Foundation Wall Replacement – What to Expect

Foundation Wall Replacement

Addressing concerns with your foundation can be stressful and overwhelming.  The thought of totally replacing the foundation of your home may seem completely overwhelming and downright scary.  However, we would like to reassure you that such a repair may not be as daunting as it seems.  In this blog, we will discuss foundation wall replacement and go over some factors to take into consideration.

Foundation wall replacement

Is Your Wall Severely Cracked/Bowed?

Many types of foundation cracks or a bowed basement wall can be fixed with methods such as carbon fiber/kevlar mesh straps or structural piering.  But if the wall is too severely damaged, it may make more sense to replace it.  What are some signs that a wall replacement is necessary?

  • The second row of block from the bottom is sliding off the bottom row.
  • The mortar is rotting and/or crumbling.
  • The foundation blocks are separating one from another or pulling away from each other

Do these things mean always mean that the wall needs replaced?  Not necessarily.  There are many things to take into consideration.  Your best bet is to have the foundation inspected by a qualified basement specialist.

What About Cost?

The internet would have you believe that you will be further ahead taking a wrecking ball to your house and starting all over somewhere new.  There are various articles online that state that replacing a foundation is not a cost effective option.  But foundation wall replacement may be more affordable than you think.  In fact, depending on the problem and work needed, sometimes the cost of repairing a basement wall is comparable with the cost of simply replacing it.  Sometimes only a section needs replaced, not the entire thing.  It is beneficial to explore your options as to foundation wall replacement and/or foundation repair.

How Does it Work?

First, we completely stabilize your house.  Second, we dig around the foundation from the outside and remove all dirt from the side of the basement.  This relieves all the pressure from the foundation.  This keeps your house from moving and acts as a “temporary foundation.”  Once everything is totally stable, we begin removing the bad sections of the foundation.  Next, we lay the block for your new foundation.  We examine every detail to ensure that your new foundation is complete and ready to hold the weight of your home.  A foundation replacement comes with a 20 year limited warranty.  Additionally, you normally do not need to vacate your home while the work is being done.  We try to make the inconvenience as minimal as possible.

foundation replacement

Don’t Procrastinate!

If your foundation is cracked or bowed, putting off getting it fixed will only make the problem worse.  Foundations that need replaced could have been salvaged if the problem was caught early enough.  Make sure you address your foundation problem as soon as possible.  Doing so may save you from a future foundation wall replacement.  Whether your foundation is in need of some minor repair or a full foundation wall replacement, contact us for a free* inspection. We have been in business since 1979 with the good reputation to back it up!

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Interior Basement Waterproofing Systems

 Interior Basement Waterproofing Systems

There are different types of interior basement waterproofing systems on the market.  All types of patented products and fancy drain systems exist only to the confusion of many homeowners.  Some companies don’t really make it clear exactly how their system works.  Some contractors offer “patented” system which can be a way of eliminating comparisons.  But it is important for you to know exactly what you are getting and why it works.

Interior basement waterproofing is necessary when water is coming in from around the bottom of the basement.  Interior waterproofing relieves hydrostatic pressure.  This is caused by groundwater that builds up around the bottom of the foundation with no where for it to go.  In truth, interior waterproofing is more of a water control method.  But it is the best option to prevent water from entering around the bottom of your foundation.

The Pioneer method

We install a true interior footer drain around the perimeter of the foundation.  By installing a true footer drain we can install it with a slope.  This slope, or “fall” allows water to run towards the evacuation point and drain out.  Makes sense right?  Not all basement waterproofing companies install drains with slope.

Below is a step by step of our process for installation.

Before any work has been completed:

interior basement waterproofing systems

Next, we trench around the foundation wall and install perforated PVC drain tile.  The drain tile must be sloped properly so that the water flows to the drainage area.

The next step is to lay gravel over top of the drain tile.

Finally, we cement the trench.  This particular basement also has vinyl wall covering, which gives the basement a clean, finished look.

The drain tile is routed to the to a sump pump.

This type of a system is simple and time tested.  It is your home’s best line of defense against water intrusion from hydrostatic pressure.

Other Interior Basement Waterproofing Systems

There are many contractors with the patented systems that lay either on top of the footer or next to the footer.  Many of these systems are channel drains instead of round drains. This type of drain is installed level because it is sitting on on your foundation which is level.  This type of system requires water to build up in the drain.

