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Sump Pump Failures: Everything You Need To Know

Sump pumps are an essential plumbing component in many homes, especially areas prone to flooding or high groundwater levels. They work tirelessly to move water out and away from properties and prevent indoor flooding and water damage. 

Unfortunately, like any mechanical device, sump pumps can fail – often when needed the most. Worse, a sump pump failure can quickly lead to other issues, such as water damage and mold. 

On the bright side, understanding how sump pumps work and why they malfunction can help you keep your equipment in good working order and address issues before they lead to headaches and costly repairs. 

How Do Sump Pumps Work? 

A sump pump’s primary purpose is to keep the area under your home dry and to prevent flooding. Water flows into a sump pit through drains or by natural water migration through the soil. The sump pump then activates automatically when the water level in the pit reaches a certain height, pumping the excess water out and away from your home to a designated drainage area. 

Causes of Sump Pump Failure 

So, what causes sump pumps to fail? Understanding the most common causes of equipment failure can help you stay one step ahead and safeguard your home.  

  • Power Failure 

Most sump pumps depend on electricity to operate. Without a backup power source, such as a battery or generator, your pump will stop working during a power cut – which is also often when you need it most, like during a heavy storm. 

Consider installing a sump pump failure alarm. This device alerts you when the system stops working so you can act quickly when it happens. 

  • Improper Installation 

Even the slightest mistake in the installation process can lead to pump failure and, in worst cases, basement flooding. Whether it’s a poorly positioned float switch or incorrect plumbing connections, these errors can be costly. 

  • Wrong Sump Pump Size 

A pump that’s too small won’t handle the volume of water during heavy rains, leading to overflow. Meanwhile, a pump that’s too large will work harder than necessary, resulting in premature wear and failure. 

  • Switch Problems 

The float switch is the component that tells your equipment when to start pumping out water and when to stop. However, if it’s hindered by debris or tangled in the pump’s wiring, it won’t be able to trigger the pump to start when it should. 

Switches can also become locked in the on or off position. If constantly on, the pump might burn out. If it’s stuck on the off position, your basement may be one heavy rain away from an unwelcome indoor pool.

  • Overwhelmed Pump 

Kansas City weather can sometimes bring more rain than your sump pump can handle. If your pump isn’t the right size or horsepower for your home, it could quickly become overwhelmed and unable to expel water as fast as it comes in. 

  • Lack of Maintenance 

Similar to any mechanical system, sump pumps require regular inspection and maintenance to function effectively. Routine checks allow you to detect problems before they escalate into major issues. These inspections may include testing the sump pump and checking the pit for debris or blockage. 

With this said, it’s still wise to have a professional inspect, clean, and service your sump pump periodically. Besides spotting issues you might miss, they can also take preventative measures to ensure your equipment remains reliable. 

Can You Prevent Sump Pump Failures? 

The good news is that many cases of equipment failure can be prevented. Moreover, heeding these practical tips can help you keep your sump pump working correctly.

  • Invest in a backup system. Add a battery backup or a water-powered sump pump to your system to ensure continuous operation during power outages. 
  • Regular cleaning. At least once a year, clean out your sump pit, check the pump’s intake, and remove any debris that might obstruct the pump’s action. 
  • Enlist professional inspections. Have your sump pump professionally inspected at least once a year to catch any issues early and prevent potential problems. 

What To Do If Your Sump Pump Fails 

If your sump pump isn’t working, check for the obvious issues first: power supply problems, a clogged intake screen, or a stuck float switch. These often require simple fixes to get your pump back up and running. 

If troubleshooting doesn’t solve the issue, it’s best to call your local pump maintenance experts as soon as possible. They can diagnose the problem accurately and perform the necessary repairs or replacements. 

It’s also wise to check if your policy coverage includes sump pump failure insurance. This item can protect you from costly repairs, especially if the equipment failure leads to extensive water damage in your home. 

Don’t Wait Until Problems Arise – Schedule Your Sump Pump Maintenance and Cleanup Today

Sump pump failures can be stressful, but being informed and prepared can help you prevent them and the damage they can bring to your home. Regular maintenance, a reliable sump pump failure alarm, and a backup pump are your best defenses against unexpected disasters. 

Keep your sump pump in top condition and avert serious water disasters with Restoration 1 of Kansas City. As your trusted experts in sump pump maintenance and cleanup, we’ll have your equipment checked and promptly address any issues we find. Call 816-253-8634 to schedule your service today.