A sump pump can protect your home from extensive water damage and basement flooding – as long as it is in good working order. Unfortunately, these pumps have a limited lifespan and are prone to a range of issues. No one wants to find out that their pump is failing the hard way, so look out for these signs that it may be time to replace your sump pump so you can take action before the next heavy rainfall.
Your Sump Pump Runs Constantly
Sump pumps are designed to operate when water has collected in your basement. If your pump continues running regardless of the water levels or weather conditions, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. When sump pumps continue operating after the water has emptied from the basin, it can place a significant strain on the motor and cause it to overheat. This can result in premature failure.
This may be caused by several factors, the most frequent of which is an inappropriate sump pump size. A sump pump that is too small for the basin will struggle to handle the volume of water that it collects and will not be able to displace all of it, while a pump that is too big for the basin will have to work harder to keep up with the water filling it and may end up running dry.
Another potential cause of a constantly running sump pump is a float switch that has gotten stuck in the “on” position. When these switches rise to a certain height, it triggers the pump to turn on; once the water descends, it will turn the pump off. If the switch gets stuck or jammed, the pump may continue to run even when there is no water. This could be due to improper installation or debris or wires catching the switch.
The Sump Pump Gets Clogged Frequently
Uncovered sump pump basins are prone to accumulating debris over time, which can jam the impeller fan blades. This can cause the discharge line and the pump inlet to clog, causing flood water to move back down the pipe and up into the basement. Small pieces of gravel or dirt can be sucked up by the pump, and although it may turn on, it will have trouble emptying water from the basin.
This can be corrected by addressing the source of the debris. A grate or airtight lid can be placed over the sump pump basin to stop sticks, small animals, and stray leaves from entering the pit. This can also keep stray objects inside the basement from making their way into it, such as screws or small balls. In cases where a downspout delivers water to the sump pump, a screen can be installed to catch sediment and prevent clogging.
The Sump Pump Makes Loud Noises
If your sump pump is making loud noises, such as rattling or gurgling, it could indicate a problem. While these pumps do make some noise when they push water into the discharge pipe, those sound levels should never be high enough to hear it when you are outside of the basement.
If the motor sounds unusually loud, it could be a sign that it is approaching the end of its life. It may be possible to replace the failing motor without replacing the whole pump, but this is only recommended if the pump itself is newer. For older plastic pumps, it is best to replace it with an entirely new system that is more modern and designed to last longer.
Another potential cause of an unusually noisy sump pump is improper installation. It could be that the discharge line was not installed straight and water is trying to make its way around lots of angles as it exits. In this case, a plumber can reroute the pipes so the water has a smoother exit. Plumbing professionals may also be able to soften the noise by wrapping your pipes with insulation.
The Pump Cycles Erratically
If the sump pump cycles in sporadic bursts or takes an unusually long time to empty water from its basin, it may be time to replace it. Loose wiring may sometimes cause a pump to cycle for no apparent reason, or it could be due to the float valve being too low and activating with amounts of water that are too small. This can place the pump under undue stress and cause its motor to burn out.
Another potential cause of this is a pump that lacks the horsepower to carry out its function. It may be time to replace it with a pump that has higher horsepower, particularly if the water has to move across a great distance through angled pipes.
Contact O’Connor Plumbing For All Your Sump Pump Needs
If you have noticed any of these signs of sump pump failure, contact the professionals at O’Connor Plumbing today online or over the phone at (833) 744-4644. Our qualified plumbers offer a range of effective and affordable sump pump services.