As the water builds up it works on the fact that water always seeks a level.  As water lays in the drain it builds up to the point where it will eventually push out at the evacuation point. This also requires the overall water level around your foundation to build up to the floor level instead of draining at the bottom of the foundation which is about eight inches lower.

Water builds up in the channels and can not flow properly.  Ideally, a pipe should slope 1/2″ for every 10 feet.  This ensures proper flow to the drain area.  Many municipalities actually require this.  Look out for companies that ONLY offers their specific system.  It doesn’t matter what individual problem your basement has because they offer the same solution to every person.  Is interior basement waterproofing ALWAYS the right solution though?

Interior vs. Exterior

Interior basement waterproofing systems are not appropriate for every home.  Exterior basement waterproofing may be a better fit depending on where the water is coming in.  Every basement is different. Ground water may be a problem for one basement, whereas another basement may have more of a surface water problem.

If you aren’t sure which is right for you, contact us for a free estimate.  We can have a basement inspector examine your basement and make a recommendation for the best solution.

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For more information regarding our interior basement waterproofing systems, visit our website here.

Foundation Piers – How Do They Work?

Foundation Piers – How Do They Work?

What are foundation piers?  Most homeowners have never even heard of the term until they started experiencing foundation problems.  Of course, there are various remedies for different types of foundation movement.  You can learn more about them HERE.  The purpose of this article is to discuss the concept and technique of foundation piering to give you a better understanding of how the system works.

Foundation piers

What is Foundation Piering?

Piering is the process of driving sections of steel pipe or concrete pilings underneath of a foundation in order to stabilize it and prevent further movement.  The piers are pushed into the ground with a hydraulic pump.  Concentrically loaded foundation piers are installed directly under the center of the wall being lifted and use the foundation as resistance to push the pier into the ground.  The piers must be driven deep enough to hit bedrock or other stable strata in order to be effective.  This serves as the strong base needed to support the piers which in turn support the foundation.  Piering is the strongest and most dependable method of stabilizing a foundation that is settling or sinking.

There are various types of foundation piers on the market.  The most dependable method of structural piering is the patented Stabil-Loc piering system.  This is because Stabil-Loc piers are installed directly underneath the footer (base of the foundation) of the home, which is where all of the weight of the house is.  The pier is also constructed of a patented double wall interlocking system preventing failure between the segments.  This method comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty and full stamped and certified structural engineer documentation.

Other types of piers are installed next to the footer and attached to the side of it with a bracket.  These types of piers are susceptible to offset pressures that can bind and snap the bolts or brackets causing failure of the pier.

 Are They Strong Enough to Work?

Note the following information, which can be found directly on the Stabil-Loc website:

Our double walled heat extruded steel tube positioned directly under the center of the wall to be lifted or stabilized and driven hydraulically all the way to bedrock or stable strata provides the deepest, strongest foundation support available.

The Stabil-Loc Foundation Piering System segmented the shaft of the pier into 12-inch interlocking segments so the pier could be installed directly under the center line of the weight of the wall being lifted. The bracket was then inverted and rides against the bottom of the footing as a load bearing plate that rotates as the structure is lifted. The location and configuration of the pier combined with the highest compressive load carrying capacity in the industry makes it obvious– THIS PIER CANNOT FAIL!

Stabil Loc Foundation Piers

Is Piering Right for Your Home?

If your foundation is sinking or settling, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Stairstep cracks in the basement wall
  • Drywall cracks
  • Misaligned windows or doors
  • Foundation Cracks

If you would like to find out whether or not your house would be a good candidate for piering, contact us today!  We can perform a free* foundation inspection and make a recommendation that is tailored to your house’s unique needs.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has been in business since 1979.  We serve homeowners in the following areas and more:

Stark County, Summit County, Portage County, and Medina County.

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*Free for homeowners

Foundation piers


foundation piers

Foundation Piers During Installation.

