The average life expectancy of a sump pump, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, is just ten years, but sometimes they fail sooner, particularly if they are subjected to intense use. Here are seven warning signs that your sump pump needs to be replaced.
It Vibrates Excessively While Running
Sometimes sump pumps can suck up hard debris, such as gravel and silt, which can cause their impellers to bend and sustain damage. The impellers are balanced to help reduce wear on the shaft they spin on, and when one is bent, it can cause the pump to wobble and put stress on the shaft. This wobbling is what causes the vibration and noise that are telltale signs something is wrong with the pump. Because it is nearly impossible to unbend an impeller, experts recommend replacing the pump when this happens.
It Runs Constantly
If your sump pump is running constantly, this is a sign that something is wrong. In some cases, addressing the part behind the problem is sufficient; in others, the entire unit may need to be replaced.
Most pumps contain a float switch that prompts them to start running. This switch stays submerged in the pit and is activated when the house becomes oversaturated and water builds up within the pit. Once it is activated, it turns on the pump so it can start draining water. In some instances, however, the float switch becomes clogged or stuck, which means it is constantly telling the sump pump to run, even in the absence of water in the basement.
Another part of a sump pump that could be damaged and causing it to run constantly is the check valve, which ensures water flows outside the home rather than back down into the pit. If this valve is broken or missing, it will cause water to go back in the pit and trigger the pump to run continuously.
Sometimes, constant running is due to a pump that is the wrong size for the pit; if so, it will need to be replaced with one of a more appropriate size for the home and the task at hand.
The Sump Pump Is Noisy
Although sump pumps do make some sounds when they are operating properly, irregular noises such as rattling, grinding, gurgling, and thuds, as well as an unusually high volume of noise, are signs that the sump pump has a problem. Most often, it will originate from the motor. It may be possible to repair the motor rather than installing an entirely new system.
Your Pump Is Old
Sump pumps are not designed to last forever and may begin to act up as they approach the end of their life. Although their average lifespan is ten years, the frequency of use, electrical source, quality of the pump, and distance that the pump has to carry water to discharge can all influence how long it will actually last. If you believe your sump pump could be nearing the end of its lifespan, professional plumbers can look at it and determine if it is time for a replacement.
It Runs When There Is No Water in the Pit
Sump pumps should not run if the pit is empty. If your pump is running without having any water in the pit, it may be due to an improper installation or an improper hookup to the drainage system, or it could be because the drainage system is clogged. When this happens, the best course of action is to disconnect the pump immediately and get in touch with a plumber to arrange an inspection.
The Pump Is Clogged
Sump pumps that do not have a lid are vulnerable to clogging as dirt and other contaminants can easily enter the device. These clogs may cause the pump to slow down and eventually stop. Clogs may come from dirt and debris, a jammed float switch, or dirty mechanical parts. An experienced plumber can evaluate if it can be repaired, or an airtight lid can be installed to keep debris out of the pit. However, it may need to be replaced entirely.
The Pump Has Lost Power
Although sump pumps may occasionally lose power because of a storm, a blown fuse, or a faulty battery backup, ones that have lost full power may sometimes need to be replaced.
Contact the Experienced Plumbers at O’Connor Plumbing
If your sump pump is showing signs of failure, it is important to have a professional inspect it and recommend the best way to address it before your basement floods. Contact the experienced plumbers at O’Connor Plumbing to have one of their highly trained technicians inspect your sump pump or to learn more about sump pump installation and maintenance services.