Failing to take care of your home's foundation is a disaster waiting to happen. The…
Common Sump Pump Problems
How Does a Sump Pump Work?In the lowest part of your basement or crawl space, a shallow pit is dug and the bottom is lined with a thin layer of gravel. The sump pump rests in the pit and as water is directed to the pit by way of drains around the basement or simply gravity, the pit fills up. The pump turns on at a certain point, and transfers the water out through pipes directed away from your house where it can safely drain. The sump pump will be triggered to turn on either through a float activator arm, like what's in your toilet tank, or a pressure sensor. When enough water is in the pit, the sump pump turns on, and a fan-like motor, called an impeller switches on, building centrifugal force and forcing water away from the center of the pipe. Water from around the pit rushes in to fill the void, and the impeller pushes it out through the pipe. The pipe will have a check-valve at the pump end to make sure it's a one-way pipe and water doesn't flow back in.
Sump Pump ProblemsNow that we know how sump pumps work, let's take a closer look at common problems that affect them.
Pump Is too SmallIf your sump pump is running and moving water, but your basement is still flooding, it may not be large enough for your home. If average storms still leave you with water in your basement, it may be time to upgrade to a larger pump or even a secondary one. Solution: Reach out to a qualified basement or crawl space waterproofing company to see if a larger option will suffice or if a secondary pump should be installed.
Clogged PumpIf your sump pit doesn't have a lid on it, there's a high likelihood that it will get clogged up with dirt and debris over time, causing it to drain and pump slowly or stop working completely. There are three ways your pump can get clogged:
- The sump pit itself is full of dirt and debris;
- The pump mechanisms are dirty and filled with silt;
- The float switch jams.
Discharge Lines are BlockedYour sump pump collects the water and forces out, away from your home, via a discharge line. If the temperatures drop, water can freeze in the line, blocking flow. During warmer weather, grass, leaves, and other debris may get stuck in the exterior end of the pipe, clogging the output of water. Solution: A specially made, vented cover for the ends of your sump pump outflow line will stop debris from falling into the pipe and also allow water to flow outward even if the pipe freezes in cold winter.
Your Basement Floods When Your Lose Power in a StormIf a storm knocks out power, your sump pump stops working, leading to flooding in the basement or in your crawl space. Solution: Update a your sump pump to one that includes a back-up battery, especially if you lose power more often in storms.
Pump Running ContinuouslyYour sump pump running non-stop needs to be addressed quickly or else the motor in the pump can burn out. Common causes include:
- A switch that has gotten clogged and stuck.
- The sump pump is too small and runs to try and keep up OR it's too large for your home and fills up too quickly - similar to how an air conditioner short cycles.
- The check valve malfunctioned and water is backflowing into the pit.