Most homeowners don’t usually think about their sump pumps unless there’s an emergency situation underway, such as a big storm dumping an usually large amount of rain, ground water seeping up into your basement because the water table is high, or you’re experiencing a flooding issue from malfunctioning equipment such as a burst pipe or leaking water heater.  Sump pumps are generally small in size but a mighty BIG help when you need them.

Take it from The Coop!  Don’t take your sump pump for granted!  The lifespan of a sump pump is about 10 years depending upon the frequency of use and the quality of the equipment. It’s important to monitor your sump pump on a regular basis to make sure it’s ready to perform at its best when you need it, particularly as your sump pump gets older.  Here are my top 5 tell-tale signs that signal you may need sump pump repair or replacement:

  1. Cycles on/off constantly Here are the most common reasons why this happens:
    • The pump can’t keep up with the water load
    • The sump pump has been sized improperly
    • The sump pit isn’t large enough to handle the volume of water and it keeps running.
    • The check valve is broken. When it breaks, a portion of the water that has already been sucked up by the sump pump will flow back into the pit, causing it to keep cycling on/off.
    • More than 1 sump pump may be necessary to keep a basement with a high water table dry.
  2. Noisy sump pump. If your sump pump sounds louder than usual or is making an abnormal sound like gurgling, grinding or rattling, it most often means there’s a problem with the motor.
  3. Water is not being sucked up by the sump pump. This could indicate that dirt and/or debris may have penetrated and jammed a mechanical part of the pump, or something is blocking the drain pipe leading away from your house causing the water to back-up.
  4. No power. There are 4 things to look for including:
    • No power to the house
    • The pump is unplugged
    • The fuse has blown
    • Back-up battery is dead
  5. Running constantly. Usually, this happens when the float switch, the sensor that measures the amount of water in the pit and triggers the pump to turn on and off, is stuck on the “on” position and it won’t shut off until it’s replaced.

It’s easy to test your sump pump to make sure it’s working.  I inspect my own sump pump 4 times a year with the changing of the seasons.  Many sump pumps have a lid to keep out dirt and debris (which is good!)  Unscrew the lid and pour 5 gallons of water into the pump until the float rises.  The sump pump should turn on and pump out all the water.  Then it will automatically turn off.  Repeat and confirm the pump successfully turns on again and turns off.  It’s also a good idea to make sure the exterior drainpipe is clear of any dirt or debris that might clog it.  That’s all you have to do!

If you suspect that you have a problem or your sump pump is 10+ years of age, it’s wise to have it inspected by a professional plumber, like Cooper Mechanical, who will test your sump pump, diagnose any issues and if necessary, give you a proposal for sump pump repair or sump pump installation. And in an emergency situation, don’t hesitate to utilize our 24/7 emergency service by calling 610-847-2441.