Common Causes of Sump Pump Failures

When a sump pump fails, it can mean a flooded basement, destroyed property, and much more.

And, while these pumps are designed to be durable and last for years, there are some things that can cause them to fail.

Here are some of the most common sump pump failure causes and what you may be able to do to prevent them.

Lack of Maintenance

Sump pumps may be designed to work for years, but no piece of equipment can work efficiently and for long periods of time without the occasional maintenance and tune-up. Homeowners that don’t keep their sump pumps maintained correctly may find that they fail when needed.

This is especially true if the sump pump hasn’t been used in months or even years. When a machine sits, it tends to get dust, grime, and other build up in its inner workings. It’s important to keep this grime cleaned out.

Power Outage

This one is pretty obvious—a sump pump can’t operate correctly if there’s no power to it. Major storms during which flooding occurs are often accompanied by lightning and high winds, both of which can take down the power grid. If you don’t have a backup generator you can use to run your sump pump, you may have to deal with a flooded basement in the even that your electricity goes out.

The Wrong Sized Pump

If your sump pump is too small for the area, it may fail from trying to do too much. Pumps that are too small simply can’t handle the workload, and they may overheat or break down. When this occurs, you may need to start searching for mold removal services because you’re likely to have a flooded basement.

Pumps that are too large can also have problems—larger pumps actually have to work harder to clear out a small amount of water, which can lead to malfunctions.

Incorrect Installation

If your sump pump wasn’t installed correctly, there’s a good chance that it will fail when it’s turned on. Common installation errors include the pump not being correctly connected or the pump not being place in the correct position.

If the pump isn’t placed quite right, then the float may not be positioned correctly, and it’s the float that determines when the pump comes on. Again, regular maintenance can help make certain everything is placed correctly so that the sump pump works when needed.

Clogged or Frozen Lines

If the discharge lines are clogged up for any reason, water can’t be forced out of the home. If the water has nowhere to go, the backed up pressure can damage the sump pump in addition to damaging your home.

It’s important to periodically check the discharge line to make certain no debris has accumulated. During cold temperature periods, if you suspect you may need your sump pump, make certain the discharge line hasn’t frozen over. Remember that a grated covering won’t keep out the ice and snow.

Written by Elise
on December 19, 2014