Spring is Your Sump Pump’s Busy Season
They say April showers bring May flowers, but it’s not as commonly said that these same showers wreak havoc on basements.
Most Metro Detroiters’ morning commutes have been affected by street flooding in the last few years, but fewer have experienced the devastating basement flooding that the Ferndale area saw in the summer of 2014.
Just because your basement stayed dry in the past doesn’t mean that it will in the future. Prepare for the worst by maintaining that sump pump over in the corner and keeping an eye (and ear) out for these common signs that you need to replace your pump.
Six Common Sump Pump Problems
1. Old Age
Unfortunately, sump pumps don’t last forever. With an average life expectancy of about 10 years, your pump could just be acting up because it’s time for a replacement.
There are several things that affect how long pumps last, including:
- Frequency of use.
- Length the pump has to carry water to discharge.
- The electrical source.
- The quality.
What to do: If you suspect that your sump pump may be nearing the end of its lifespan, contact a WaterWork plumber to come out and inspect it. Our professionals have extensive experience maintaining, repairing and installing pumps.
2. No Water in Sump Pit
If your sump pump appears to be running, but there is no water in the pit, it is likely that it is not installed correctly or is not hooked up properly to the drainage system.
Basement drainage systems should be built to work hand-in-hand with your pump, diverting the water to the sump pit.
What to do: Your drainage system could be clogged or, perhaps, it is nonexistent. No matter the situation, should your pit be water-free, disconnect the pump and contact a plumber to schedule an inspection.
3. Clogged Pump And Switches
Does your sump pump have a lid? If not, it is highly likely that your pit is getting dirt and other contaminants in it, which can lead to clogs that will cause it to slow down or stop eventually.
Clogs are caused in several ways, including:
- Dirt and debris in the sump pit.
- Dirty mechanical parts.
- A jammed float switch.
- Jammed or tangled switches (more common in cheaper models).
What to do: Purchase an airtight lid to prevent further debris from getting into the pit and consider having your sump pump inspected to see if it’s time to repair or replace it.
4. Noisy Sump Pump
One of the most common problems that our customers face with their sump pumps is excess noise. While pumps do make sounds when working, you should keep an ear out for irregularities like thuds, rattling, grinding and gurgling.
Should you hear any irregular noises, it likely means there is a problem with the motor. The good news is that when caught motors can be repaired or replaced without having to install a whole new system.
What to do: Should you hear strange or louder-than-normal noises coming from your pump, make sure to disconnect power. Take a look into the pit to see if you can see any reason for the change.
If you are familiar enough, consider tinkering with the discharge pipe, checking valves or insulating the pit somehow. If you are uncomfortable, simply disconnect the pump and call a plumber immediately.
5. Sump Pump Running Too Much
If your sump pump is continuously running or running too much despite the weather outside, this is a sign of a significant problem that you should address as soon as possible. The longer this issue persists, the more overworked your pump becomes and the sooner you’ll have to replace it.
The top four causes of sump pump overdrive are:
1. Stuck pump switches.
Check to see if the float switch has become clogged or tangled.
2. Wrong-sized sump pump.
Your pump may be too small for the pit, having to run continuously to keep up, or it may be too powerful for the pit, causing it to fill up too fast and the pump to work too hard.
3. Missing or broken check valve.
A sump pump’s check valve ensures that water is flowing outside of the home and not back down into the pit. If it is broken or missing, water will be flowing back toward the pit, instead of outside your home, and this will trigger the pump to run.
4. Continual flooding.
If there is a continuous, heavy flow into your sump pit, it could be because of a high water table or underground spring.
In the case of a high water table, raising the sump pump can help solve the problem. Installing another pump in a different basement corner or upgrading the system can also help.
Because each house is setup differently, it’s best to have a professional assess the situation and come up with a plan of attack.
What to do: Sump pumps that are working overtime under normal conditions may fail when bad weather strikes. It’s a good idea to get a plumber to inspect it immediately.
6. Sump Pump Has Lost Power
There are several reasons that sump pumps lose power. In fact, the same storms that cause basement flooding can often knock out your power, compounding the problem.
Other causes include:
- The sump pump was unplugged and never plugged back in.
- There is a blown fuse on the circuit.
- A battery backup has run out of power.
What to do: Consider installing a secondary pump on a different circuit or a long-lasting battery backup system.
WaterWork Plumbers can Handle all of Your Sump Pump Issues
Our professional emergency plumbers have had extensive experience repairing and installing sump pumps in numerous homes.
We saw it all after the floods in 2014 so we understand exactly what can go wrong with basement plumbing and what the warning signs are.
We also know that it’s critical to respond immediately to emergency plumbing calls. That’s why we’re on call 24/7 to address emergency repairs, as well as to handle speedy replacements and/or installations.
If your sump pump is exhibiting any of the signs above, give us a call at 248-542-8022 to schedule an appointment today.