photos © Jonna Reilly Photography

Keep Your Home Dry in Chicago’s Wild, Wet Weather

Keep Your Home Dry in Chicago’s Wild, Wet Weather

The heavy storms in Chicago lately have seemed more tropical than Midwestern. It can be sunny one minute and a downpour drenches you the next minute.

When the storms hit, some homeowners run for their basements to make sure everything is dry. But you have several choices to help keep the water outside your home.

You could install a sump pump with drain tile around the perimeter of the house. The drain tile is a tube that runs along your home’s foundation and directs water to your sump pump. This feature is standard in new construction houses.

Purchasing a battery as backup for your sump pump in case of a power failure could be a wise expense. A quality battery backup system will cost you a few thousand dollars including installation. You never know when a storm will cause a power outage. Or the circuit breaker that controls the sump pump could trip, causing the sump pump to fail. Because it’s not a power outage, you won’t realize the sump pump isn’t working until it’s too late and you see water pooling around the perimeter of your basement floor. New battery backup systems only require maintenance every five years. Older models require yearly maintenance.

But the battery backups could also fail. So in addition to a backup, some homeowners are opting for a smart home feature to save the day. Your security system can monitor your sump pump.  Then the company can text you if your sump pump overfills, along with sounding an alarm. This increases your monthly security bill but may be worth your peace of mind.

You could also install a gas-powered generator. This could run anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the size of the generator. In the event of an electrical power failure and a battery backup failure, a small gas generator can run your sump pump, furnace, refrigerator and a few lights. A larger gas generator can run every circuit in the house. Keep in mind gas generators, like any other appliance, require periodic maintenance.

If you’re building a new construction home, make sure your builder waterproofs the home’s foundation. The builder should seal the brick against water penetration. Also you should order custom polycarbonate covers to fit over any window wells, if you have them.  

And when the next rainstorm hits, just be thankful it’s not snow. Tropical rains are much more bearable than another polar vortex.

If you’re set on buying a Chicago home or condo despite our city’s wacky weather, or if you’re ready to sell, contact Jim Miller and JM Partners at  773.617.6638 or