Routine Maintenance Checklist For Sump Pumps

by | Jan 29, 2019 | Plumbing Tips | 0 comments

Water tends to find its way into basements pretty easily. Little cracks and crevices in the walls allow for ground and rainwater to make its way inside and build up quite quickly.

Standing household water in the basement results in damage to walls and floors, which leads harm to carpets, furniture, and any stored belongings. This also allows for the likely introduction of mold.

All homes need is a defense system specifically for unwanted water.

That’s what sump pumps are for.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Sump Pump?

The average lifespan of a sump pump is 10 years with proper care and maintenance. To help increase the average lifespan, we recommend regular testing and removal of surrounding debris.

Does A Sump Pump Need Maintenance?

Yes, sump pumps require maintenance in order to increase their lifespan. DIY maintenance includes placing the sump pump upright, regular testing, GFCI checks, and keeping any debris away from the pump.

 

Sometimes all it takes is frequent upkeep and inspection to increase a sump pump lifespan. It’s important to check up on its condition, especially during the spring and winter months when snow and rainfall are more common.

 

Square One insurance has put together a list of some quick and easy DIY services that are easy to perform at home.

 

 DIY Sump Pump Maintenance 

1. Make Sure the Sump Pump is Standing Upright: During operation, the force of the vibration is enough to cause the pump to lean to one side or in some cases, completely fall over. A sump pump that is not upright runs the risk of having the float arm jammed — this prevents it from being able to turn on again. 

 

2. Test the Pump: Ensure that the pump is in good condition by pouring water in the pit and making sure everything runs smoothly. This will be evident by it automatically turning on, and draining the water away quickly. If this doesn’t happen, it’s best to contact a professional to identify what may be causing issues.

 

3. Check the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter): A lot of moisture in the area can cause the GFCI to trip and shut down. Checking to make sure that it is plugged in and intact. If the sump pump is shut down, a reset of the GFCI is all it takes to get it working again.

 

4. Remove any Debris in the pump: Buildup is common, especially if the sump pump is frequently active or has more than 1 year old. Regularly removing excess dirt, sand, and other debris will prevent clogging.

When Should A Sump Pump Be Replaced?

Sump pumps should be replaced after frequently experiencing common problems or after poor performance. Knowing some of the more common issues will make you better prepared to not only increase the average lifespan or your sump pump, but also to know when it is time for a replacement.

What Are Common Sump Pump Problems?

Common sump pump problems include a sump pump or pit that is too small, a pit with no water, a pump that is continuously running, and a noisy sump pump.

 

1. The sump pump or sump pit is too small: Having a sump pump that is too small means water is not being pumped out fast enough. It’s important to make sure that a sump pump has enough horsepower to accommodate for water accumulation. To little horsepower, and it will be on the brink of exhaustion.

 

Having a small sump pit means it will fill up quickly with water. Overtime, this means it will need to work twice as hard because of the continuous amount of water that is flowing into the pit — one of the reasons years are taken off the average lifespan.

 

2. Old sump pump:  If you have had your pump for about 10 years, it may mean it’s time for a replacement. How much it is used, how far the water travels out, problems with the electrical source and the quality of the pump itself are some common factors that affect their lifespan.

 

3. No water in the sump pump pit: While it’s a puzzling mystery to some, the chances are that the pump is incorrectly installed, or it’s not hooked up correctly to the drainage system. Another issue could be that the drainage system is clogged itself, and water is not able to get through. If this is the case, contact a local plumber for drain cleaning services as soon as possible.

 

4. The pump is making noise:  Sump pumps do make noise when they run. However, you should be aware of any irregular noises that occur. Rattling, grinding, thuds, or gurgling are not normal. These sounds can mean problems with the motor. Disconnect the power immediately, and decide if a professional is needed to diagnose and fix the problem.

 

5. The sump pump won’t stop running: This issue could really impact the lifespan of your sump pump. Especially, if it is continuously running when there is no water in the sump pit.

What Are Common Causes of Sump Pump Problems?

A clogged float switch or broken valve are the 2 most common causes of sump pump problems.

The Float Switch is Clogged: A simple reason for overdrive could just come down to the float switch being clogged or tangled up. Attached to the float itself, the float switch turns the pump on when the float starts to rise. Lift the bracket connected to the float and see if the pump turns on. If not, then a replacement will be necessary.

 

The Check Valve May be Broken: Check valves are there to make sure that the water in the sump pit flows outside the home, and doesn’t come back into the pit. A broken check valve means a continuous game of ping pong between the pump, and the same water as it makes its way back into the pit.

 

Sump pumps are a vital part of any home because they protect the household from flooding. Often, they can last for up to 10 years. Without routine maintenance, they can quickly deteriorate, increasing the risk of flooding and costly sump pump repairs. Being aware of common problems can negate these risks, and make at-home fixes easy.

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