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Backup of Sewer and Drain

by Amy Molnar - Apr 19, 2023 2:31:37 PM

You don’t have to live anywhere near a body of water to experience a flooded basement. A heavy rainstorm and a sump pump that stops working at the wrong time can result in flooding your home. Sump pump failure is a common problem for homeowners, but most people don’t realize it until it’s too late. Fortunately, most of the problems leading to sump pump failure can be prevented or repaired as part of preventative maintenance. This list of common reasons for sump pump failure and ways to correct them will ensure a homeowner’s pump will be there when they need it.

  • An Overworked Pump – Try to remember when the sump pump was purchased. If a homeowner cannot remember or it came with the home, it is probably time to replace. If it was purchased recently and it still struggles to keep up, it might not be strong enough and they may need to buy an additional one, or a more powerful model.
  • The Pump Works, But There’s No Water - If a homeowner hears the motor working, but there’s no water in the sump pump, it either wasn’t installed correctly or it’s not hooked up to the drainage system. It’s important to have the drain tile installed outside, within the sump pit, or along the basement’s lining. If the drainage system is damaged, have a licensed plumber come in to inspect and repair it before the walls crack and become damaged.
  • A Clogged Pump - There are several things that can cause a sump pump to become clogged:
    • Dirt and other kinds of debris can clog the pit.
    • The pump’s parts can become dirty and the motor itself clogs when the pit accumulates with silt.
    • The power switch can jam if the water level rises.
    • Cheaper models can jam as they turn on or off as water levels fluctuate in the pit.

Have a plumber inspect the pump to see if it should be repaired or replaced. Be sure the pit is properly covered at all times to prevent debris from entering.

  • Clogged Discharge Lines - Sump pumps move water from basements through the discharge lines so water can drain away from the home. If the lines are twisted, frozen, or clogged with debris, the water has nowhere to go except back into a homeowner’s basement, or worse, through weak points in the line somewhere along the way. Be sure these lines are kept straight and free of leaves, grass, and other debris. Move the lines before mowing the grass and inspect them regularly for holes and cracks. Add insulation around the pipes before temperatures drop to keep them from freezing.
  • The Pump Loses Power - If the home loses power, the sump pump isn’t going to work no matter how much water is in the basement. A tripped circuit breaker is an easy fix, but a power outage from a storm can last for hours or days. If a homeowner’s basement regularly experiences flooding, consider installing a generator or at least a battery backup for the sump pump to keep the water flowing out until the power comes back on.
  • The Pump Runs Nonstop - If the pump runs even when there’s no water in the pit, a homeowner should act quickly before the motor burns out. This can be caused by several factors:
    • The float switches in inexpensive models can become stuck or tangled.
    • The check valve may be missing or broken. This allows the water to flow only one way, out of the pit and away from the basement. If the valve is broken or missing, water can flow back into the pit, only to get pumped back out again, over and over.
    • The pump or pit may be too small. If the pump is too small to handle the water coming in, it will run continuously to try to keep up. If the pit is too small, the water will fill it too quickly and the pump will run nonstop.

If the sump pump won’t stop running, have it checked by a licensed plumber.

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Topics:Property MaintenancerepairserviceplumbingplumberPlumber ExpertProfessional Plumberservice providerHomeowner Tips

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