Typically April showers bring May flowers, but this year April showers seem to have brought even more showers! Especially rainy seasons like this bring lots of calls about basement flooding. The extra rain also causes many homeowners to realize why the small pit in the hidden corner of their basement exists. Sump pumps are nothing short of amazing when they work properly. The compact devices prevent flooding by siphoning excess water from the foundation.
Sump pumps are positioned in the lowest part of the basement away from the sewer, electrical, and gas lines. The base of the sump pit consists of gravel or other loose material that allows water to fill the pit before the pump forces it out.
During especially rainy seasons like this one, your sump pump can be under extra duress which can cause it to stop working. So your sump pump quit working, now what?
There are several things that may cause sump pump failure:
The system is clogged
If your system is inactive for a while, debris and mud can settle into the pipe, preventing the system from flushing water away from the sump pit.
The float switch is stuck
The sump pump is triggered by a float switch that rises with the water and turns the pump on. The vibrations of the sump pump can cause the valve to become lodged against the wall of the sump pit and stuck in the off position. Hollow float valves may fill with water over time, preventing them from floating to the on position.
We see this regularly. It’s a great thing to check to prevent an unnecessary service call. Occasionally sump pumps are unplugged because the outlet was needed and the user forgot to plug it back in. Check any fuses in the power supply to make sure they haven’t tripped or need to be replaced.
The system is burned out
Overheating is the primary cause of sump pump failure. Most sump pumps are built to be submerged underwater, which helps keep them cool as they work. Even when properly maintained, sump pumps have a lifespan of about 10 years.
How to prevent water in your basement even when your sump pump fails.
Most people don’t realize that homes in Kansas should have two sump pumps, a primary and a backup. There are many options for a backup up sump pump, including battery-powered units. The concern with battery powered pumps is that they require batteries to be charged or replaced regularly. McElroy’s recommends water powered sump pumps as a backup option. Water powered sump pumps can operate without a power source.
Water powered sump pumps tie into your home’s main water line. When your primary sump pump fails, the rising water can open the water powered sump pump to create suction that removes the excess water, forcing it away from your foundation.
A McElroy’s technician can help evaluate the current condition of your sump pump and make recommendations for a backup option. Contact us for preventive maintenance on your system.
Decisions about your sump pump are easier to make in the dry season, compared to when you are standing ankle deep in water!