Basement Waterproofing During the Covid-19 Crisis

State of emergency. Shelter in place. Stay at home. Executive orders. With individual states shutting down businesses and ordering their citizens to stay at home, there are lots of questions as to what’s considered a business that’s essential to critical infrastructure – who stays open and who must cease operations. Basement waterproofing contractors operating in different states are now facing the question of whether or not they should close for the time being.

As a business owner, you must clearly do what you think is best for your company, your employees, your customers and your community. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re allowed to stay open, read the following verbiage from CISA, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency:

“The attached list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including”…”maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure,” and “working construction.”

Then, under the Public Works Sector, even clearer language:

“Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences”

Basement waterproofing by its very nature maintains the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences. This language covers your installation crews, but could also be applied to your office workers if you have any. Scheduling, customer service, and marketing positions could all be considered essential to the day-to-day operation of your business.

To give employees peace of mind when they’re commuting to and from work, some of our contractors are giving them letters that spell out their necessity to business operations. See below:

Regardless if you plan to stay operational during the COVID-19 crisis or not, please continue to take measures that will prevent the spread of the virus. Be safe, be responsible and be well!

Source: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

Curb Your Electric Bill

The average electric bill for Americans is more than $111 per month. That number could go up (or down) in the future due to the efficiency of newer electric technology. For example, many people assume that a gas stove is more efficient and cooks faster than an electric stove. However, according to Consumer Reports, “Manufacturers of gas and electric ranges have been in a race for years to maximize the output of large burners, which you use to, say, boil a big pot of water for pasta. Which is faster? In general, electric, by a decent margin. Of the 59 electric smooth top ranges in our ratings, nearly 65 percent earn a score of excellent for our high heat cooking test. Only 44 percent of the gas ranges we tested can make that claim.”

So how could the average electric bill rise if these devices are becoming more efficient? It’s simple—more devices in more homes will run on electricity instead of gas, causing more electricity usage.

Another example could be your sump pump. Today’s sump pumps are not very energy efficient. Many people don’t know how often their pump runs and how it affects their electric bill. There are also those who don’t even know they have a pump working to keep their basement dry. Yikes!

Take a look at the chart below showing different levels of amp draw for some of the top pumps in America. You may be spending unnecessary money on your electric bill. Want to know for sure how much yours is running? Check out PumpSpy. The only system that monitors the health of your primary pump, details how many amps it’s pulling and alerts you if there is ever an issue.

Is your pumping system using newer electric technology? The amp draw will tell you the truth!

 

Source 1: https://www.consumerreports.org/ranges/gas-or-electric-range-which-is-better/

Source 2:    https://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/pdf/table5_a.pdf

Why use a Sealed Lead Acid Battery?

At Richtech Industries, the battery is one of the focal components of our battery backup system. It is the power source that cycles your backup pump, preventing your basement from flooding after a power outage, torrential downpour, or a failed primary pump.

The modern battery that we know and depend on was designed back in 1800 by a man named Allessandro Volta (Volt). The original design later had an overhaul in 1859, and became one of the most widely produced batteries – the Lead Acid Battery. This model is the most closely related to the style used in the waterproofing industry. There are two main types of Lead Acid batteries – the Wet Cell battery and the Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery.

The wet cell is the most widely used battery in the industry. This style battery usually contains a liquid combination of water and sulfuric acid. Although the Wet Cell batteries have a longer lifespan than the SLA, they require substantially more maintenance.

The user is required to add both water or acid on regularly scheduled intervals to keep the battery operating at peak capacity. Caustic gas emissions given off when the battery is charging are another problem. The user is required to ventilate the unit to prevent a dangerous buildup of hazardous fumes. If the unit is not properly ventilated, it can cause corrosion on the battery terminals, decreasing the efficiency and longevity of the battery.

The Sealed Lead Acid battery comes in a few variations, however the most prominent is the Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM. The AGM battery is a completely self-contained unit that has all fluids and acid stored in the fiberglass matting of the unit, resulting in no emissions or erosion as seen in the Wet Cell. This also means that the AGM battery is maintenance-free. Being a self contained unit, the user is not required to add acid and or water to the unit, ever.

Another benefit of the SLA batteries is the faster and more efficient charging speed. Some studies have shown SLA batteries charging up to 5 times faster than their Wet Cell counterparts. The better charging rate is due to the construction of the panels and fiberglass matting. This construction also allows SLA batteries to withstand cold weather more efficiently than the Wet Cell.

