Sump Pump Issues
Check out common sump pump issues, the damages they cause, and what you should do to protect your home.
Sump Pump Issues Can be Costly and Damaging to Your Home
Let’s talk about an important area of your home: the basement. People use this area for all kinds of things, like storage, a home office, or entertainment.
Unfortunately, keeping a basement completely dry and healthy is hard, especially if you live in an area prone to flooding or rain. Many basements already have a sump pump to prevent water buildup below the home—but not all sump pumps are equal.
Because of factors like age, location, or materials, many sump pumps fail homeowners when they need them most and lead to water damage. But how do you know your sump pump is failing? We’ve inspected thousands of homes across the country, so we know exactly what you should look for!
Common Sump Pump Issues
A sump pump in perfect working order should go unnoticed; your basement should remain dry and clean with minimal fuss and noise. If you notice standing water in and around the pit, a broken or underpowered sump pump may be the cause.. If you notice this—even when rain is light—you should consider investigating your sump pump for possible issues. Here’s a list of other common sump pump issues and the problems they can cause.
- Noisy Sump Pump
Sump pumps are not completely silent when they work, but they should only produce a light, steady hum. If your sump pump is making jarring, rattling, grinding, or gurgling sounds, this is a warning sign that the machine is not working properly.
- Continuously Running Pump
When water reaches a certain height in a sump pit, the actual pump switches on. Once all the water is gone, the switch should turn off automatically. If the pump continues running even after removing all water, investigate immediately as a problem is on the horizon.
- Malfunctioning Sump Pump
Sump pumps automatically turn on when water gets high enough in the sump pit. If your sump pump pit doesn’t turn on even as water builds up inside it, the pump is broken or faulty. Look out for overflowing water in your basement, especially near the sump pit itself.
- Rusted or Corroded Sump Pit
Some sump pits are made with materials prone to rust or corrosion. This is a big problem because sump pits come into contact with water on the regular. Replace your sump pit if you notice it breaking down as the problem will worsen over time.
What Causes Sump Pump Issues?
The causes behind sump pump issues are varied. Some of them have to do with mechanical issues and others with electrical issues; many sump pump issues are simply caused by blockages. No matter what, understanding what might be causing your sump pump problems makes it easier to find the right solution—or even consider installing a new sump pump.
- Switch Malfunctions
A floating switch triggers most sump pumps when water levels reach or exceed a certain point. If the switch becomes jammed or disconnected, your pump fails to activate. If it fails to activate, flooding is likely to occur in your basement. Also, if the switch remains stuck in the “on” position even after emptying the water, your sump pump will eventually burn out.
- Power Outages
When your home’s power cuts out, your sump pump won’t work. If your sump pump isn’t operating even with adequate power (or when using a backup battery), check for connection issues. Ensure that the pump is fully connected and all the connections are undamaged.
- Blockages in the Discharge Pipe
If your discharge pipe is blocked, or the water inside it freezes, it won’t matter how hard your sump pump works; there’s simply nowhere for water to go! If you find standing water beginning to rise into your basement, check the discharge pipe for obvious external blockages before you do anything else.
- Clogs in Your Sump Pump
To prevent debris from clogging the pump, cover the sump pit with a lid. If debris clogs the pump, it could lead to reduced efficiency and quick breakdown.. As such, you should check your pump regularly and invest in a cover for the pit.
What Happens if Your Sump Pump Fails
The location of your basement below ground creates a host of unique issues, despite serving as a great foundation for your home. The most common issues are basement leaks, mold growth, and standing water; even the most arid area can have water locked into the soil, putting pressure on basement walls and floors.
These are the major threats that your home faces if your sump pump fails. Leaking and flooding can devastate your basement, and any personal belongings found below your home. A sump pump is a reactive solution that addresses the problem immediately, making it one of the best tools to ward off water damage, especially when combined with other basement waterproofing solutions.
How to Fix Sump Pump Issues
Fixing your sump pump isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many of the parts involve electronics and engineering that can be challenging to figure out without the proper training or tools. For your safety, it’s always better to consult with a professional team before attempting sump pump repairs.
If you suspect a simple clog or blockage, you should switch the pump off and check the filter, pit, and main pump for obvious debris. If you don’t see any blockages in the pit, check that the floating switch is not jammed or tangled, then check the discharge pipe for external blockages. Once you have done this, try switching the pump back on. If it begins to work again, you should quickly notice an improvement in the water levels in your basement. If not, contact a professional for more support.
As practical advice, performing regular checks and having a general awareness of sump pump issues will help you stay on top of sump pump problems before they get worse. But to seriously improve the functionality and longevity of your sump pump, consider working with basement waterproofing experts like our team at Groundworks to install a high-quality sump pump system in your home.
FAQs About Sump Pumps and Related Problems
If you have experience, you can try to clear blockages and clogs yourself, but it is best that you let a professional perform any mechanical or electrical repairs to avoid further damage to the pump. Again, signing up for an annual maintenance plan with your local basement waterproofing professionals can save you a lot of time and headaches.
The most common causes of sump pump failure are blockages in the pump, clogs in the drainage pipe, loss of power, wear and tear, and faulty or broken floating switches. If these are the case with your sump pump, be sure to contact your local basement professionals for assistance. You also can take advantage of annual maintenance programs with these experts so ensure your sump pump and other basement waterproofing solutions are in good working order to best protect your basement and home.
Every basement has a unique set of needs and potential issues. It is best to ask for a professional opinion when choosing a sump pump, and don’t just opt for the cheapest option. The money you save now could come back to bite you if the pump fails to work effectively for your home and you need to have repairs done (or a replacement pump installed).
A sump pump is your home’s best defense against rising dampness and standing water in your basement. A good sump pump will keep your basement free from water in even heavy downpours.
It’s best to pair your sump pump with an interior drainage system. These interior drains will catch leaking water around the perimeter of your basement and then direct this water to the sump pump to be removed from the basement. Your local basement waterproofing experts will be able to install these solutions together and with other tools for more comprehensive basement protection.
Let the Professionals Sort Out Your Sump Pump Woes
If you suspect anything is wrong with your sump pump, it’s best to let an expert have a look; attempting certain DIY fixes could turn a minor task into a major one. Sump pumps are complicated pieces of machinery that require professional expertise. It’s not worth it to fiddle with the pump’s internal workings and make the issue worse. That makes it helpful to contact a Groundworks waterproofing expert.
Remember that every basement is unique and that your sump pump is your main line of defense against flooding. It’s far better to be safe than take your chances and end up being sorry you didn’t call in an expert.