Your basement’s sump pump is your first line of defense against the heavy rains that can turn your basement into a scummy swamp. A good sump pump is a miracle worker – when it works.
Actually, if well-maintained, your sump pump should always work to get rid of the water in your basement. If your sump pump keeps dying, it’s probably because of one of these common reasons.
A sump pump is just like any other electrical appliance in your home – it needs adequate power. The pump may simply not be getting enough power. Check to see if the outlet has power with another electrical device. If you’re using an extension cord, try plugging it directly into the outlet. Sometimes cords need to be replaced.
One of the most common sump pump problems is that the water keeps rising, but the pump never switches on. This may not be an electrical problem. It’s often because the pump has shifted inside the basin and left the float in a funny position. It may be lodged against the side and not responding to the rising water. You should check to make sure the float is free and unobstructed on a regular basis.
Dirt and Debris
Dirt, mud, rocks and other debris accumulate on sump pumps. This is another common reason they don’t kick in. This debris can accumulate at pretty much any point of the pump’s operation, from the float to the inlet screen or pit. Debris anywhere can interfere with your pump’s operation so make sure to clean it every couple of months.
Don’t forget to also check the drain pipes leading out of your home. These can be clogged and obstructed as well, resulting in a sump pump that doesn’t get the water out. In cold weather, the pipes can get frozen.
Your Pump Is Overwhelmed
Your sump pump may not be working because it’s overwhelmed. You may have more water coming into your basement than it can handle. If this is the case, you should consider getting a higher capacity sump pump, upgrading if you’re using a cheap plastic one, or adding another sump pump.
Runs but It Won’t Stop
What if your sump pump runs but then it won’t stop even when the water is gone? This could mean that there’s a problem with your float. The float switch might be stuck or out of adjustment. Vertical floats are notorious for doing this. If yours is a vertical float and you have this problem, try changing to a tethered float instead.
There’s no such thing as a minor sump pump problem. If your pump isn’t getting water out of your basement like it’s supposed to, take care of it right away. Otherwise, you might be up to your ears in scummy water the next time a big rain comes.