top of page

Warm Weather and Wet Basements

Updated: May 26, 2020

Our basement floor is shiny: it’s covered in water

It’s that dreaded first step onto the basement floor when you get that squishy feeling that makes your heart drop. Ah S*** where did this water come from?

Sump pumps are installed below the frost line
Sump pump

Remember The Hidden Sump Pump

There are many reasons for wet basements and just as many solutions. One of the simplest often overlooked and forgotten about is your sump pump.  Sump pump science is simple, water flows to the place of least resistance (we want to keep our basements dry, but it’s hard to make a basement waterproof. That’s why a system is provided for water to flow (drainage tiles system) and to gather (sump pit), then pump it out and away from the house. This allows us some control where the water is and where it goes.

Sump pumps are installed below the frost line
Sump pumps are installed below the frost line

Wet In Winter

The sump pump and drainage system is installed below the frost line so water can flow into it even if there is snow on the ground. If the discharge line is too long or has a poor slope to it, ice dams can build up and eventually totally block the discharge line.  If your line freezes up the result is the water in the ground is still wanting to flow into the sump pit and with the pump not able to pump it out of the pit, it has nowhere for it to go except for up and out of the sump pit lid, resulting in that squishy feeling on the basement floor.

Secondary passage for sump pump discarge
Secondary passage for sump pump discarge

Preventing Problems

Some things you can do to prepare for winter is to install a shorter line with a good slope making sure it still drains away from the foundation or install something like the IceGuard® Discharge Line Protection System (pictured below) that provides a secondary passage for the water if the line does freeze up. 

Test 2 Times Each Year

Sump pumps should last for a long time; however, no mechanical device lasts forever. So, make sure you test it at the very least before the snow starts to melt and again mid-summer and making sure the discharge line is free of any obstructions.

sump pump types
Types of sump pumps

The Right Choice

There are a few assorted styles of sump pumps, so it’s best to do a little research about the specific sump pump you have and test it in accordance with manufactures recommendations. If your sump pump does not come on, is running constantly, water levels in the sump pit raises after the pump shuts off, or you suspect anything else it’s best to have it serviced immediately.

Save With Maintenance

I can’t count how many times I have heard “Our basement flooded because the sump pump got unplugged”!! Remember some simple maintenance and minor changes can make a significant difference in keeping your basement dry.

Mark Manikel (RHI/NCH)

Owner/Home inspector

Phone 204-944-8299 Mobile 204-746-4151

Web Email

Box 715, Niverville, MB. R0A 1E0

24 views0 comments
bottom of page