Basement Repair Contractors – How to Find the Right One

Basement Repair Contractors – How to Find the Right One

Finding the right basement repair contractors can be challenging.  Of course, this is true in all trades, not just basement waterproofing or foundation repair.  It takes time, research, going through reviews, and making sure the contractor is reputable.  And then there is the interviewing process where you have the contractor come out to your home.  The process can seem overwhelming.  We will review some things to help you along the way so that you can make the right decision.  Although the focus of this article is for basement repair contractors, the same principles can be applied for any type of contractor.

Online Reviews

The first thing to look at is the contractor’s reputation.  Thankfully, the internet is a valuable resource for this.  The Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Facebook are good places to start.  Are the majority of the reviews good or are there mixed reviews?  Do the reviews look legitimate?  Believe it or not, some companies spend lots of time and money fabricating good reviews.  Websites like Angie’s List and the BBB make it difficult or impossible to do this.  Look for legitimate reviews from trustworthy sources.  You can also do a Google search to learn more about the company.


Does the company have a list of satisfied customers that can be contacted?  Good reviews are a start, but if a past customer is willing to vouch for the company to a total stranger, this speaks volumes about the company’s reputation.

Years in Business

A company may claim that they have many years of experience. But how long have they been in business? A company of four guys may have each been working in basement waterproofing for 5 years and claim that the company has 20 years of experience. But maybe the actual business has only been open for a few years. If they give you a lifetime guarantee, can you count on them still being around 5 or 10 years down the road?  A company that has been around for many years and has a solid reputation is the best bet.

National Companies vs. Local Businesses

National waterproofing companies are easy to spot. They spend a fortune on various forms of advertising and booths at trade shows. They have a highly trained sales staff that are required to use high pressure in their sales presentations, even going so far as demanding that all homeowners be present for an estimate, simply because they want to close a deal. National Companies usually have a “patented” system, which means every customer gets the same solution, regardless of what their problem is. They may claim to offer other solutions, but always lead back to their patented product. Local basement repair contractors are easy to spot as well because they will often advertise “locally owned and operated.” Smaller, local companies may utilize subcontractors for the majority of their labor, which means they are not insured against damages. Make sure the company has employees and is insured. Reputable companies will advertise that they are “bonded and insured” and can even provide a certificate to back up their claim.

Sales Presentation

Does the sales person take the time to explain everything to you and answer your questions? Or do they give the impression that you should just “trust the expert”? Are they using high pressure sales techniques? Do they use scare tactics, telling you that if you truly care about your family’s health, you will fix this problem immediately? Beware of these bad sales practices. If a company is reputable and trustworthy, they will not need to resort to these tactics.

A Final Word

Choosing the right basement repair contractors doesn’t have to be scary. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you dive in to doing the right research, you will be able to separate the good from the bad and choose a few that you will invite to your home for an estimate.

If you would like to learn more about our company, please visit our about page.
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BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating and ZERO complaints

Twelve Time "Super Service Award" Winners from Angie's List

Home Advisor Screened and Approved

Basement Repair Contractors

foundation wall repair

Foundation Wall Repair

Foundation Wall Repair

If you have foundation problems, you may be wondering what your options are for foundation wall repair.  Here are some of the most common symptoms of a foundation issue, and what those symptoms could mean:

  • Stair step cracks in basement wall, which may indicate settling or shifting.
  • Horizontal cracks may mean your basement wall is beginning to bow in.
  • Cracks in the floor of your basement could indicate settling.
  • Difficulty opening/closing doors and windows may mean the foundation is sinking.

There is good news though!  Most common foundation issues can be resolved.  There are several solutions to the different causes of these problems.  Therefore, we are going to review some of the methods we offer for foundation wall repair.

Carbon Fiber / Kevlar Mesh

We use the advanced technology of Fortress Stabilization for bowing basement walls.  The carbon fiber and Kevlar straps are meshed together and applied vertically to the basement wall.  This combination provides incredible strength to stop basement wall movement in its tracks.  The straps are flat to the wall and paintable.  This method comes with a lifetime warranty.

foundation wall repair

Structural Piering 

The most dependable method of structural piering is the patented Stabil-Loc piering system.  We install the piers directly under the footer of the home.  Each section of pier is driven into the ground under your foundation with a hydraulic pump until it hits bedrock or other stable strata.  This is the strongest and most dependable form of stabilizing a settling structure.  To learn more about the Stabil-Loc pier as well as other piering systems, please visit our foundation piering page.

foundation wall repair

Traditional Steel I Beams

 In some cases, a traditional steel I beam can be installed against the basement wall.  The beam is attached to the structure above as well as cemented in under the floor.  This method offers a limited warranty.

