What Are the Causes of Sump Pump Failures?
Sump pumps are handy devices that can help keep your basement dry during even the wettest seasons. These machines are designed in such a way that no water will ever enter your basement again. However, even the best machines are not infallible.
What can you do when your sump pump does not seem to be working? What can cause an otherwise well-maintained sump pump to fail?
Sump Pump Problem Signs
A reliable sump pump can avert any water damage away from your home with ease. Unfortunately, homeowners may not always be able to detect that their sump pump has an issue until it is too late. What are some problem signs of pump failure you need to look for?
- Flooded Basement
This is perhaps the most obvious sign that something is wrong with your sump pump. The sump pump is built to prevent this from happening in the first place. If the sump pump cannot move enough water out of your basement in time, it is likely to flood the place.
A flooded basement can cause significant damage to any belongings you store down there. It can even damage the foundation it rests over if you continue to let the water stand for too long. The foundation might start to shift out of alignment or fracture and create even more issues.
Cities like Virginia Beach that have to deal with wet weather much of the year will be especially at risk for flooding. The City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works estimates that the percentage of yearly rainfall will continue to increase in the future. Their best solution to this problem is for homeowners to implement some sort of engineered protection to keep their homes dry.
- Water Damage
The sump pump is meant to filter all water away from your basement, not just some. If you notice small puddles of water on your floor or water trickling down your walls, you will know something is wrong with your sump pump.
Causes of Sump Pump Failure
Unfortunately, most homeowners will not even realize something is wrong with their sump pump until they find their basements and crawl spaces flooded. This can be a frustrating and confusing experience for anyone. What are some common causes of sump pump failure to watch out for?
- Dead Battery or Electrical Outage
Depending on what your sump pump runs on, it could just be something as simple as a dead battery. Sump pumps are capable of dispelling thousands of gallons of water per hour. A pump may especially be working overtime during a heavy storm. In these cases, you should keep a close eye on the battery level afterward.
If your sump pump runs on electricity, however, a severe storm may cut its only source of power. Without a backup source of energy, the pump will not function and your basement will be flooded.
- Misaligned Drainage System
If you find leaks leading up to your sump pump, chances are the problem lies with your drainage system instead. The pipes in this system could be poorly aligned, resulting in constant leaks and water damage.
It is always a good idea to have an expert take a look at both the drainage system and sump pump if you ever encounter such problems. They will be able to identify where the issue truly lies and can make the right repairs for a fair fee.
- Poorly Designed Sump Pump
It is possible that you simply purchased a cheap sump pump system. This may have saved you a bit of money then, but the damage a poor sump pump system can cause will cost you more money in the end. Water damage, mold, pest problems, and further pressure on your foundation are just some examples of issues a poorly designed system will create.
When considering buying a sump pump, do some thorough research. The cheapest option is not always the best. Even a homeowner on a lower budget can find a high-quality sump pump for a reasonable price if they look more into what features they need.
The SafeDri Pro330 sump pump system is one of the better out there. It is equipped with a premium liner designed to catch any water that flows to it. It will also have an elaborate alarm system that will tell you when it is working as well as when it is running out of battery.
The optional battery backup is also helpful for busy homeowners who do not have the time to constantly maintain their pump.
How to Fix Sump Pumps
If your sump pump fails to prevent flooding, you may be tempted to toss the whole thing and get a new one. However, a new sump pump can be quite costly, especially if the old one was not even broken to begin with.
Can you fix a sump pump yourself? How do you go about fixing such a complex machine in the first place?
- Replace the Battery or Install a Backup Power Source
Your sump pump may not even be broken. It could be its battery has simply run out. In that case, all you need to do is replace the battery and you are good to go. You can also install a backup battery pack. That way, you do not have to worry about the sump pump running out of power in the middle of a heavy storm.
- Leave It to the Experts
Ultimately, it is best to leave sump pump repair to the experts. Sump pumps have many working parts, some of which should not be tampered with by just anyone. If you attempt to fix your sump pump on your own, you are more likely to make things worse; the pump may seem like it’s functioning for some time but it is more likely that some crucial internal component might be damaged or work slower than before. Most homeowners do not even have access to the right tools to fix their sump pumps.
A professional will have these essential tools as well as the expertise needed to fix your sump pump. They are also well aware that each basement presents unique problem areas and issues. Should you need a new sump pump, they are more than willing to help you out with that as well.
They will find the optimal installation location and the type of sump pump that suits your budget. They will also install the entire system for you within a matter of days. You will not have to struggle with navigating through all your piping systems if you simply let an expert handle installation for you.
Sump Pump Failure FAQs
Using a sump pump alongside the appropriate drainage system can drain any water that might seep into your basement. A sump pump’s function is simple, and you typically don’t have to physically interact with the sump pump to make sure it starts. Here’s what you need to know about the functioning process of the sump pump.
- Detect Water Intake
First, the sump pump will detect the water level in your basement or crawl space. This is almost always an automated procedure; the method the sump pump uses to detect the water level may vary, but you typically don’t have to do anything to ensure your sump pump starts pumping out water once it gets to a level that’s high enough in your crawl space.
