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What You Should Do When Your Sump Pump Fails

When it comes to basement leaks, a sump pump is a homeowner’s best friend because it acts as the first line of defense against unexpected floods. Unfortunately, when a sump pump stops working, it leaves you stressed, frustrated, and vulnerable. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that when a sump pump fails, it can cause a flood instead of preventing it.

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons for sump pump failures and what you can do to correct the problem, to prevent unneeded water damage restoration in your home.

What Makes Sump Pumps Fail?

Sump pumps fail because they are essentially mechanical devices. They need a source of power to operate. When they don’t have a power source, they fail. As is the case with any type of mechanical device, malfunctions can happen unexpectedly, even when there’s a power source. That’s especially true if your sump pump has a few years under its belt. Additionally, some sump pumps are poorly designed or installed incorrectly, resulting in failure. That’s a great transition to our first reason why sump pumps fail.

Four Common Reasons Why Sump Pumps Fail

1. No Water in Your Sump Pump

If your machine seems to be working, but you find there’s no water in the sump pump, there’s a good chance it was installed incorrectly or that it’s not linked to your drainage system. Sump pumps work best when a drain tile is present along the inside perimeter of your basement. By having a basement drainage system, you can channel water to the sump pump via gravity and have it discharge into a pit. If your drain tile is collapsed or installed incorrectly, it won’t be able to direct water where it needs to go. Even the most expensive sump pump won’t keep your basement from flooding if it’s installed incorrectly.

What You Should Do: It’s wise to get your drainage system inspected to make sure it’s operating properly. If it’s not working correctly, have it fixed by a professional. If you don’t have a drainage system at all, you should consider having one installed professionally.

    2. Your Sump Pump is Overwhelmed

    Major events – like natural disasters and pipe leaks – are sometimes too much for one sump pump to handle. It could also be that your sump pump isn’t powerful or reliable enough to deal with the water volume pouring in, especially in an event like a thunderstorm. When it comes to preventing floods and keeping your basement dry, the quality of your sump pump plays a part too. As in many cases, quality equates to higher cost.  An investment into a high quality sump pump system is a minor expense when compared to the cost of clean-up and repair of a home due to flood damage. Inexpensive and poorly-made models are more likely to fail or burn out when you need them most.

    What You Should Do: Upgrade your sump pump so that it can handle high-capacity situations. If possible, add a battery backup sump pump to handle extra water volume when necessary.

      3. Your Sump Pump is Clogged

      One of the most common issues associated with sump pumps that leads to basement flooding and water damage is when there’s no lid on the sump pump. Without an airtight lid, debris and dirt will begin to accrue. Some common causes of sump pump clogs include:

      • Your sump pit (where your sump pump sits) becomes clogged with debris, dirt, and other materials.
      • Your sump pump’s parts get dirty or clogged with time. This situation is more common when your sump pump sits in a dirty pit where silt collects.
      • Your float switch (which operates the pump as water levels change) is jammed or clogged.

      What You Should Do: Have a professional inspect your sump pump to ensure it’s working properly. Have it fixed or replaced if it’s not working as it should. If you replace your sump pump, make sure you buy one with an airtight lid to prevent future clogs.

        4. Your Sump Pump Loses Power

        The same thunderstorm or natural disaster that may cause your basement to flood can also knock out your power lines. When your power lines go down, you lose power to your house, and by proxy, to your home’s sump pump. Your pump can also lose power if your circuit breaker is tripped or if you accidentally unplug your sump pump.

        What You Should Do: If possible, get a backup for your current sump pump. And by backup, we mean a high-capacity sump pump that is also battery-operated. Many modern sump pumps come with battery backups, so you have peace of mind even when your power goes out.

        Quality Damage Restoration Begins with UNGERMAN

        With over 40 years in the business, UNGERMAN has the proper certifications, training, and extensive experience needed to assess and resolve your emergency damage needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a local, family-owned company, we strive to exceed expectations with every service offered, whether you need water damage restoration for your home or storm damage restoration for your business.

        Contact our office today to learn more about the UNGERMAN difference or to schedule service for emergency cleanup or repair in the Twin Cities.