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​Sump Pump Safety

Fire crews frequently respond to potentially serious incidents of sump pumps overheating in residential homes. The severity of these incidents can result in thousands of dollars in financial losses for home owners or occupants, not to mention serious injury or death.

Prevention Tips

A sump pump is essential for your home to prevent flooding from water accumulation. However, they don’t always work the way you want them to, as with any type of equipment they can still break down from time to time. Here are some helpful tips to prevent sump pump fires in your home:

  • Only use pumps with overheating switches – if you still have the manual for your sump pump, check to see that it has this switch. This is standard on new sump pumps, and it simply turns pumps off when they overheat. If your pump is old and doesn’t have this safety feature, consider replacing it.
  • Have your pump plugged into its own circuit – if the pump motor shorts it will trip the breaker and cut the power before a fire starts.
  • Repair issues as they occur – trust warning signs (pump turning off and on, load noises etc.) and have your pump serviced by a professional.
  • Keep combustibles away – keep the area around the pump clear of combustibles.
  • Look inside your sump pump and remove any visible debris.
  • Choose a submersible pump as a safer alternative instead of a stem or column style of pump.
  • Ensure that the motor is not tilted as this may cause damage from internal overheating.
  • If you have a battery back up on your sump pump, take steps to ensure that it is maintained and charged at all times.

Recommendations

Choose a submersible pump as a safer alternative instead of a stem or column style of pump:

submersible-sump-pump.jpg pedestal-sump-pump.jpg
 

Frequently Asked Questions
My sump pump keeps turning off and on, does that mean it is going to overheat and cause a fire?

Not necessarily, but we would recommend that you have it serviced by a professional.

How do you know if your sump pump is working correctly?

Check your sump pump before it rains, once in the spring and once in the fall. Use a garden hose or bucket of water to fill up the sump pump, make sure it starts, runs properly and sounds smooth, and then switches off.

How long should a sump pump last?

Sump pumps have an average life expectancy of about 10 years depending on frequency of use.

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