Singing the sump pump blues

If I learned nothing else from my friends who fought the Red River in Moorhead, it’s this: during flooding, the enemy is inside your home.

Judging by the crowd in two separate hardware stores’ sump-pump sections this afternoon, I wasn’t alone in fighting the beast: the burned-out sump pump.

I was minutes away from packing up and heading into the cubicle farm today when I heard it: the unmistakable sound of a sump pump going toes up. It was a good partner for the last few years, operating without complaint although I had a feeling overnight when it switched on regularly that it was pleading, “how much longer do you expect me to keep doing this?”

In the land of finished basements, you don’t have a lot of time to act when the sump pump goes. Once the water hits the top of the sump basin, you’ve only got a few minutes before the water table and the basement get acquainted and you learn your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.

For an hour, I bailed, using the dog’s water dish, until I made enough headway to race to the store to buy a replacement (lesson: Always have a spare sump pump on hand), and plumb it in. The joints are leaky — you can’t solder wet, cold pipes very well — but should hold until spring begins to behave more rationally.

Two inches of rain fell yesterday and it feels like almost as much fell today. That’ll put a smile on the owner of the hardware store.

This doesn’t happen when it’s -25.

Related: My sump pump’s on the fritz, but I don’t need to tell you (Albany Times Union).