Sump Pump 101

After a cold, snow-filled season, the winter chill is giving away to the warmer temperatures that trigger the spring thaw. Most homeowners dread the spring seasons despite the bountiful offerings, including sunshine, blooming flowers, and chirping birds. 

Melting snow is synonymous with water damage, mold infestations, and flooding basements to many people. If your home has a basement and you faced heavy snowfall this winter, you might want to check on your sump pump. Having an efficient sump pump can save you a lot of money and headache.

At Aquarius Homes Services, we’ll ensure your sump pump is working flawlessly before the snow begins to melt and the water floods your basement.    

What Does My Sump Pump Actually Do?

A sump pump is an automatic, electric pump located in the basement of your home. It keeps your basement from flooding following a heavy downpour or snowmelt. A sump pump detects rising water levels and automatically pumps the excess water from the basement through a discharge pipe. 

A sump pump is your first line of defense against basement flooding and water damage by pumping away the groundwater before it accumulates. A flooding basement can wreck your home’s foundation and cause extensive water damage to your walls, floors, and furniture. Water damage is expensive to fix and poses the risk of a mold infestation. Having a functional sump pump is fairly important.

Standing Water in Basement

What Are the Most Common Sump Pump Problems?

Keeping your sump pump and its float in excellent condition is crucial to avoiding extensive and expensive water damage to your home. If your sump pump isn’t working correctly, the culprit is likely one of these issues: 

A Malfunctioning Float

The float is an air-filled round container floating on the water surface in the sump pit. The float rises as the pump fills with water and activates the switch that turns on the sump pump. If the float malfunctions, it fails to turn the sump pump, causing water levels to rise to dangerous levels. 

A sump pump floating switch may fail for several reasons, including: 

  • Wear and tear: Time and excessive usage take a toll on the float switch, and it fails to respond to changing water levels. After countless cycles of turning the pump on and off, the tether connecting the switch to the float may break. Sometimes the float gets punctured and fills with water, weighing it down. 

If the float fails when flushing out the tank, the pump keeps running and is likely to burn out the motor. If the float fails when the pump is off, your sump pump won’t detect rising water levels, and so you’re faced with a flooded basement. 

  • Mechanical failure: Sometimes, the float is caught between the reservoir wall and the pump. Mechanical failure immobilizes the float, compromising its ability to respond to rising water levels. During the sump pump’s normal operations, the vibrations may displace the float and render it immobile. Mechanical failure leads to a flooded basement. 
  • Power failure: The sump pump and the float switch run on electricity. A power outage could leave you with a flooded basement if you don’t have a backup motor for your sump pump. 

Overworked Pump

Sometimes your sump pump isn’t up to the task of keeping the basement dry. Your sump pump is likely to be overwhelmed by the water if it’s undersized. An undersized pump will struggle to drain the water, which keeps it running for an extended period. Extended running time lowers the lifespan of a sump pump because it reaches the end of its lifecycle much faster. 

Also, your pump might not be powerful enough to handle all the water following heavy rainfall or snowmelt. In such an instance, you’re likely to burn out the pump by running it non-stop or too frequently. Your pump is expected to burn out if the sump pit is too small. Since the water levels rise quickly, it triggers the pump to cycle on and off continuously. 

Correct sump pump sizing is critical if your home sits in a marsh area, has long-running pipes, or has a high vertical lift. A licensed plumber can help you get the correct pump size for your home and ensure proper installation. 

A Clogged or Frozen Discharge Pipe

The sump pump in your basement drains the groundwater around your foundation and protects your home from water damage. The pump empties the water through a discharge pipe and releases it away from your house or into a municipal storm pipe. 

  • Clogged drain: The groundwater pouring into the sump basin often contain debris and gunk that block the drain pipe. Small rocks, silt, dirt, silt, and other sediments often accumulate inside the line, reducing its diameter, and restricting water flow. Eventually, the accumulating gunk blocks the pipe, causing your basement to flood. Clogged drains cause water to leak through the floor and walls, saddling you with mold and a host of other wet basement problems. 
  • Frozen drainage pipes: A frozen drain line causes your pump to work and eventually burn out due to overheating. When the sump pump fails, you’re likely to have a flooded basement. The pump line is likely to freeze during winter if improperly buried. 

Typically, drain pipes freeze from the point where they touch the frost line to the end where they disperse the water. The ideal drainpipe comprises a sturdy, 2-inch PVC pipe without dips and curves. The pipe drain pipe should have a gentle slope to allow the water to drain away from your home. 

If you have a frozen drainage pipe problem, consider burying the pipe deeper into the ground or using a bigger, sturdier PVC pipe instead of the standard 1½-inch line. Covering the discharge pipe with a tarp can help insulate the pipe.

Sump Pump

Schedule a Sump Pump Inspection Today!

At Aquarium Home Services, we provide the best sump pump installation and repair services in Minnesota. You can count on your certified professionals with routine sump pump repair and maintenance, replacement, and installation. 

We back every sump pump installation with a 100% money-back performance guarantee. Our plumbing experts will test your sump pump to ensure it works flawlessly and show you how to operate it properly with every home visit. This way, you’ll never be caught off guard. 

Schedule your sump pump repair or maintenance today! 

Need a new sump pump? Get a new pump quote today!

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