How to avoid flooded basements after rain and melting snow

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The spring weather roller coaster is leading to concerns for homeowners. Plumbers say residents need to be careful with sump pump failures that may lead to flooded basements.

Jim Cummins is among the professionals visiting customers' homes just days after the area got more than 10 inches of snow. The climbing temperatures are causing that snow to melt quickly and rain is in the forecast for much of the week.

"All the ground is completely saturated," said Cummins. "There will be a basement in this neighborhood that will be flooded. This guy is taking precautions so it won’t happen to him," he said about a customer who was choosing to get a new sump pump.

Companies like Hope Plumbing say they are used to seeing an uptick in calls about flooded basements and sump pump failures in the spring.

"The storm lines get so inundated with so much water so fast, that it has nowhere to go," said Jack Hope, co-owner of Hope Plumbing. "It ends up backing up into people’s houses."

Hope said not checking on your sump pump can lead to huge problems.

"We’ve been in basements where there are three and four feet of water and we can’t even get in there to replace the pump because it’s dangerous," he said. "Damage could range anywhere from $500 to have everything cleaned and dried out to $50,000 to remodel a finished basement. There’s some serious consequence."

Hope says he does not recommend keeping a sump pump long after its warranty expires -- which is usually about five years after purchase.

"Some insurance companies are starting not to pay claims if your pump, if you haven’t maintained it properly," Hope said.

Experts also say it is important to test the sump pump about once every three months.