Failing Sump Pumps

A sump pump liner filled with mud and debrisIf you have a single sump pump installed in your basement or crawl space, your home is one mechanical failure away from a flood. A failing sump pump can happen at any time, and when it does, many homeowners don't realize there is a problem until the basement floods.

Plastic sump pumps especially are well-known for overheating and failures. However, a sump pump is made from mechanical parts, and all mechanical parts- no matter how well they're made- will eventually break down.

You don't have to wait until there's a disaster before you address your sump pump problems. Below are the three most common types of sump pump problems.

1. Overwhelmed Sump Pumps

One sump pump isn't always enough. Especially with cheap plastic sump pumps, heavy volumes of water flood the basement faster than the sump can stop it. However, installing two sump pumps may not be the answer. Read on to find out why.

2. The Sump Pump Won't Stop Running

Homeowners sometimes observe that their crawl space or basement sump pumps seem to run almost all the time. This doesn't necessarily mean that there is a constant water problem. Find out what the sump pump problems may be and what you can do to help with them.

Failed Sump Pump Covered By Floodwater3. Clogged Sump Pumps

Especially if the sump pump is sitting on the bottom of a dirty sump pit, its mechanical parts are liable to clog with dirt and debris. If this interferes with the pump's operation, the system will slow or stop.

Clogged sump pumps should be addressed before the next flooding occurs, so don't wait to have a serviceman stop by- a few hours or less should be all that's needed. Contact your local basement waterproofing contractors right away.

4. Clogged Sump Pump Switches

Sump pumps know that the water level is rising due to the help of a special "float switch". As the water level goes up, the switch floats upwards, naturally turning on the sump pump when it reaches a certain level. If these switches clog, become jammed, or (in the case of cheap sump pump models) become tangled in the rest of the system, the sump pump switch will either stop working entirely or be stuck in the "on" position, meaning that it will run nonstop. Either way, your sump pump isn't doing what you meant for it to

5. Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines

Clogged Sump Pump Discharge LineIf water can't exit your home through the discharge line, your system will not work. It's very important to keep the discharge pipe protected from freezing and free of sticks, dirt, rocks, and other debris.

Part of the problem are open discharge lines that include no grater covering at the end. Protecting the water's exit point of the discharge pipe will keep debris (and animals) out of the system, making it optimal for your system.

Of course, a grated covering will not stop the discharge lines from freezing or becoming blocked by ice and snow. Some contractors respond to this problem with a special grated discharge line attachment. This fitting is placed near your home on the discharge line. It includes openings that give water a way to flow out of the pipe if the line is blocked further down.

6. Power Lost to the Sump Pump

A good first step is to see if your sump pump has lost power. If so, the sump could be working properly, but it has no electricity to work with. Check to see if the circuit needs to be reset before anything else.

Often, a sump pump is simply unplugged- sometimes on purpose but forgotten to be plugged back in, sometimes by accident. Check the line to make sure that there's an unbroken line to the wall, and plug this back in if necessary.

If course, if your sump pump has lost power for any reason – and that includes power outages in the entire home – it's best to have some sort of backup system in place. Be sure to shop around for the best in the market before choosing the best one for you. Click to read more about backup sump pumps, or click to read more about basement waterproofing!