Sump pump problems can ruin a nice, finished basement like this one in no time!
It’s not uncommon for us living in Northeast Ohio to experience torrential rains in January. Today’s high temperature is expected to be in the 60s, and total rainfall for the weekend could exceed two inches or more. Unfortunately, under these conditions, many homeowners will experience sump pump problems.
What causes your sump pump to fail? There are many possible reasons a pump fails, but we’ll look at the most common. As you know, sump pump failure can result in devastating loss of property due to basement flooding, so it pays to take stock of your pump to make sure it’s working properly.
Common Reasons for Sump Pump Problems
1. Age. Sump pumps usually last 7 years or more, but if you live in an area that gets lots of rainfall or that has a high water table (such as in Hudson, Streetsboro, Aurora, etc.), you may be lucky to get seven years out of one. Keep track of how old your pump is, and towards the end of its life, you should invest in a new one. Don’t try to milk every last bit of usefulness out of the pump unless you’re prepared to deal with a flooded basement and all the other headaches that accompany sump pump problems.
2. Burnout from a stuck switch. It’s not uncommon for debris to interfere with the operation of the float that turns on the pump. If the float gets hung up and can’t return to a place of rest, the pump will just keep running until it burns out. If your pump keeps coming on or seems to be running excessively, check to make sure the float can travel free. It should move up and down without any obstruction at all.
3. Power outage. This really isn’t a pump problem, but the results can be just as bad as pump failure. You need power to run the sump pump, and when the power fails during a storm, you’re vulnerable to flooding. If you experience power outages in your area, consider getting a battery backup for the pump or having a generator that can operate it when the power is out.
4. No check valve on the discharge line. A check valve keeps water from flowing back down the discharge pipe when the pump shuts off. In some cases, the volume of water could be great enough to activate the switch again, and you end up with an on-off cycle that fails to clear the sump pit. Worse yet, there have been cases where that backflow of water actually causes the impeller to unscrew, rendering it worthless. For safety sake, replace the check valve if you need to replace the pump.
5. Lack of maintenance. At least twice a year run a vinegar solution through the pump and check its condition. Make sure the float it unobstructed, that the pump is securely set in the sump pit and that the air holes in the discharge line are free of dirt and debris. If debris collects in the sump pit, consider replacing the lid with one that fits better. With a little routine maintenance, you’ll ensure your pump lasts longer.
Replacing a sump pump is not particularly difficult, but if you’ve never done it, you should have one installed by a professional. Improper installation will nullify your warranty, so you want to get it right. All of the trucks at The Plumbing Source carry several sump pumps, and we can dispatch a plumber to your home quickly no matter where you live. Our trucks are equipped with GPS, so it’s possible one of our trucks is just around the corner.
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When you call The Plumbing Source, you made the RIGHT call!
When you need plumbing repairs fast, call 216-365-0600 or call our 24-hour emergency service line at 877-768-7239.