Five Safety Tips To Ensure Your Sump Pump Is Safe From Fire Risks
When a sump pump recently caught on fire in Fort Dodge, Kansas, firefighters reported that they weren't sure what started the fire. If you have a sump pump, this story may have made you wonder whether or not your sump pump is safe. Luckily, sump pump fires are extremely rare, but if you want to ensure you are safe, here's what you should check:
1. Only use pumps with overheating switches.
If you still have the packaging for your sump pump, check to make sure it has an overheating switch. This is standard on most new sump pumps, and it simply turns off the pump if it starts to overheat. If your pump is so old that it lacks this safety feature, it's time to replace it.
2. Have your pump plugged into its own circuit.
If the motor on your pump shorts, meaning the electricity has jumped over the wires to travel along a shorter path, it will try to draw more power from your electrical wires. Theoretically, that could cause a fire. However, if your sump pump is connected to its own circuit, the circuit breaker will trip and stop delivering power to the pump before that happens. To ensure this safety net is in place, make sure that your sump pump is plugged into an outlet with its own circuit. If it's not, you need to have an electrician address the issue.
3. Repair issues as they occur.
In many cases, you have warnings that your sump pump may be hazardous. In particular, if there is something lodged in the impeller fan or a short somewhere in the electrical system of the pump, you will notice it turning on and off rapidly. If you notice this, unplug your sump pump and have a repair person look it over to ensure it's safe.
4. Check extension cords for fire hazards.
If your sump pump is attached to its outlet using an extension cord, you have to check the extension cord for fire risks as well. Do not use cords with worn casing or exposed wires. Also, try to avoid using super long extension cords. As a rule of thumb, the longer your extension cord is, the stronger and thicker it needs to be.
5. Keep combustibles away from sump pumps.
After a sump pump fire in Milton, Ontario, Canada, over five years ago, the firefighter on the scene warned homeowners to keep combustible items away from their sump pump. If you store paints, chemicals, stacks of papers, dry cardboard boxes or other items prone to catching fire easily in your basement, store them in an area relatively far from your sump pump. Talk to a contractor, like Rite-Way Waterproofing, for more help.