Is your sump pump having trouble removing water from the basement as you expected? Or is the water too much for the pump to drain? Sump pump failures are quite often, especially if you are using the pump for the first time. Here, you will get insights about sump pump failures and how to avoid them.
Sump pumps are good at draining floodwaters from the basement if they are in good working condition. Purchasing a quality pump and regular maintenance will prevent the pump from failing. Knowing the reasons for sump pump failure and how to avoid them prolongs your pump’s life, saves money and property, and keeps your home dry.
Why Would a Sump Pump Fail?
Before you ask why your sump pump fails, let us talk about how it works so that you know when it fails. A sump pit fits into a hole in the lowest part of your basement.
The pump then filters water out into a pit through long pipes. These pipes direct water out to a municipal dry well. A check valve keeps water from flowing back into your home. This makes your home stay dry throughout the year.
Several parts of the sump pump work together to accomplish this. A fault in any of the parts makes the alarm go off, and this is usually the first indicator that the sump pump has failed.
So what causes sump pump failures? And how can you avoid them? The alarm can go off for several reasons, some of which may be a little obvious, while others will need technical expertise.
Sump Pump Failures and How to Avoid Them
Several things cause sump pump failure. Knowing these causes is essential so that you can find the right solutions. The following are some common problems and how to troubleshoot them.
A sump pump entirely depends on electricity as a source of power. Power outage sometimes happens simultaneously with stormy weather. This is the main reason for the sump pump failure.
What to do. The only way to avoid this problem is to buy a battery and install it as a backup. The battery will store electrical energy to automatically power the pump and last for up to 12 hours.
Also, invest in a backup generator that you can activate manually when the power goes off. Sometimes the pump may not fail due to power outage but power surge. High electrical voltage can damage a part or two of the pump.
To avoid system damage by power surges, use a surge protection device at the device’s point of power entrance.
Sump pumps may end up failing if not installed properly. Poor installation can be not installing a check valve resulting in a backflow of water. Improper installation is also putting the pump on a wrong surface, perhaps where there is gravel or dust.
Therefore, failing to drill an air relief hole meant to prevent the sump pump’s need to overcome air pressure in the pipe is also a poor installation.
What to do. Sump pump manufacturers usually include an instruction manual in the pump packaging. So, you should carefully follow each of these instructions to install your sump pump properly.
If the pump still fails, call in a professional to check the entire pump and make suggestions for rectifying it. Most manufacturers will have the pump replaced in the case of a faulty product.
Mechanical issues can cause the sump pump to fail; it is a machine after all and prone to such. Floats and switches play an important role in a sump pump: when one or all of these are faulty, the whole system fails.
When the pump shifts inside the pit or debris accumulate the switch damages. This, in turn, makes the float arm stop functioning.
What to do. Switch and float rare, but possible failures can be avoided by occasionally inspecting the sump pump. Routine cleaning and adjusting also reduce the risk of switch and float arm failure.
Clogged or frozen discharge lines
This is another common problem with sump pumps. Discharge lines can freeze or even block by accumulated particles, debris, rocks, and even tiny animals. As a result, blocked or clogged discharge lines make the pump fail by draining water back into the basement. Maintain the optimal functioning of the pump by keeping away these things.
What to do. Avoid this problem by cleaning the pump to remove any debris that clogs the pipes. After every two or three months, run a vinegar solution through the system to make it free from any debris and tiny particles.
A grated discharge line attachment specially meant to keep away debris should be helpful. Place this on the discharge line near your home. This will allow the water to flow out of the system in case of the line blocks further.
Is it the right sump pump size for your home?
You should also consider the size of your sump pump. The smaller the sump pump basin size, the harder the task. The larger the sump pump, the shorter the period you will use. A small pump is as effective as a big one, but the right size is the most effective.
What to do. Bring on board a professional to help you decide the perfect sump pump size to suit your home’s needs.
How old is your sump pump?
The average lifespan of a good quality sump pump is ten years. Is yours older than that? If yes, that is probably why it is failing. The pump and its associated parts have been overworked, all cleaning, adjusting, repairing, and replacing parts will probably not do you any good.
What to do. This is simple! Buy another sump pump, preferably a newer model.
It is not entirely possible to prevent the pump from failing despite your best efforts. One you know sump pump failures and how to avoid them, your pump will work well. Routinely and adequately maintaining the pump prevents all the problems.
Test the pump regularly to make sure it is in proper working condition. Repair any damaged parts and where the need is to replace the worn and torn. You can also buy another sump pump, maybe all you need is two, or even three devices.