Basement Wall Replacement

 If a basement foundation wall is totally beyond repair, we offer complete replacement of the wall itself.  We stabilize the house and remove the wall and then replace it with all new block.  We can replace the entire foundation or just a section, depending on the severity.

Foundation wall repair

If you would like to learn more about the foundation wall repair methods we use, contact our office.  We can have a foundation specialist evaluate your basement and present the best options for your specific situation.

Our warranties come standard with the work that is performed.  No extra charges or yearly maintenance fees.  We believe in our products and solutions enough that we don’t have to put conditions in our guarantees or charge a fee to continue them.  We feel confident that we can offer a solution for whatever foundation wall repair needs you have.

Leaky Basement? Should You Put Off Waterproofing It?

Leaky Basement?  Should You Put Off Waterproofing It?

A leaky basement is quite an annoyance.  Basement leakage and excess moisture at the very least can cause a stinky mildew smell, mold growth, and the inability to use some or all of your basement for storage.  At the worst, it can lead to ruined personal property, worsening of basement wall cracks, a heaved up basement floor, or foundation problems.

No one WANTS a leaky basement.  But taking the time to research, interview, and hire a contractor is no picnic either.  Various contractors may all present different options to fix the problem and leave you more confused than you were before you started.  Or a high pressure sales pitch or fear mongering tactics that some companies use will make you wish you never opened your door.  Be that as it may, there are certainly downsides to putting off a basement waterproofing project and many reasons for doing so.  Let us consider just a few common reasons and try to dispel some of the hesitation you may have.

Reasons for Procrastinating

Waterproofing is really expensive – Waterproofing your basement may not be quite as expensive as you think.  Maybe only a portion of your basement needs waterproofed.  It may be possible to waterproof the part of your basement that is worst and waterproof the rest on a future date, if needed.  If a basement is consistently leaking over a period of time, the problem can and will only get worse.  When the problem gets worse, it gets more costly to fix it.  Spending the money to fix it before the problem becomes serious can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.  You may even find out that your leaky basement is caused by something simple, such as a gutter issue.

Using a waterproofing “paint” or coating will temporarily fix the problem and buy some time – In reality, waterproof paints and coatings will only mask the problem.  They will not keep water out, but they may keep you from having to look at it for a short time.  Water intrusion can cause basement wall cracks to progressively get worse.  A coat of paint will not prevent this from happening.

The leak isn’t that bad – Maybe your basement only leaks on occasion and it’s not that bad.  It would probably still be best to have a professional take a look at it just to make sure that it will not lead to any future problems.  Again, it may be best to fix the problem early and “nip it in the bud” so to speak.  This may prevent a small problem from turning into a big problem down the road.

leaky basement

Damp basement walls

What is that white powder?

That white powder on your basement walls or floor is lime.  Lime is the bonding agent in concrete.  When concrete gets wet and dries out the lime leaches out of it.  This process is called efflorescence.  Over time the loss of lime weakens the block and or floor and will cause it to get crumbly.  This decay if left unchecked will lead to structural integrity issues such as blocks shifting out of place or mortar joint rot to the point of the wall moving.

Take Action

If you are on the fence about what to do or unsure if you even have a problem, we can perform an inspection and give you a diagnosis.  We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity.  We will not try to sell you something that you don’t need.  Contact us for a free* estimate.  (*Free for homeowners)

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Basement Wall Membrane – An Important Aspect of Exterior Waterproofing

Basement Wall Membrane – An Important Aspect of Exterior Waterproofing

If you have researched exterior basement waterproofing, you may have learned that a basement wall membrane is an integral part of a typical exterior system.  Depending on the specific water problem and where the water is coming from, exterior basement waterproofing may be the best bet to solve your water intrusion problem.  All basements eventually need to have the exterior basement waterproofing re done.  The original seal will break down allowing dampness to wick into the foundation and eventually lead to water seepage problems through the basement walls.  If this is the case, a basement wall membrane can be utilized as part of the waterproofing system.  Lets talk about what a basement wall membrane is exactly, what it does, and why it is beneficial for exterior waterproofing.

basement wall membrane

What is a Basement Wall Membrane?

