If you have a basement, a sump pump is a vital part of keeping your home safe. A sump pump usually sits idly by, waiting for water to fill it and activate it. When a sump pump malfunctions, you may not know it immediately. Regular maintenance from a professional like those at Ideal Basement Waterproofing can help so that you’re not left high and dry when you need your sump pump the most.

What are the top reasons sump pumps break? Keep reading to learn some of the main causes of sump pump failure.

A Jammed Float Switch
One of the most common mechanical problems with a sump pump is a jammed or stuck float switch. The way a sump pump works is that when the water level reaches a certain point in the sump pit, the float switch is triggered, the sump pump turns on, and the water drains out of the pit.

There are a few things that can cause the float switch to become jammed. The vibration of the sump pump can cause it to shift inside the pit and become lodged against the side of the pump. Another problem is that debris can accumulate and keep the float switch in an “on” position. If either of these problems occur, the sump pump will keep running constantly or stop running altogether if the motor burns up.

A Clogged Sump Pump
If your sump pump activates but the pit does not empty, the pump may be clogged by debris. Placing your submersible sump pump on a pedestal that sits above the area where debris collects in the sump pit will help prevent clogging.

Another way to keep debris and other foreign objects out is to cover the sump pump pit with a tightly sealed lid. Not only will this help keep your sump pump pit free of dirt and debris, but it will also ensure the safety of kids and pets, who might fall into an uncovered sump pump pit.

A Discharge Line Problem
Discharge lines can freeze in the winter or become filled with debris. If either of these problems occur, water will flow back down the discharge line and into your basement.

While you can’t keep your lines from freezing, you can take steps to mitigate the problems freezing lines will cause. Install a grated discharge line attachment that will allow water to exit your basement even if the main discharge line is frozen.

To prevent your discharge pipe from clogging, install grates at the end of the discharge pipe. This will keep debris and small animals or rodents from finding their way into the line.

A Check Valve Problem
The check valve is found inside the discharge line, and it works to keep water away from your basement once it has passed through the valve. If the check valve is broken, the water will come back down the line and into your house, and your sump pump will run constantly.

Power Failure
Power failure can occur when strong storms knock out the electricity, a circuit breaker gets flipped, or if the sump pump gets unplugged. Without power, your sump pump is useless. Investing in a battery-powered backup generator that will kick in when your power goes out is a must if you have a basement.

An Overwhelmed Sump Pump
If your house lies on top of an underground spring or you experience heavy rains, your sump pump might not have the capacity or horsepower to keep up with the amount of water pouring into your basement.

The quality of your sump pump matters. The most durable sump pumps have cast-iron housing. Sump pumps with plastic housing tend to be less expensive, but they break down often, overheat easily, and do not have enough capacity to handle the amount of water pouring into the pit. In some cases, you might need a second sump pump installed in another corner of your basement.

You’ll also want to consider the size of your sump pit. If it is too small for the amount of water being collected, the pump will run more frequently, which could burn out the motor.

Foundation Drains
Your sump pump relies on a foundation drainage system to collect water and divert it to the sump pump pit. French drains are often used for this purpose. A French drain is a perforated pipe buried by the foundation footing. Because they are buried underground, they can get clogged with mud or even collapse. Sometimes, French drains are not installed correctly, so the angle at which the water flows doesn’t direct the water to the sump pit. Older homes sometimes have no foundation drainage at all.

If you have a working sump pump but still have leaks in other area of your basement, your foundation drainage system may be at fault. Adding an internal drainage system along the interior of your basement walls will act like a French drain but will be much easier to service.

Get Help from Ideal Basement Waterproofing
Whether it’s basement waterproofing, sump pump installation or repair, or foundation repair, Ideal Basement Waterproofing offers a variety of services to correct basement and foundation problems. Contact us today for a free quote!