Major Causes of Sump Pump Failure

Feb 05 2016

Sump pumps can be a great addition to your home. They help prevent basement floods, protect you from sewage backup, and can even increase your property’s value. However, like most things, they can fail. Causing the damage it’s supposed to protect your home from, but what causes a sump pump to fail? Knowing the causes of sump pump failures can help you prevent them and save your home from any damage.

How It Works

How a sump pump works is pretty simple. A sump pump is a mechanism that removes water from your home and is typically found in your basement. . As it fills with water, the pump turns on (through electricity) and pushes the water out away from the foundation of the home through piping. When the pump fails (and is often submerged in standing water beneath your home), it can leave you with contaminated water or still water that can damage your foundation and carry disease.

Rapid Restoration sump pump infographic

Most Common Sump Pump Failures

Sump pump failure can happen for a variety of different reasons. Here are a few of the most common reasons why a sump pump fails.

Power Outage

The most common reason for sump pump failure is an electrical power outage as a result of bad weather or a storm. Sump pumps depend on your home for power and these blackouts can be problematic. Because power outages happen at random, the best way to combat this is by having a backup generator.

Lack of Maintenance

If your pump has unexpectedly stopped working, odds are that it just needs a good cleaning and some quarterly maintenance. You must get someone to do regular maintenance on your sump pump to increase its lifespan. If your sump pump is not currently working, you can try running a vinegar solution through your pump and cleaning it out.

A Stuck Switch

One of the most common mechanical problems with sump pumps is a stuck switch. This problem occurs when the pump shifts inside the basement, causing the float to operate the pump. It is also possible for some debris to get stuck under the float and render it useless. This can be fixed with a little cleaning and some minor adjustments to your pump.

Frozen Discharge Pipe

If your sump pump discharge pipe is frozen or clogged with debris, the water will flow back down the pipe and into your basement, causing a flood. While you can’t prevent your pipes from freezing, you can install a specially discharged pipe that allows water to exit your basement even if the main pipe is still frozen. If your basement does flood due to a sump pump failure, call Rapid Restoration and we’d be happy to help.

Improper Installation

Your sump pump rarely gets installed improperly, but if you can’t seem to find the problem with your pump this may be the cause. Improper installation can result in several issues. Here are some common installation problems and the results:

  • The check valve on the discharge line is not installed. Without a check valve, you’ll hear the pump running, but it won’t be pumping.
  • There is an incorrect diameter of the discharge line. Most pumps require a small air-relief hole in the line to release pressure from the discharge pipe.
  • The pump is placed in dirt or gravel. Dirt and gravel can enter your pump and cause clogs and damage, or interfere with the float alarm.

Old Age

Like most mechanisms, years of wear and tear eventually will result in the inevitable failure of your sump pump. On average, the lifespan of a sump pump is eight to 10 years. While some pumps can exceed this lifespan, it is recommended that you replace your pump after 10 years to ensure safety and efficiency.

What Damages are Caused by Sump Pump Failures

Sump pumps are great tools, but if used incorrectly or without taking the necessary steps to prevent failure, you could be left with a flooded basement and severe water damage. If your home has experienced water damage due to a failed sump pump, don’t worry! Here at Rapid Restoration, we’re experts when it comes to water damage. Contact us and we’ll send someone out to help with the damage and get your home back to normal.

You can learn more about water damage and what you should do to safely remove the water in our complete guide!

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