Call your contractor and ask them to install a Richtech SLA battery in your backup system today!

WHY SOME HOMES HAVE BASEMENTS, AND OTHERS DON’T.

There are many factors that determine if a house has a basement.

It may have to do with the soil the house is built on. Dry soils (like Clay) create problems with expansion and contraction as they absorb water and then dry out. This expansion/contraction puts added pressure on basement walls, causing them to eventually crack and let ground water in.

Some areas have rocky soil and the cost to dig a basement is expensive. In some states like Florida,
Alabama and Louisiana, the soil is too damp to build one (because of swamp lands or wetlands).

In a coastland area, the chances are the soil will be damp too because of a high water table.

Some areas have basements because they provide shelter in case of a tornado. West coast houses aren’t likely to have basements because they are in earthquake areas.

The frostline (the depth in which the groundwater in soil is expected to freeze, which depends on the climate conditions in that area) has a lot to do if there is a basement or not. In northern areas the frostline is deep and builders have to dig deep to go below it for the home foundation. Here it makes sense to put in a basement.

Where the frostline is shallow, builders don’t need to go as deep and a crawl space will do.

The cost of building a basement vs. a crawl space is also a factor. It’s much less expensive for a crawl space.

But many home buyers like the extra space a basement provides. It can be used for storage, as a recreation area or as an added living space. If there is a possibility of ground water getting into the basement, an interior water drainage system with a sump pump can be installed.

Existing basements or crawl spaces with moisture problems can be fixed using a combination of an interior water drainage system like ICC Approved QuikFlo, combined with a water diverter like Polydrain and a sump pump (we recommend a Pitboss or Big Boss Sump Pump, or a PumpSpy Battery Backup System for added peace of mind). An Aprilaire Dehumidifier can also be added to remove excess moisture.

If you have any questions about any of these products and would like more information, please contact us at 800.677.7791.

Want To Save $$$$ On Your Shipping Costs?

If you have been placing multiple small orders in a short period of time that all get shipped out on a skid, we can save you some $$$$.

Many trucking companies charge “pallet pricing” where the rate is based on weight and size (dimensions: length/width/height). Standard pallet size (48″L x 40″W x 48″H) and weight (usually less than 1650 lbs) is priced one way. Larger and heavier pallets are shipped at a higher rate.

We normally ship with a 4′ x 4′ pallet size (larger products like ICC Approved QuikFlo Drain Pipes / Durawall & Safewall / System Platon may need to go on a larger sized 4′ x 8′ skid).

The good news?

The trucking company we use to ship 90%+ of our orders does not charge this way.

They charge per skid.

So as long as the skid fits within the height of the truck, the cost is the same for Skid A. as it is for Skid C. (shown above). Most of our skids ship for within $65. – $100. The larger 4′ x 8′ skids may cost $10. -$15. more.

SO STACK EM’ UP!

Next time you think about placing a small order that ships on a skid, add more products. You’ll save extra $$$ over time on shipping costs that you can put into your own pocket!

Sump Pump Short Cycle…And Why You Shouldn’t Worry About It.

Lots of contractors and homeowners have questions about their sump pumps short cycling. Most of the time, it’s not something you need to worry about. Most sump pumps are sitting in a sump basin, so they collect the same amount of water every time. Once the water rises, the pump turns on and pumps out the water in the basin, then it turns off. So the pump is actually pumping out the same amount of water every time it cycles.

For our purposes, let’s say your sump pump basin holds 5 gallons of water. Now a 3/4 HP Pump will pump out the water at a faster rate than a 1/3 HP or 1/2 HP Pump. And most sump pumps will pump out the water that comes into the basin regularly without any problems.

What you have to plan for are those rain events that happen once or twice a year where a LOT OF WATER comes into the system at a very short period of time. In these events, a 1/3 HP Pump or a 1/2 HP Pump may not be able to keep up with the rising water level. If this happens, the basement will eventually flood.

Now it is true that during one of these rain events a higher HP pump may run a few more cycles than a lower HP Pump. But the smaller HP Pumps may not be able to keep up with the torrential rains that may occur.

So the trade off for the few dozen extra cycles on the switch of your main sump pump isn’t worth the risk of flooding your basement (and most pump switches average 100,000 cycles anyway).

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW

 

 

 

Why Electric Sump Pumps Are Better Than Water Powered Sump Pumps.

