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Maintain and Troubleshoot Your Sump Pump

Find out more about the most common sump pump issues. Basement waterproofing can help you prolong its lifespan.

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The best way to take care of your basement’s health is to keep your sump pump fully functional. Any issues with your sump pump can lead to your home flooding and sustaining extensive water damage. Homes in Traverse City, MI, are especially susceptible to flooding as a result of melting snow and heavy rainfall. 

Many homeowners are unaware of the damage melting snow or even rainfall poses. Do not be one of them and leave your home exposed. You always want to make sure your sump pump is up to the task. Read on to find out more and avoid the need to repair expensive water damage. 

checking sump pump

Frequent Sump Pump Issues and Repairs 

Any machine, including sump pumps, can experience a variety of problems that can cause it to malfunction or perform poorly. Here, we take a look at some of the most common problems sump pumps face and show you how they can be fixed. 

Although you may be tempted to try and repair your sump pump on your own, remember that these are very complicated mechanical devices. They require a professional’s attention when it comes to maintenance and repair

At the same time, as you are not an experienced basement waterproofing professional, you may actually cause damage to your sump pump. As you can imagine, this can cause you additional headaches and put your home in a dangerous situation. Not having an operational sump pump is a huge issue that leaves your home exposed to water damage. 

Not Operating 

If your sump pump isn’t turning on, this usually indicates problems with its motor. The motor may not be able to start for a variety of reasons, including being disconnected from its power source or faulty electrical contacts. This can be fixed by the replacement of a plug. The plug prongs may also need to be cleaned and the receptacle may need to be replaced. 

No Water Is Being Ejected 

This type of malfunction usually points to a looser or clogged impeller. A basement waterproofing expert will fasten or replace the key. They may also need to clean the volute or impeller after removing the screen cover. 

Intermittent Pump Operation 

A pump may have trouble operating without interruption as a result of the pump motor overload tripping or if there’s an internal motor defect present. In this case, an electrician will check the state of the electric circuitry and the voltage on the branch circuit. 

Won’t Stop Running 

If you are not able to stop the sump pump from running even after all the water has been ejected from your basement, the level switch could be defective. To check for this, turn off the power source and inspect the rotation of the shaft and impeller. Again, you may want to leave this work to the experts as they may be required to do some advanced replacements. 

Cycles Are Too Frequent 

Your sump pump may be experiencing frequent cycles as a result of excessive water flow or issues with the check valve. Experts usually fix this issue by cleaning the gate of the valve or readjusting control floats. However, your needs may be bigger than what your current sump pump may be able to handle. In this case, you may want to get a bigger sump pump. 

Turns On and Off Frequently 

Sometimes, a sump pump may turn on and off due to restrained or obstructed float operation. Your sump pump’s float rod may also be bent or blocked by debris. One quick fix is to add water to the sump pit, turn it on, and readjust the weights. 

Unusually Loud 

You may have noticed that your sump pump is louder than usual. You may also be hearing squealing, grinding, or hammering sounds. Unfortunately, these noises could be indicating that an impeller is loose or the rotating parts have been obstructed somehow. Your sump pump may also not be properly secured to the ground. 

If you’re hearing unfamiliar sounds from your sump pump, call an expert right away. Your sump pump may be in serious trouble and needs to be replaced. 

Inspecting the Sump Pump 

If you are experiencing any doubts as to the working condition of your sump pump, we have two ways for you to determine if it is faulty. 

Restart Your Sump Pump 

You may notice two distinct plugs on your sump pump. One controls the float switch, and the other is for the motor. Unplug both. 

Next, plug the motor in and turn the sump pump on. If the motor doesn’t turn on quickly, you may be looking at a sump pump replacement. If the motor sounds fine and turns on immediately, reconnect the float switch. 

Flush the System 

If your sump pump restarts the way it’s supposed to, run some water through it to see how it works. Get a bucket of water and slowly drain it into the sump pit. Good working condition can be determined if the pump turns on automatically, ejects the water out of your basement, and shuts itself off. 

If this doesn’t happen, you should check out the following: 

  • Float: Does water flow smoothly on the float rod? 
  • Filter: Often, sump pump filters can get clogged. 
  • Drainage pipe: The drainage pipe can get clogged as well. Check it for debris. 
  • Check valve: There should be a 3/16” weep hole in the tube between the pump’s discharge pipe and the check valve. 

Although it may be tempting to try to fix your sump pump yourself, you should leave this work to basement waterproofing experts. Here at FSM, we have been helping homeowners keep their homes dry and healthy for a long time. Contact us today and schedule a free inspection and repair estimate for any work your sump pump may need. 

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