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MINNEAPOLIS -- This year's harsh winter might be creating big problems for homeowners who have sump pumps.

"With our prolonged winter this year, the termination pipe of your sump pump generally is frozen. Unless it thaws before your sump pump turns on, it is going to push water against a wall ... and then your sump pump is going to fail prematurely," said Andy Ryan with Minneapolis St. Paul Plumbing and Heating.

"Then, when you need it you are going to be with water in your basement, most likely.

At Menards in Golden Valley, the shelves are stacked with various sump pump brands, and assistant general manager Terry Mann says they won't stay long.

"This aisle usually gets pretty busy during the spring time and the spring thaw," Mann said. "People usually get quite a bit of that water drainage into their basements."

The overflow happens when the sump pump fails to remove water during heavy rain or flooding.

Ryan says there are several options to help solve future problems. One is to use a battery operated sump pump in case there is a power outage. The other uses a dual system.

"We will actually allow the customer to have two different pipes exiting the building," Ryan said. "So, if one (pipe) were to freeze the other pipe is available. Because we know Minnesota cold weather does affect that."

Homeowners wanting to be extra cautious can have technology installed that sends alerts to a homeowner's cell phone when the sump pump stops working. That's about an additional $700 upgrade.

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