For all those homeowners with a basement, there’s no denying the importance of a sump pump. Here, out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind. If you want to protect your home from flood damage, you need to ensure your sump pump is functioning properly. It’s vital to make sure that your sump pump is well maintained and free of mechanical problems. To avoid any potential glitches, you need to look into the common reasons that could cause it to fail. These are presented below:
1.Lack of maintenance
A sump pump is designed to expel water through a discharge pipe away from your home’s foundation. One of the most common ways that it can malfunction is due to the lack of maintenance. A sump pump can fail when a switch gets stuck. If it’s shifted inside the basin, the float that operates the switch becomes inefficient by lodging itself against the side of the pump. Or debris could jam the float and render it useless.
Homeowners need to occasionally check that the pump has not shifted or become blocked by debris. A little cleaning and adjustment can do wonders. Make sure to inspect the valve to ensure its functioning correctly. Clean all the vents of your sump pump and the air holes on your discharge line.
2.Age of the pump
As with any household appliance, wear and tear eventually result in the inevitable failure. Even though regular maintenance can prolong the life of your sump pump and keep potential problems at bay, it needs replacement after ten years. This ensures maximum safety and efficiency. Ideally, you need to find a sump pump constructed with heavy-duty materials like cast iron or steel.
3.Wrong size sump pump
In order for the sump pump to work efficiently, it needs to be the right size. Otherwise, it could be easily besieged by the influx of water. If the pump is too small, it’ll continuously run to keep up with the demand, shortening the life of your sump pump. To determine the right size, use information about the most severe flooding as a gauge. Identify which size and the horsepower sump pump are the best.
A 1/3 horsepower sump pump is capable of adequately pumping 35 gallons of water per minute. But if your home is built on a high water table, a 1/2 horsepower sump pump is advisable. It can pump 60 gallons of water per minute.
4.Electrical power outage
Bad weather and power failure is a deadly combination, often resulting in a flooded basement. Excessive water from heavy rains along with a power outage will completely disable your pump’s ability. It will be unable to drain water if it relies solely on your home’s power supply. Installing a battery backup or generator can help your sump pump kick in even if you lose power to ensure your basement does not flood.
5.Frozen or clogged discharge pipe
If the discharge pipe is frozen or clogged with debris, water will flow back down the pipe and fill your basement. You may want to install a special discharge line that allows water to exit even if the main discharge pipe is frozen. And to prevent the pipe from getting clogged, protect the opening of the tube with a grate. The protective cover prevents debris or small animals from entering the discharge pipe.
6.Improper sump pump installation
A defective product can be easily ruled out by testing the sump pump immediately after installation. Make sure it’s in proper working condition. But sometimes, a sump pump isn’t fitted properly. This shortens the life of the pump by forcing the motor to work harder than it is designed to. Thus, wearing it out quicker. If none of the above helps fix the problem, it’s possible that the sump pump is incorrectly installed.
Though this problem is typically rare, it has happened to the best of people- at the worst of times. So it’s advisable to ask around, “Who are the most experienced plumbers near me?”
Several aspects could have been done inaccurately during the initial installation:
Setting the sump pump in dirt or gravel
If the hole dug for a sump pump is packed with dirt or gravel, it can cause the mechanism to fail. This is due to the dirt’s interference with the pump’s on/off switch and float arm.
Check valve on the discharge line is absent
If a check valve isn’t installed in the sump pump’s discharge line, a backflow of water will be created. This can cause the pump impeller to rotate backward, unscrewing the motor shaft. In this situation, it may sound as if the sump pump is working. But in reality, it won’t be pumping water out the discharge line.
The absence of a relief hole
To avoid air pressure to build up within the discharge pipe, a relief hole should be drilled between the pump and check valve. In the absence of a relief hole, the sump pump will have to work harder. This is to overcome the air pressure building up in the discharge line. As the mechanism works overtime, its life span decreases, ultimately leading to sudden failure.
Take preventative action before it’s too late. Hopefully, now you will be pro in identifying the reasons as to why a sump pump typically fails. Because if that does happen, you’ll end up with a flooded basement. And it doesn’t take a lot of water to cause major damage. Even a little amount of standing water can quickly turn into a nasty mold issue. This can put a dent in your wallet and devalue your home. So it’s better to get a professional to have a look at the sump pump instead.