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Why is Basement Pump Servicing Important?

The final result after tanking a basement room is additional living space that is clean, dry, well-insulated, and ventilated. After months of awaiting planning permission, and scheduling in the different trades. It is not unreasonable to expect that you can now relax and enjoy this additional space in your home.

However, like anything to do with property, you need to make sure that checks are in place to keep the internal tanking method serviced and maintained to make sure the integrity of your investment is maintained over the long term.

There are several basement tanking methods, and one of the most popular is the Membrane Sealed Tanking or Water Management System. It is complex, due to the nature of the works involved, but once installed is also the most reliable, particularly if there are unpredictable levels of water in the vicinity.


The process starts with the internal walls, floors, and ceiling being cleared of any loose material. The membrane is then installed using specialist plugs. Perimeter channels are installed around the base of the walls or floor, leading to a sump and pump system, which will carry the water away from the property to a suitable external drainage system.

It cannot be stressed enough that this pump system needs regular servicing. Like anything mechanical, it is prone to normal wear and tear, and regular maintenance will eliminate any risk of the pump failing. A failing pump will not remove water from the perimeter channels and will fill, forcing the water back into the system which will quickly malfunction and risk internal flooding.


Over time, mud, debris, dust, and dirt can gather around the pump system, preventing it from pumping as efficiently as it normally does. If not cleared, the space allowing the flow of water reduces and reduces, eventually blocking. Think of a washing machine whose drainage pipes are constantly filling up with fluff, hairs, animal hairs, and other laundry detritus. An obstacle-free flow of the water is essential to minimising the risk of the pump breaking down.

The pump system is an integral part of the internal tanking method for basement waterproofing, but it works on mains electrics, which makes it vulnerable to external forces. If for any reason there is an outage, this means that the pump is no longer able to perform its function and pump away the water. Having a battery-powered back-up in place is a necessary, but temporary solution. For example, if you are away on holiday and there is a power cut, your pump may well have clicked onto battery operation, which you will not necessarily have noticed. On returning from your holiday, you may not realise that the pump is now running on a waning battery, leaving the pump vulnerable.

Regular inspections and servicing will help keep the pump operating efficiently and will enable you to spot any problems quickly, such as the batteries running down, or water levels increasing unexpectedly.


Every six months to once a year should be enough to keep everything running in tip-top condition. The British Standards Institute recommends that the pump be serviced every six months. This may be dependent on the location of your property. If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, you may want to have it done more frequently during the year, as any flooding will adversely affect the pump mechanics.

The pump manufacturer may recommend that the first service be carried out within the first six months of the pump being fitted. This is due to limescale leeching out of any new concrete works that have been completed in the basement. Limescale can build up quite quickly and affect the performance of the pump, so this needs early detection to eliminate any build-up and mitigate future build-ups.


Implementing a regular service programme will save you thousands of pounds in the long term. If you factor in the basement tanking system costs in the first place, add in the costs of kitting out your new room – decorating, flooring, furniture, and expensive audio/visual equipment you may have installed if you’ve created a private cinema, for example. Or, if you have created a state-of-the-art home office with computer equipment that contains hundreds of thousands of pounds of valuable data, the cost of an annual or bi-annual service programme is, by comparison, pennies.

Do also bear in mind that should your basement flood due to a defective pump, your insurance company may negate any claim you have on the accident if you cannot demonstrate a regular service contract it may render your insurance invalid.


Here at Garratt’s Damp & Timber, we’re dedicated to helping you prevent your home from the threat of damp. Get in touch today to find out more about our services.

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