Some contractors will recommend installing a water powered sump pump. This type of pump uses your home water supply to power the pump. If the power goes out during a storm, your home water supply will automatically power the pump and keep your basement from flooding. But here’s the catch. What if the water pressure also drops during a prolonged power outage (need a minimum of 20 PSI to operate efficiently)? The pressure may not be strong enough to power the pump.

Then guess what…your basement floods!

Water powered sump pumps are also very expensive to run compared to a battery backup electric pump. A water powered sump pump uses 1 gallon of your city water to pump out either 1 or 2 gallons of water from your sump pump basin. Using the ratio of 1 to 2 at 1,000 Gallons Per Hour (GPH), this system will use 5,000 gallons of water to prevent 10.000 gallons from flooding the basement.

It wastes a lot of water, and if it runs a long time do you really want that water bill?

Also, if you have a well pump this system will not work.

Many cities won’t approve a water powered sump pump because of the wasted drinking water. And also because they don’t like the idea of your home water line being connected to a sump pump discharge line carrying “greywater”, in case there is a backup from the sump pump.

Some water powered sump pumps (like the Zoeller Model 503) are not maintenance-free. Their instruction manual states a filter needing to be installed in the water supply line to remove particles before they reach the pump. And these pumps need to be manually activated once a month to prevent calcium deposits and debris from building up in the unit, or the pump may fail.

Will you remember to do this every month for years to come?

The water powered sump pumps operate quietly which is one nice feature. Except when the ON/OFF switch breaks, because it usually breaks in the ON position, which means the pump will run continuously using your home water supply. CHING!, CHING!

If you are looking to get a new sump pump, or to replace an old one that’s seen better days, we recommend purchasing a new ELECTRIC sump pump (preferably a Richtech pump like the Pitboss or Big Boss).

An electric sump pump is much easier to install than a water powered sump pump (you don’t need to connect it to your home water supply like the water powered sump pump). And more economical to run.

If you install an electric sump pump with a battery backup, your pump can run up to 166 hours depending on how often it cycles (and you can also add additional batteries if needed to make it last even longer).

And the Richtech AGM Batteries we recommend for the backup system are maintenance-free and come with a 3-Year Full Replacement Warranty.

Using these batteries in combination with a Pitboss Battery Backup System or a PumpSpy Battery Backup System will assure your peace of mind knowing your system is working properly.

Contact us at 800.677.7791 for more information on our full line of electric sump pumps.

What Our QuikFlo ICC Certification Means To You

We are currently in the process of having our QuikFlo Water Drainage Pipe certified by the ICC (International Code Council) for use in ground water drainage. The ICC is the nationally recognized Industry Standard for Building Products.

It means QuikFlo has approval for all Retrofit Applications. Now it will be easier to close deals with homeowners, get approvals from city inspectors and boost credibility for your company.

We’ve gotten the engineer’s report and recently had the ICC inspector visit our plant to check on the product and our testing. New procedures are in place to make sure the QuikFlo Pipe that you order is made from the best quality material possible. We are using micrometers and calipers to check the pipe thickness for consistency. So you know you will always be getting an exceptional product designed to move the maximum amount of ground water at the highest speeds possible.

We will also be laser etching our product with the QuikFlo name, Richtech logo, production date and ICC Certification Number.  ICC approval makes an already great product even better.

We’ll Set You Straight On Fixing Bowed And Cracked Basement Walls

Water pressure against the outside walls of your basement is a problem. And this problem only gets worse with the freeze/thaw cycle.  Soil pressure can crack a block or concrete wall both horizontally and vertically. To fix this problem, the foundation must be stabilized. A fractured basement wall is a serious issue which has a negative impact on the value of your home.

Fortress Stabilization Systems developed a Carbon Fiber/Kevlar Grid that will halt any further movement of the basement walls that have minimal deflection (less than 1″…anything over this we recommend you use The Stabilizer Foundation Reinforcement System, mentioned next).

And this system is easily installed by a qualified basement waterproofing contractor. Without any outside excavation. So no damage to your shrubs, walkways and driveways.

Once installed properly, the grid lies flat against the wall and can be painted so it is hardly noticeable. And your basement wall will never bow or crack again.

The Stabilizer Foundation Reinforcement System uses Top Adjustment Brackets, Fixed Bottom Brackets with I-Beams to straighten and reinforce bowed and cracked basement walls. It attaches an the I-Beam to the floor joist above and the floor/footing below, every 5 to 6 ft along the foundation. This is a pre-engineered, permanent solution that restores structural integrity to a foundation wall.

For more information on these systems or to find a qualified installer in your area, give us a call at 800.677.7791