A sump pump is your basement or garage’s first line of defense against flooding. Situated in the lowest area of the room in which they’re installed, they quickly dispose of any gathering water in the room before flooding occurs. Most of us will pay no attention to this vital vanguard of home defense and let it do its work completely unnoticed.
But sometimes it doesn’t. A sump pump is a fairly simple machine with a fairly simple job. Most of the time it will do that job and ask nothing of us. But generally, when we notice that it’s no longer operating is right when we need it to be working the most. When flooding is threatening your basement or garage it’s absolutely essential to get your pump operating again as soon as possible. Here we’ll go over some common reasons yours may fail.
The most common reason that your pump will stop working is a failing float switch. Generally, this will be caused by an obstructed float. The pump is powered on and off by a float which rises with the water level in the sump. When the float reaches the set level the pump is activated. If something causes the float arm to stick and submerge rather than float, then the pump will never turn on causing the water to back up in your drain / drainage area.
Loss of Power
This may seem obvious, but often when a pump is failing to turn on, it’s simply due to a lack of power. Be sure that the circuit that the pump is on hasn’t kicked the breaker. If the pump is plugged in to a ground fault circuit interrupter, check that it doesn’t need to be reset. Always be sure to use extreme caution when dealing with electricity in flood situations. Electricity and water don’t mix!
Obstructed Discharge Pipe
A pump is great for moving water, but it has to move that water somewhere. If there is an obstruction in your discharge pipe such as mud, organic debris, or ice, the pump won’t be able to send the water out of the sump and into your drain area. Be sure to check for anything that might be blocking your discharge pipe if the pump is running but the water is draining slowly or there’s no drainage at all.
A little bit of maintenance goes a very long way. Your pump can’t move any water if it can’t suck any of it up. The intake on your pump will generally be located on the base of the unit. This low location allows for the pump to remove the most water possible from the sump. The disadvantage of being located at the bottom is that debris will also settle to the lowest point it can and sometimes obstructs the intake flow. When this happens you might notice that the pump sounds more high pitched than usual. Be sure to check your pump’s intake for blockage by debris.
Your pump prefers nothing other than to do its job the best it can for you, but if it’s been improperly installed it will never be able to do it. If a check valve hasn’t been installed, water will be able to flow backwards into the pump. This will cause it to work harder than it should and burn out prematurely. If the pump is too big or too small, it’s also prone to premature failure. If the sump contains undersized pieces, they may be drawn into the intake and clog the pump. Be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions when installing your pump. If you are unsure, hire a professional.
A sump pump is one of the most important appliances in the home and should be treated as such. Routine maintenance is almost guaranteed to help you avoid any issues that might arise. Flooding can be very damaging, even causing lingering mold and mildew issues in the home that can jeopardize the health of your family. That being said, if you’re currently experiencing a pump failure, check to see if any of the causes listed here are the culprit. You will most likely find that the root of the problem is listed here and may even be something you can fix in a matter of minutes.
If you’re not able to find a solution, don’t worry, you can call us at 847-374-0372 and we’ll fix it for you!