The signal to activate is usually given by a ‘floating’ switch which is pushed upwards as the water level rises (though this is not always the case). This ensures that you get efficient protection and that your sump pump is not damaged by running ‘dry’. As a result, you can expect your basement or crawl space to be dry and your energy bills to be kept to a minimum.
- Pump out Water
The next step is to pump out the water. This is a process that may vary dramatically, depending on the style of sump pump that you use, but at the end of it all, it’s going to do essentially the same thing: ensure that the water in your basement or crawl space leaves the area. Most models use an electric-powered motor, though some models use other motor styles.
Whatever motor you have, however, the drainage capabilities of your pump rely just as much on your discharge line. The discharge line is the channel that accepts the water being removed from your property and ensures that it reaches the right drainage systems. If your discharge line is blocked you will soon notice problems.
- Direct Water into the Appropriate Place
The water needs somewhere to go once the sump pump has removed it. It’s not possible for you just to direct the water immediately outside the basement or crawl space, as this tends to increase hydrostatic pressure and therefore future water problems. Instead, a discharge line will typically direct the water into a storm drain or further out in the yard where proper landscaping will angle it away from your property’s perimeter.
Older sump pumps may have a discharge line that terminates directly outside of a property, but this is now known to be harmful. If you have a pump like this we can either upgrade your sump pump or install perimeter drains to catch and safely dispose of the discharge in a way that protects your property as a whole and prevents the creation of a ‘clay bowl’ around your home.
You may have heard of the concept of a backup sump pump before. However, many homeowners don’t know whether a backup sump pump will help with their basement or crawl space problems. The good news is that a backup sump pump is beneficial for your basement or crawl space. Here’s what a backup sump pump can do for your home.
- Peace of Mind
Possibly most importantly, a backup sump pump affords you peace of mind. You never have to worry about whether your sump pump might lose power or not be able to handle the water that you’re dealing with for whatever reason. It gives you peace of mind when you’re in the home and when you’re away, knowing that the basement won’t have flooding problems at any point.
Having a backup pump can also give you peace of mind even when you are at home; the last thing you want to be doing if a storm cuts the power is checking your basement. Many backup sump pumps now come with attached generators that will activate as soon as the main power supply in your home fails, giving you seamless protections.
- Avoiding Flooding
An important element of a backup sump pump is that it’ll kick in if you have a problem with your primary one; without that backup sump pump, the basement would just flood. Should your original sump pump go out during a power outage or run out of battery, the backup pump will quickly start up in its stead. You won’t have to worry about your basement flooding with a backup in place.
Flooding is, of course, something that every homeowner would like to avoid. As well as being unpleasant and difficult to drain, a flooded basement or crawl space can lead to many wider problems within your property. These range from a generally raised level of humidity to spreading mold, warped wooden floorboards, bubbled or peeling wallpaper, and rot in wooden property supports.
- Handling Significant Storms
Not every homeowner has the time to constantly check in on their sump pump’s energy level. Having a backup battery or backup pump can make sure that your sump pump can keep working in case of an especially violent storm. Whether that storm causes a power outage, requiring a sump pump that doesn’t work on electric power, or it just causes too much flooding, you can handle significant storms with a backup pump.
Knowing that you have a working, effective sump pump during a severe storm allows you to focus on the more pressing matters of securing your doors and windows and settling any children or animals in your home. This will make sure that your property comes through any storm in the best possible condition and give you the peace of mind that can only come with knowing that you are truly prepared for the worst!
It’s common for homeowners to wonder whether they can DIY fixes in and around their property. Although you may be able to do this for many things, you definitely shouldn’t try to do it for your sump pump. Many problems might arise with trying to fix your sump pump on your own.
- The Issues with DIY
A sump pump is made up of many complex parts that most homeowners don’t have the tools to fix themselves. This is the primary problem with DIY. Because you’re doing it yourself, you’re less likely to be able to fix things that tend to go wrong with sump pumps. You may even cause damage to the sump pump with an attempted fix (or hurt yourself!).
Of course, there are some things you can do for your sump pump. Carrying out regular maintenance, for example, will help you to minimize the likelihood of avoidable breakdowns. By keeping the sump pit free from debris, checking your discharge line, and booking annual maintenance appointments with your local plumbing service, you will keep your pump in good condition for years to come.
- Trust an Expert for Your Sump Pump Fixes
Not only are sump pump professionals equipped with the latest tools to fix these pumps, but they will know exactly what’s wrong with the pump. They can quickly patch it up and have it working again in no time at all without causing any further issues for your home. Trust your sump pump to the experts at Groundworks for a truly effective fix that will maintain itself for years.
A professional will also be able to tell you when your sump pump is reaching the end of its lifespan. After all, even the most well-maintained appliance reaches a point where it is simply outdated; as this time approaches, your maintenance professional will let you know. This will give you time to plan and save for a replacement.
Call an Expert in Case of Sump Pump Failure
Sump pump failure can be quite a frustrating experience. After all, you bought the pump to prevent flooding, not to be the cause of the flooding itself. What can you do when your sump pump fails?
It is best to leave sump pump repair to the experts. Sump pumps are quite intricate. One wrong placement of a gear or slip can break the entire machine.
Sump pump experts know the right methods to fix your machine so it can keep your basement dry for years to come. Contact GroundWorks for an obligation-free inspection and estimate. Our experts will make sure that you have all the information you need to protect your home.