As rainfall picks up during spring and summer months, the last thing you need is a defective basement sump pump. Some homeowners in Fargo, ND, have been unfortunate enough to experience flooding.
And it’s not because they didn’t have sump pumps. It’s because their devices were either defective or poorly maintained.
Torrential rains can fall unexpectedly. So, it’s good to have a functional sump pump on guard 24/7 to protect your home from floodwater. Your sump pump needs some TLC to continue working. Talk to your local basement contractor if you’re struggling to keep up with the maintenance schedule.
What Can Cause Sump Pump Failure?
Let’s look at things that can knock out your sump pump.
1) Power failure
Easily the #1 cause of electrical power outages is a storm that knocks out power for any length of time. You can prevent this by buying a backup generator, as well as a battery backup for your sump pump system. Some components may be vulnerable to power surges. A surge protection device will come in handy in safeguarding the pump’s electrical system.
2) Wrong sizing
An improperly sized pump is another common problem. During heavy flooding, it will be forced to work harder to move the water out. And this can reduce its lifespan. Plus, it won’t have the capacity to eject adequate amounts of water, which renders it ineffective.
3) Poor installation
For the sump pump to function properly, the installer must follow the manufacturer’s guide carefully. Most guides recommend a check valve be installed on the discharge line. Failure to do so means water can flow back and cause the impeller to rotate backward and unscrew the motor shaft. The motor will continue running but won’t go out.
4) Clogged or Frozen Discharge Pipe
Dirt, debris, and ice can clog the discharge line and obstruct water flow. Instead of going out, water will flow back down the pipe to your basement. To prevent clogging, install a protective cover or grate to prevent debris from entering the discharge line. Controlling freezing is a bit tricky, and the most viable method of dealing with the problem is installing a specialty discharge line attachment like the FreezeGuard™ that will allow water to continue to drain without backing up into your basement.
5) Defective product
It’s not unusual to buy a defective pump. In this case, the manufacturer is to blame. Make sure the sump pump is tested before and during the installation.
6) Old Age
Years of use can foster wear and tear that ultimately results in the eventual breakdown and failure of your sump pump. However, proper care and maintenance can prolong its lifespan. If your device is 10 years or older, consider replacing it.
Signs of Sump Pump Failure
Here are six signs your sump pump has a problem:
1) Pump fails to operate
2) Pump operates but doesn’t eject water or ejects low amounts
3) Pump operates for a short time, then turns off
4) Pump runs continuously
5) Pump cycles frequently
6) Pump operates noisily (with grinding or hammering sounds)
Performing a Visual inspection
If your pump has a ground fault circuit interrupter somewhere on the outlet or near the electric panel, make sure it’s functioning. Press the test button in your device to confirm the ground-fault protection is ok.
Next, remove the sump pump cover. Different types of sump pumps require different removal methods. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Once you do that, check the sump pit for debris and silt as they might obstruct the float or block the impeller and the discharge tube.
Be sure to also look for sediments entering the pump from the footing drain. If you spot a layer of sand around the sides or bottom of the pump, that’s a sign that sediments are entering your pump. If the sediment buildup is serious, call your local contractor to clean it up.
Visually inspect exposed metal parts for signs of corrosion, holes and leaks, including the alarm mechanisms. Also, check the weep hole (3/16 to 3/8 inch) on the discharge pipe to see if it’s clear or not. Make sure the pump stands in a way that the float can turn on and off freely, and it’s not obstructed by piping or other objects.
It’s best for a waterproofing professional to check over the sump pump and make any repairs. Here are some things you and your technician can do to make sure your sump pump stays in working order:
- Check the pump cord cap for corrosion and tightness.
- Clean the volute and impeller to remove the blockage.
- Lubricate the lower bearing of the column gap.
- Readjust the floats or weights.
- Install a discharge line with a larger diameter.
- Run vinegar solution through the pump to clean tiny particles. Apply silicone water repellent spray to deter rust.
- Clean air holes and vents to promote sump pump efficiency.
- Make sure the float switch isn’t restricted in any way.
- Ensure the drain line is secured every three feet.
- Tighten loose fittings, then hoist the pump in a straight and vertical position.
- Drill a tiny air relief hole in the drainpipe just between the check valve and the pump.
- Ensure the discharge pipe is wide enough to move out water.
- Don’t set the sump pump on gravel and dirt as debris may enter it and interfere with the switch.
Don’t let an old, defective or improperly sized sump pump put your basement at risk. Get in touch with Innovative Basement Authority – the basement waterproofing professionals in Fargo, ND – for a free sump pump inspection and quotes. We perform thorough inspections and timely repairs.