"We like the house a lot. It's got all the features we're looking for. The only thing that worries me is the sump pump in the basement. Obviously the house has some sort of water problem."
It's easy to imagine a prospective home buyer voicing concerns about a sump pump located in a basement or crawl space. But is having one always a bad sign? Is a house automatically better off without one? How reliable are they at keeping water out of a basement or crawl space? One way to answer these questions is to examine the "pros and cons."
* Effective water removal. When a sump pump has been properly installed, it's the most effective way to move water away from the foundation and help keep the basement or crawl space dry in wet conditions.
* More reliable than other waterproofing treatments. Despite what many people think, coating the outside of a foundation with a moisture barrier is no guarantee against water infiltration into a basement or crawl space. Both the coating and the foundation can (and often do) develop cracks that admit water. Water can also come in through cracks in the concrete floor, or along the joint between the floor and the wall. A properly functioning pump is more reliable than a "passive" system like a moisture barrier.
* Able to handle major leaks. Unlike a curtain drain system that relies on gravity alone to remove water, it can move a great volume of water in a relatively short time. This capability is important whenever a severe storm or an unanticipated leak occurs.
* Electricity required. Power outages often occur during heavy rainstorms that can cause water to enter a basement. But when the power goes out, a standard one won't work, so the basement can fill up with water. To prevent this catastrophe, you need to install a sump pump that includes a battery backup system.
* Possible radon hazard. Putting a hole in the concrete floor of a basement or crawl space creates an opening where radon gas from the soil can enter the foundation. Since exposure to radon can cause cancer, it's important for any house with a sump pump to be tested for radon. If hazardous radon levels are detected, they can be reduced to acceptable levels by an experienced radon mitigation contractor.
* Unattractive appearance. In the past and even today, installation leaves an exposed hole in the foundation that is rough and unsightly. Seeing an open hole that's dirty and partly full of water will not make homeowners feel good about their basement or secure about avoiding water damage. But it doesn't have to be this way. As shown in the photo, sump pumps like those available from Basement Systems, Inc. have a neat, clean appearance that inspires confidence rather than fear.
To a homeowner or home buyer, a sump pump can be a liability or an asset, depending on how it functions and how it looks. If properly functioning, it provides excellent protection against water intrusion and water damage in a basement or crawl space protection that is in many ways more fail safe than waterproof coatings. To provide the best protection and the best finished appearance, it's important to install a top-quality pump that incorporates a battery backup system and an airtight cover. This type of sump pump is typical of the models available from Basement Systems.