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5 Most Common Sump Pump Problems and Their Solutions

Sump Pump Problems

Do you know what to look for if your sump pump breaks?

For a lot of homes, our sump pumps are a vital part of keeping our homes safe and good to live in. But even the most well maintained sump pump can have issues. And if you don’t know what to look for, it can be a high-stress situation.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for these common sump pump problems and their solutions.

You’re All Clogged Up

If your Sump Pump is lidless, over time it can build up with dirt and start to clog. This can lower its efficiency, or stop it from working completely.

  • The sump pit fills up with debris
  • The mechanical parts become clogged with dirt over time
  • Your float switch that turns the pump off and on can jam or freeze up with dirt
  • Your switches can tangle or jam and get tangled with the system. Or it will be stuck on, meaning the sump runs all the time!

You should have your sump checked on a regular basis to make sure it’s cleaned out. But if you notice any of these, get someone in to take a look. They can tell you if it’s repairable or you need to replace it.

Make sure you cover your pump with a lid. This stops debris and dirt getting in and it should be safer. It also stops water evaporating back out into the basement.

Your Sump Pump Smells

Sump pumps have a drain trap which holds water. This is to stop gas and sewage backing up and entering your home. If this water in the trap evaporates, that is what releases the unpleasant smells. It’s typical in hot, dry weather.

To prevent it, make sure you always have water in the trap. So long as the water level covers drain lines and pipes, you shouldn’t get those bad smells leaking out.

You can add a bleach solution as well to disinfect your drain. This is about 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Pour this in high enough to make the float switch engage. You can also give the sides of the trap basin a scrub to dislodge and drain out any built-up grime.

Your Sump Pump Installation Was Poor

Installing a sump pump is an art form of it’s own. You have to do it right. The manufacturer’s instructions are key, and you must follow them to the letter. Otherwise, you’re risking severe water damage later down the line.

Most manufactures recommend or say you must install a check valve on the discharge line. If not, there can be a back-flow of water that causes the pump impeller to spin backwards. This can cause the motor shaft to unscrew off. It this happens, you’ll here the motor running but you won’t see the water pumping.

Most manufacturers also insist on drilling a small relief hole for air in the discharge line. This is usually between the check valve and the pump.

It’s purpose is to stop the pump needing to overcome too much air pressure in the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe must meet the manufacturer’s set required diameter too.

Last of all, you shouldn’t set the pit in gravel or dirt. This encourages debris to enter the pump and clog it up. The results, as seen above, reduce the pump’s functions or stop them completely.

It’s a big job, and not a DIY job for anyone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Make sure you get someone to check your sump pump’s installation was correct. If not, you might need it reinstalled by an expert to correct this.

You Keep Getting a Power Outage

Your sump pump will run off electricity. Power outages can have an impact on them. Unfortunately, storms, losing power and floods often go hand in hand. On top of this, if your breaker trips, it’s not going to kick in.

It’s a wise investment to back a battery back up generator for this situation. You can get a gel pack system that will power your generator for days if your electrics are down.

It’s great if you plan to get out of town to avoid the worst of a storm. You don’t want to return to a huge flood situation and a pump that never worked.

Your Sump Pump is Running Non-Stop

When your pump runs non-stop or too much, especially out of season/weather conditions, it’s an issue. And it’s an issue you need to look into straight away. Otherwise, your pump can burn itself out.

There are a few reasons this could be. The most common of these are stuck switches. This is an issue especially common in cheaper models. The float switch tangles up or gets clogged in the system. Sometimes, vibrations from the pump can make it lean on the edge of the pit, which stops it from functioning.

Another potential issue is a broken or missing check valve. Where the sump pump gets installed below grade, the discharge line will start off pointed up at an angle. It’s channelling water up and away before it gets to the exit point. Then, when it pitches down, gravity takes it out of your home.

The check valve stops any of the water coming back to the pit as it travels through the upwards path of the line. A missing or broken valve can see 1/3 – 2/3 of that water coming right back down into the pit. This means your pump has to work harder to get the same water back out again.

Sump Pump Problems Made Easy

So there you have it! Now you know these common sump pump problems, you know what to look out for.

Regular maintenance checks from a professional can help keep these issues at bay. Or it’ll help you spot the serious ones early enough that they might not be so serious (or costly) in the end. It’s important to look after your sump pump so you’re not left high and dry when you need it the most.

If you are in need of stump pump maintenance, contact us today at Sedona Waterproofing Solutions. Whether you need mold remediation, waterproofing or crawl space care we have the expertise to keep your space as dry as a desert.