring rain. Even if your property is graded to move water away from your home, this is often too much water at once.

3. You Live in a Low-Lying or Flat Area.

If you notice water running towards the foundation of your home, or just large puddles building up in your yard or around your foundation, this is an indicator that the rain and snowmelt don’t have anywhere to go and if there is enough water it is likely to find its way into your basement.

4. You Have a Finished Basement.

A finished basement can add a lot of value to your home, but it can also cost a lot of money to clean up if your basement floods. Think of a sump pump like an insurance policy. Even if your home doesn’t meet any of the first three criteria, the cost of a sump pump will easily pay for itself if it can save your finished basement and furnishings from water damage. Even if your basement isn’t finished, but you are storing items of value down there, a sump pump is a wise investment.

5. You Don’t Hear Your Old Sump Pump Running.

If you don’t hear your sump pump running during and after a heavy rain, your sump pump probably isn’t working correctly. If you have access to the sump pit, you can test this before a heavy rain comes by slowly pouring a few gallons of water into the pit. This should trigger your sump pump to turn on and, if it’s working correctly, you will hear it running.


If you need help figuring out if you need a sump pump, are not sure if your sump pump is working, or even if your home has a sump pump, give Hanna a call at (319) 377-2809 or contact us online.

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