It is a waterproof barrier that is applied to the outside of the basement wall below grade.  The membrane serves the important purpose of blocking water from the foundation wall and preventing any kind of water or moisture intrusion.  At Pioneer, we use DELTA-MS.  The following information regarding DELTA-MS can be found on the manufacturer’s website:

The vacuum-formed dimpled pattern creates an air gap between the membrane and the foundation for an absolutely dry foundation. By keeping water away from the foundation wall, DELTA®-MS is able to keep basements permanently dry and protected. Unlike sprays, which crack when concrete walls crack, it bridges cracks so no water intrusions can occur.

Made from three layers there is a 60% recycled layer sandwiched between two 40% virgin layers.  The co-extrusion process and offset dimples of DELTA®-MS create higher compressive strength and impact resistance than other dimpled membranes ensuring its performance and protection lasts.  The non biodegradable membrane is superior compared to other membranes typically made from 100% recycled materials and sprays that will break down in the soil.

Benefits of Basement Wall Membrane in an Exterior Waterproofing System

Installing a membrane over top the waterproof coating (which is either sprayed, brushed or rolled onto the foundation first) protects your foundation from moisture and from the backfill process.
Unlike coatings which can biodegrade, corrode or peel with time, the DELTA-MS basement membrane is permanent and has no reactions to moisture.

How is it Installed?

We follow several basic steps:

  • Excavate around the outside of the foundation
  • Clean walls and repair any cracks.
  • Apply a sealant coating.
  • Hang dimpled membrane.
  • Install footer drains then cover with gravel.
  • Backfill to the top with fresh soil.

You can learn more details about the entire process of installing an exterior basement waterproofing system by clicking here.  The following video shows the process of the membrane application.

At Pioneer, we understand each important step that goes into a waterproofing system.  We want to do everything we can to make sure our customers understand the entire process.  We do not cut corners or use inferior products.  Quality products and detailed workmanship make all the difference in the world and it is our focus to always fulfill these goals.  If you would like to learn more, please feel free to explore the rest of our website or contact us for more information.

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Be sure to include an exterior waterproof basement wall membrane in your project!

Damp Basement Walls? What is Your Best Waterproofing Option?

Damp Basement Walls? What is Your Best Waterproofing Option?

Damp basement walls can cause a lot of headaches.  If your basement includes a finished living area, excess moisture can ruin drywall, carpet, and more.  Dampness can contribute to mold growth, musty odors, and/or loss of use of certain areas of your basement.

damp basement walls

What Can You Do?

Damp basement walls can have many causes.  The cause may be as simple as clogged gutters or it may be as serious as a severe surface water problem that requires a full waterproofing system.  Assuming that you have done your basic home maintenance and despite your best efforts, your basement is still consistently damp, you may need to call in some professionals.

While most basement waterproofing contractors would love to have you think that there is some fancy patented system required to banish dampness for good, basement waterproofing is actually quite simple.  There are really only two ways that a house can be waterproofed.  From the inside of the house or from the outside.  So which one is best?

Interior Waterproofing or Exterior Waterproofing?

Whether your house should be waterproofed on the inside or outside depends on where the water is coming from.  If you have damp basement walls, chances are you have a surface water problem.  Other symptoms may include:

  • Paint bubbling
  • Water running down walls
  • Basement wall dampness soon after rain or snow melting

If your house fits this description, an exterior basement waterproofing system may be the best option.

How Does It Work?

We begin by digging up around the outside of your foundation, down to the footer.  We clean the walls of any debris and apply a waterproof coating to the exterior basement walls. The next step is to hang a dimpled membrane, which guarantees a dry foundation wall. Then, we install PVC foundation drainage along the footing, top it with gravel, then backfill with soil to slope away from the foundation. These steps ensure that the water is diverted away from your foundation, keeping your basement walls nice and dry.
If your basement walls are dry for the most part, or only damp around the bottom of the foundation, interior basement waterproofing may be a better option. You can learn more about that by clicking here.
Pioneer Basement Solutions has been solving basement problems since 1979.  We can confirm whether an exterior basement waterproofing system is right for you and explain the pros and cons of interior vs. exterior methods.

