Ah, spring. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the melting snow and rain are causing the groundwater levels to rise, putting you at risk of a flooded basement.
Most of us in Ottawa have a sump pump in our basement because we know how awful flooding and the resulting damage can be – especially if your sump pump clogged already!
But a lot of people don’t know that you need to have sump pump maintenance regularly to keep this potential disaster at bay.
There are several things that could go wrong with your sump pump. In fact, if not installed correctly, your sump pump can also cause damage instead of preventing it.
There are many ways to clog your sump pumps! One of the common reasons is that your sump pit is full of dirt and other debris. Especially if you have no cover on your sump pump, it is even more prone to clogging. The same can be said for sump pump installation that is done in a sump pit instead of a basin. The float switch and other mechanical parts can all become clogged, and jam, and will be a common answer to why it stopped working. Have your sump pump inspected to make sure the pedestal and sealed lid are all working properly and inspect it regularly to make sure to keep your sump pump running properly for years.
Sump pumps need to get the water out of the sump basin when the water level gets too high in order to prevent your basement from drowning, the motor pumps the water through a discharge pipe. If it is clogged by debris or ice, your sump pump stops working. Drain lines should be clean and protected, typically with a cover on the outlet pipe to make sure no critters crawl in and clog the line.
As with most other home appliances and plumbing services, the right size for your equipment is an important aspect! If it’s too small, your sump pump works constantly to pump out the water. If it’s too big for the size of your pit, it will fill up too quickly and turn on too frequently.
As usual, you get what you pay for-and sump pumps are no different. A cheap sump pump will use plastic and low-quality parts. These parts will fail and burn out, usually when you have heavy rainfall, and it gets overworked! We see cheap models with issues that wouldn’t affect a better quality model. Keep your home safe in the next storm by being sure you won’t have to deal with water damage by having a model from a reputable, high-quality brand.
No water in the sump pit means your sump pump install was done incorrectly. If the sump pump inlet isn’t in the right place, or the sump pit was dug in the wrong place it won’t fill with water. You need a professional to handle the installation of a new one.
As soon as your sump pump has lost power, you’re in trouble. It’s not uncommon for the rainstorm that has your pump working overtime to knock out your power as well. Power outages aren’t something you can control- so we recommend a battery backup system to keep your home protected. It will also keep you protected if your breaker trips or something happens to your electrical outlet.
If you’re in the middle of a storm, it’s not uncommon for your pump to turn on frequently, but constant running is a problem. It’s possible it’s the wrong size sump pump, but it could also mean that the float switch is stuck, keeping the motor running nonstop.
As we’ve mentioned, choosing the right sump pump is just as important as getting it installed properly. Without proper installation, you leave yourself open to the risks of it not working. We always recommend having professional installation help to make sure it is installed in the right location, for the right amount of standard water, so you can be sure your home’s foundation and basement are treated properly, and your home stays safe.
If you suspect or are experiencing any of these problems, call us today to avoid a potential disaster.
If you know anyone who’s had a flooded basement or had one yourself, you know that the resulting damage can cost thousands of dollars and take a long time to repair.
Sometimes the flood is so bad it creeps up to your main living space. They have an absolutely devastating effect on both homes and homeowners.
That’s why it’s not only important to have a sump pump but to have spring sump pump maintenance before something that devastating happens to you.
Before you call us for sump pump maintenance, there are a few things you can do.
A thorough inspection should always be the first step in your spring sump pump maintenance plan. If there’s anything cracked, or a part that’s broken, you should call us to come to take a look.
A sump pump most often has a check valve that keeps the water from coming back in, and a discharge line that the sump pump sends the water up and out of your basement.
If something happens to these, water is going to come gushing back in, causing flooding and mechanical issues with your sump pump. That would be a huge, costly mess.
We recommend going outside to where your discharge line empties out and clearing away any debris that might have built up around or inside the opening. Then inspect the check valve for any noticeable issues.
Please Note: Some sump pumps are connected to a sewer system to discharge the water. If that’s the case with your sump pump, have us make the inspection and check for clogs.
A sump pump should absolutely be tested before the big spring thaw, particularly if it hasn’t been in use in a while. The simplest way to do this is to fill a bucket with water, and pour it into your sump pump pit.
If your sump pump turns on right away and pumps out the water quickly, you’re in good shape. If you notice something isn’t working properly, move on to step 4.
If your sump pump isn’t working properly or needs to be replaced, it’s better to call us as early as possible, especially if you’re in an area that is prone to flooding. Our team of expert plumbers knows exactly what to look for, and can install high-quality replacements.
Tip: If you are replacing your sump pump, now is the perfect time to invest in a battery-operated backup pump. In bad storms, we can lose power, and a battery-operated sump pump will keep your basement dry when your regular sump pump can’t.
Now is the time to start your spring sump pump maintenance. Book with us today to beat the spring rush, and we’ll have you ready for flood season in no time.