MASON CITY, Iowa - It's something you may not think about during the winter months - sump pumps.
While they are a benefit during flood season, they can pose a potential smoking and fire hazard if not maintained properly, including during the cold.
Garry Holland lives in a neighborhood that largely requires sump pumps in basements. Recently, he heard a sound that he initially thought to be his water softener, and the sound stayed on longer than it should have. Instead, it was his sump pump trying to push water out of the sump pump pit.
If not careful, a stuck float or frozen discharge pipe can cause a pump to run constantly without shutting off, and become overheated and pose a potential fire risk.
Holland says it's not an issue to be overlooked, even during the colder months.
"If that sump pump keeps going, it's going to overheat and melt the wire and cause a fire."
In addition, a sump pump can freeze, which can prevent water flow out of the discharge pipe and also cause problems. Holland adds that regular maintenance and also covering the pipe with items like leaves or even packed snow can prevent the worse from happening.
"Always make sure to check it now and then to make sure that water is going through. Because if you pick it up and it's full, that's all full of water that's not running through the end of the hose."
If you're wondering what to hear for, Holland says to listen for a vibrating, whirring sounds, similar to a dryer or furnace.