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Contact us and we can help you get rid of your damp basement walls for good!

Clogged gutters

Clogged Gutters – How They Affect Your Basement

Clogged Gutters – How They Affect Your Basement

We regularly meet customers that have a basement water problem that is simply caused by issues with their gutters.  We have briefly discussed clogged gutters in previous blog posts.  But spring is in the air and heavy rains have already begun.  We thought now would be a good time to review how your gutters affect your basement and why it is so important to keep them in tip top shape.

Why Are Gutters Important?

Gutters are an often overlooked but nonetheless important aspect of home maintenance.  The purpose of gutters is to catch rain water and channel it to a downspout and away from your home.  Gutters serve the important purpose of keeping excess water away from your foundation and out of your basement.

When a Problem Arises

Leaves and debris from surrounding trees can cause clogged gutters any time of the year, but gutters are especially vulnerable to clogging during fall time.  When gutters are clogged, rain water may pool around the edge of your foundation.  If this is left unchecked over a period of time, several things can happen:

  • The extra moisture and weight against the foundation could lead to cracking or bowing.
  • The soil around the foundation can erode and cause settlement issues.
  • Water can enter into the basement, which can cause many problems on its own, including mold growth.

These same problems can occur when gutters don’t have proper pitch.  Sometimes gutters become loose and are not fastened properly to the house.

How to Keep Gutters Maintained

Experts recommend checking and cleaning gutters twice per year.  If your house is surrounded by large trees, you may need to do so more often.  A ladder is really all that you need, but a leaf blower may be a big help also.

If you do not have the time or equipment to clean your gutters, many gutter contractors also perform cleaning services.  They could also inspect your gutters to make sure they are properly directing water to the downspout.  Also, various types of caps and screens are available to keep leaves out of gutters, but even these still require some maintenance.  Regardless of HOW you clean your gutters, keeping them properly cleaned and maintained goes a long way in protecting your foundation and basement.

At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we are not in the business of fixing gutters.  But we want our customers to be informed as to all the causes of basement water issues.  If you have water in your basement, contact us for an estimate, free for homeowners!

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sump pump battery backup

Sump Pump Battery Backup- Do I Need it?

Sump Pump Battery Backup- Do I Need it?

If you are planning to waterproof your basement or replace an existing sump pump, you may be considering a sump pump battery backup system.  There is of course a lot of benefit to having a backup system.  Sump pumps do not last forever.  Just like everything, with wear and tear over time, they will need to be replaced.  But you may not know that it needs to be replaced until you have a flood.  When and if your sump pump fails, isn’t it worth it to have a backup?

Is It Worth the Investment?

During what event may you need a backup?

  • The float switch on your primary sump pump fails, gets stuck, or doesn’t activate.
  • A fuse or circuit breaker is tripped.
  • The cord on your primary sump pump accidentally gets pulled out.
  • Your primary sump pump experiences mechanical failure.
  • Your electricity goes out.

Electricity failure can happen because of a storm.  But when it is storming, that is NOT the time that you want your sump pump to stop functioning.  That is when you need it the most!

We recommend the PumpSpy Battery Backup Sump Pump.

sump pump battery backup








Features of the PumpSpy Battery Backup

24/7 Remote Monitoring. PumpSpy’s servers constantly watch over your sump pumps automatically. PumpSpy instantly detects problems before flooding can occur!

Monitors your main sump pump. PumpSpy is the only system that constantly checks your main sump pump!

Automatic backup pump. In the event of a main sump pump problem or power outage, PumpSpy automatically activates the battery back-up pump.

Notifications and alerts. When a problem happens, PumpSpy sends you instant alerts via text message, email and PumpSpy App.

PumpSpy products connect to computers that watch over your sump pump system automatically, 24/7. PumpSpy computers constantly collect and analyze incoming data from your sump pumps, checking for potential issues. When an issue is detected, PumpSpy automatically sends alerts via text message, email and push notifications via the FREE PumpSpy App.  PumpSpy is the only system that alerts homeowners that their sump pump has a problem BEFORE flooding can occur.

sump pump battery backup

Having a sump pump battery backup is like having insurance.  You hope you never have to use it, but when you DO need it, you’re glad you have it.

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