Prevent Sump Pump Disasters
In areas where basements are at risk of flooding or serious damp problems, sump pump installation can be essential. A sump pump is designed to reduce the chances of flooding, water damage, and problems with mold, mildew, damp, and musty odors caused by excess water getting into basements. Sump pumps are installed in sump pits, which are holes dug into the lowest part of a property. The pumps are only small but are often responsible for moving large volumes of groundwater or rain.
You may have a larger pump installed if your home is at serious risk of flooding, or a smaller one if the risk is lower. The pump may be a pedestal sump pump, where the motor is located above the water level, or a submersible sump pump, which is submerged under water.
Knowing how to identify and prevent problems with your sump pump is crucial. By understanding what can go wrong with the pump, you can ensure that it continues to function properly, and your basement doesn’t experience the problems that the pump is in place to prevent!
Here are eight common sump pump disasters and how to prevent them:
Disaster One: Power Lost to Sump Pump
When a sump pump loses power, flooding can be quick to follow, especially if the power outage occurs during a storm. Thankfully, this potential disaster is quite easy to prevent!
If you have a home backup generator, then the sump pump should continue working normally once the generator kicks in. If you don’t have a home backup generator and don’t want to install one, then you could install a battery backup sump pump or a water-powered backup sump pump.
Battery backup pumps are the most versatile of the two options, but if your home has the right plumbing system, water-powered backup pumps can last much longer, and you won’t need to monitor the battery.
Disaster Two: Electrical Sump Pump Failure
Power surges caused by problems like lightning storms and damage to utility poles, may result in your sump pump experiencing an electrical failure. If this occurs, then having a backup power source isn’t going to be enough to get the pump working again.
To prevent electrical failures caused by power surges, you can contact your local plumber and ask them to install a service entrance surge protection device.
Disaster Three: Sump Pump Runs Continuously
A sump pump running continuously may not sound like a disaster, but there’s a chance that pump will overheat and eventually burn out if there isn’t any water to cool the system down.
This problem is often the result of the float switch on the pump becoming jammed in the ‘on’ position, instead of lowering as the water does and turning the system off. To fix the problem and help to stop it happening again, simply free the switch and replace it if damaged. You can then attach it to the pump, making sure there are no obstructions.
If the float switch isn’t jammed, then the pump may have a defective check valve, the pump could be the incorrect size or in the wrong location, there could be a sewer leak beneath your basement, or your home could be higher than the water table line. If you’re unsure of the exact problem, it’s best to contact a plumber, who’ll be able to inspect the check valve and assess the pump.
Disaster Four: Drain Pipe Clogging
If your sump pump is no longer removing water effectively, then dirt or debris may be blocking the drain pipe. The blockage should be fairly easy to remove using a plumber’s snake and a high-powered hose pipe. Once the drain pipe is clear, you can reduce the chances of clogging by installing a grate.
Disaster Five: Sump Pump Overwhelmed & Requires Replacement
An overwhelmed sump pump is a serious flood risk! To prevent flooding in your basement, you may require a replacement pump that has enough power to keep up with the volume of water coming in. If you’re concerned that your sump pump is overwhelmed, a plumber will be able to design a suitable system for your home that can handle typical water volumes for your area.
Disaster Six: Improper Sump Pump Maintenance
The best way to prevent the many disasters that can arise from a poorly maintained sump pump is to stay on top of pump maintenance or call in an expert to inspect the system every year.
Inspecting the pump for signs of abnormalities, damage, and debris, and testing the system regularly to make sure that everything is working, are simple ways to prevent maintenance problems. Installing a backup pump and a high water alarm will also help to keep you informed of problems.
Disaster Seven: Too Much Water in Sump Pump, Causing Basement Flooding
If your basement is being flooded because there’s too much water in the sump pump, then the chances are, you either live in an area with a high water table or your home is on top of a spring. In these instances, there are two common solutions: call a plumber to install a second pump or raise the existing sump pit.
Disaster Eight: No Water in Sump Pit
The common cause of a lack of water in a sump pit is a fault with the drain tile. The drainage system channels water into the sump pit, so if no water is in the pit, there may be a clog in the system, or it may not have been installed properly. An effective way to fix and prevent this problem is to make sure the system is installed correctly and is in good working order.
Arco Plumbing Solves Sump Pump Problems
If you’re ever in doubt about the health of your sump pump and whether it’s working properly, it’s important to contact Arco Plumbing as soon as possible. Problems with sump pumps can spell disaster for your basement and the rest of your home, so never delay in calling for help if you think that there’s a problem or a way to improve the system!