A sump pump is a behind-the-scenes device, and for most people it tends to be out-of-sight and out-of-mind. That is, until it breaks down and their basement floods and incurs water damage. Here are answers to four common questions about this unsung hero living in your basement.

What Does a Sump Pump Do? 

A sump pump works to keep your basement from flooding by collecting excess water from drains and re-routing it away from your house. It’s usually situated in a basin beneath the surface of your basement floor.

How Long Does One Last?

The lifespan of a sump pump depends on how often it’s used, the volume of water it has to displace, and its cycle runtime. Although your pump may be professionally-installed and of high quality it should be replaced every seven to 10 years.

When Is the Best Time for Routine Maintenance?

Your sump pump will likely be most active during heavy showers in the spring season, so early fall or late winter are the best times to have it inspected by a pro—especially if you don’t know how old it is. It’s important to have your sump pump checked regularly, since it can be less costly to replace it than to fix extensive water damage throughout your basement.

If Your Home Loses Power Do You Need a Battery Backup? 

Although you may have a properly-functioning sump pump, if your home loses power during a thunderstorm, or other severe weather event, your pump will be unable to function. To keep it operating during a power outage you can invest in a backup generator, or you could use a rechargeable battery pack to keep the pump running. If you’re in the market for a new sump pump there are models available that have a built-in battery backup.

Another option to consider is investing in a secondary sump pump that’s battery powered, which can be ideal if your primary pump fails or becomes overwhelmed.