What to do if your sump pump fails

There’s a reason when people hear the word sump pump — it is usually followed by either confusion and/or panic. It likely means that’s something wrong. But you’re not alone. Thousands of people have sump pump issues each year.

Why sump pumps often fail: 

  1. Power Failure
    Often times, when there is an excess of bad weather, some unlucky homeowners get stuck with a flooded basement. The reason is many times the extreme weather will cause an electrical power outage — this can completely incapacitate the sump pump’s ability to drain the excess water. Luckily installing a backup generator for the sump pump will prevent this from happening as a result of extreme weather events and ensuing headaches that can follow. Essentially a backup generator is a lifesaver — or maybe simply a money saver.
  1. A Stuck Switch
    Among the most frustrating of sump pump fails: a stuck switch. When the pump deviates and moves into the basin, it forces the float that conducts the switch incompetent. Your sump pump relies on both the switch and the float arm mechanisms to operate effectively. These issues can be overcome with some cleaning and sump pump repositioning. Call a plumber if this hasn’t worked.
  1. Overwhelmed Pump
    If your sump pump is the wrong size, it can become overwhelmed. And this can cause it to break earlier than expected and cause poor performance. To be exact: you need a 1/3 horsepower sump pump capable of pumping 35 gallons of water per minute to adequately tackle potential flooding. If your home rests on a high water table, it is advised that you purchase a 1/2 horsepower sump pump that can pump 60 gallons of water per minute.
  1. Frozen or Clogged Discharge Pipe
    If your sump pump’s discharge pipe is frozen or clogged with debris, water will flow back down the pipe and all over your basement. Install a specialty discharge line. This will free the water to exit the basement area despite a frozen discharge pipe.To prevent your discharge pipe from clogging, make sure the opening of your pipe is protected with a grate. Installing a protective cover will prevent debris and small animals from entering your discharge pipe and causing a clog.
  1. Lack of Maintenance
    Recommended maintenance scheduling is advised for two to three months (on average). It’s  recommended that a yearly program of maintenance is implemented especially before rainy season hits — depending on geography, definition varies.
  1. Did Not Install a Check Valve on the Discharge Line
    One sign of this is the sump pump will be emitting sounds as if its running — but in actuality it isn’t pumping out of the discharge line. The reason is the check valve was not installed onto your sump pump’s discharge line — causing water to eventually unhinge the motor shaft.
  1. No Air Relief Hole in Discharge Line
    Without any air relief hole — pressure will build up (over time) within the discharge line forcing to exhort higher energy level to overcome inorganic pressures. This can shorten the lifespan of the sump pump!
  1. Setting Your Sump Pump in Gravel or Dirt
    Setting up your sump pump in gravel or dirt will only hamper with the sump pump on & off switch and float arm — also risking a shorter life span.
  1. The Sump Pump is the Wrong Size
    If the sump pump is too small, it may not be able to adequately pump out the water – again resulting in a shorter lifespan.
  1. Old Age
    It’s recommended to replace your sump pump after 10 years to ensure maximum safety and efficiency. This is important because after that point — chances are sump pump life span is not your side.
  1. Improper Installation
    If all other options fail even though it is quite rare — it’s recommended to check if the sump pump was improperly installed.
  1. Product Defect
    Another least likely scenario — the sump pump in your possession is inherently defective and needs immediate replacement.

The Anatomy of a Sump Pump

Anatomy of a Sump Pump

Sources:
http://renewservices.com/7-causes-of-sump-pump-failure-what-to-do/
http://www.citywideplumbing.com/resources/common-plumbing-emergencies/
http://www.woodard247.com/about-us/blog/what-to-do-if-your-sump-pump-stops-working.html
http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a3896/4305543/
http://www.basement-repair.com/equipment/equipment-failing-sumppumps.html