What to do When Your Sump Pump Fails

Author: D16 February 25, 2015

If you have a basement then you know all about sump pumps. If you’ve never had one fail and flood your basement, then you’ve probably at the very least worried about it a few times. We all go into a bit of panic when the power goes out and wait for it to kick in when there’s a lot of rain or melting snow.

Did you know nearly 60% of homes in the U.S. have some sort of underground wetness or water damage? And it’s likely that a large percent of those basements will flood at some point. What most believe is that this only happens when there is a large amount of rainfall or water, however, a small amount of water can indeed cause a large amount of problems. In fact, it takes very little time and very little water to create mold issues. Though there is no way to guarantee your sump pump will work 100% of the time and never fail, there are some ways to increase the chances that it will work.

Causes of Failure

Some common causes of sump pump failure include electric power outage, wrong size of sump pump installed, improper installation, switch/float arm problems, or lack of maintenance.

Things You Can Do

If you’re installing a pump, following the manufacturers instructions very carefully is crucial. If you’re not familiar with sump pumps and have never installed one, it’s probably best to hire a professional to properly install it. You may not want to fork out the installation fee, but we guarantee it’s a lot cheaper than paying for water damage when your basement floods. A professional will know what size pump is necessary for your home and also make sure the switch is working like it should.

You can’t control power outages, but you can be prepared for them. Having a generator ready to go as a backup power source can save the day… and a lot of money. Like any mechanical device in your home, maintenance is key. It’s important to check your sump pump regularly to make sure it’s functioning properly.

Easy Maintenance Tips

  1. To clean your sump pump, run a vinegar solution through it. This will free up any small pieces of debris and help the pump run more efficiently. You can do this yourself, but if there is a serious problem, call a professional.
  2. Check the sump pump’s float switch. If this is restricted it will not kick on when there’s a flood.
  3. Clean all vents and air holes so it can run like it should.

According the the U.S. Department of Housing and Development the average sump pump will last about 10 years. Honestly, if the pump is undergoes regular maintenance, you could increase this to 10-15, or even 20 years. Our recommendation: make an effort to check your sump pump regularly and consider purchasing a generator if you don’t already have one. If you do ever become the unfortunate homeowner with water damage due to sump pump failure, just remember: we have emergency services available 24/7/365.