Why Sump Pump Maintenance Matters
Basement water damage is widespread during the spring and summer. This is because the thawing snow saturates the ground, and when it starts raining, the ground can't absorb any more water, so the excess ends up flowing on the surface. When this occurs, your only hope against flooding is a functioning sump pump, as it will move water out fast and prevent water damage. Sump pump maintenance is critical to creating and keeping a dry basement. Keep reading to learn how to spot a faulty sump pump and learn some general care tips. Here are some signs you have a faulty sump pump that needs replacing.
Signs of a Faulty Pump
- Irregular cycling — If your pump keeps cycling on and off, even in wet conditions, something is wrong. It could be an incorrectly adjusted float switch that's making the pump actuate when a little water enters the sump pit. Another common reason is wiring malfunctions. If the pump starts and stops abruptly, a short in the electrical system could be the issue.
- Unusual noises — Mechanical sounds coming from your sump pump could indicate worn or damaged parts. If the motor noise is excessive, chances are the bearing has failed. Rattling sounds or grinding noises may mean a jammed impeller.
- Excessive vibration when running — If the pump shakes excessively when on, it could wobble and fall on its side. Your biggest worry should be the hard debris that could have been sucked in as it could damage or bend the impeller.
- Visible rust — A brownish substance can form on corroded battery terminals. Rust feeds off the iron in water, causing discoloration. In some cases, a gel-like substance can clog the sump pump and the plumbing.
- Motor failure — The fault arises from an internal wiring failure in most cases. If the pump is getting power but still is not working, the problem could be an internal electrical problem. Make sure the pump is plugged in properly before you investigate other issues.
- Pump runs continuously but doesn't eject water — It's possible the pump doesn't have enough horsepower to handle a large volume of water or move it out for a certain distance. Correct pump sizing can resolve this issue. Your plumber or basement waterproofing professional who installed the system will look at pipe diameters, reservoir dimensions, and plumbing pathways as well as elbows.
In most cases, fixes are simple and revolve around discharge, electrical connection, water intake, and switch mechanisms.
Sump Pump Care Tips
While not every home in Upper Cumberland has a basement, those that do require extra care and attention, regular maintenance can avert water issues and emergency plumbing situations. Here are useful tips to keep your basement sump pump in peak performance.
Be sure to pour water into the sump pit to test your sump pump. Anytime you do this, your pump should come on, eject the water, and shut off shortly thereafter. Get rid of dirt, sand, grease, gravel, and debris by cleaning your pump. Regular cleaning will boost the pump's efficiency.
Get a battery-powered backup pump if the main sump pump fails due to mechanical defects or power outages. Also, replace worn-out parts of the sump pump. Your local plumber or basement waterproofing specialist should be able to guide you.
Here are additional recommendations that might help you keep the sump pump operational for many years:
- Unplug the primary pump and test the backup pump to ensure it is functioning properly.
- Check the float switch to make sure it's not restricted.
- Clean the air holes in the pump's discharge line.
- Listen for unusual noise when the motor is on.
- Replace the battery on the backup device every 2-3 years.
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