As a homeowner, one of the last things you want to see is water gathering in your basement. For a finished basement, water can cause much damage to walls, furniture and carpeting. Even if your basement is just used for storage, water can damage or destroy your personal items. To prevent or at least minimize the damaging effects of standing water in your basement, consider the following tips.

Regularly Test Your Sump Pump

During periods of regular rainfall, you should be able to hear your sump pump working in your basement. However, during dry spells or the winter your sump pump could be inactive for months - so you don't have that audio reminder that your pump is working properly.  During these periods of no rainfall, you should test your sump pump by taking a large bucket of water and pouring it directly into the sump well/basin. If your pump is working properly, the rising water in the well will activate the sump pump, and it will pump the water away from the house.

Consider Buying a Back-up Sump Pump

As with anything that runs on electricity, a sump pump can fail at any time - even if it works properly today. The risk of this occurring increases as the sump pump gets older. You should consider getting a back-up pump even if your existing pump is under warranty. A heavy rainfall can flood a basement well before a repairman can come out to fix or replace your current pump. Many sump basins can accommodate two pumps, so your expenses with implementing a second pump will be limited.

Consider Installing a Second Sump Pump Basin

If you want a little extra insurance against water in your basement, you may want to consider installing a second sump basin. In an existing home this can require more of a financial investment, since this will likely mean cutting into the existing foundation to install the basin. A second sump basin can be helpful if your water heater is not near your existing basin (failing water heaters can create water problems of their own), or if your basement is prone to flooding in multiple places. A second sump basin can also be hooked into a secondary discharge pipe or hose - which can still flow water away from your home if your existing sump discharge pipe/hose gets blogged by dirt, snow or ice.