I got 99 problems and a sump pump is one

Nick Shepherd • May 18, 2017 at 12:52 PM

Torrential rains could not dampen my mood last month.

Three days before, my wife and I purchased our first home. It is a beautiful split foyer home with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. We had moved in with my mother the previous year to save money, and all our hard work was finally paying off.

As my 7-year-old daughter showed my mother around the house — boxes flung everywhere and many areas in different states of unpacking — they made their way down to the garage. A large den located off the side of the garage, which I plan to turn into a man cave/gym, was the final room. 

When she opened the door, she asked a simple question — one that would prove very expensive.

"Is there supposed to be water in the floor?"

The den had completely flooded. We had no idea flooding would even be an issue. My wife contacted the previous owners to see why this was happening. We were informed they had a flooding issue once when they first moved in and it had something to do with a sump pump.

My first question, what in the heck is a sump pump?

Turns out a sump pump is used to remove water in a water collecting sump basin. They are used when basement flooding happens regularly and to solve dampness where the water table is above the foundation of a home, according to the internet.

Having no idea where the sump pump was located or how to fix it, we called out a water extraction company. They did a good job, but I'm not sure the logistics on naming them in this column so generic term it is.

They checked the area where the sump pump was located and reported not hearing any sounds, meaning it was not working. Great. They removed the water for us and politely removed $500 from my wallet. They told us it would happen again.

It did. We called them back out and they extracted more water and another $200. I had to get this issue figured out because I do not have that kind of money to keep getting the den cleaned constantly.

A friend of mine is a plumber and I messaged him on Facebook, believing the sump pump would most likely need to be replaced (thanks internet research!). He said he would come out later in the afternoon. My brother was also going to come by and see if he could figure something out because he had to replace a sump pump at his house.

My brother arrived before my buddy and he got down in a small hole at the back of the house. Puddles of water stood on top of piles of mud. He crawled back in the space and found the sump pump, down in a mud hole.

When he touched it, the pump jumped on and spewed water through a pipe in my backyard. A pipe I had no idea existed. He took a picture and crawled back out, mud on his knees and hands.

I thanked him and let my plumber friend know the problem was solved for the moment. Now when it rains, I know to make sure the pump is working.

It was a learning experience, albeit a very expensive one. I suppose I have 30 more years to look forward to the pitfalls of home ownership.

But I own my home. And for that, I am blessed.


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