Sump pump failed? Don't panic! What to do for common failures

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Sump pumps keep ground water from flooding the basement of your home. If a sump pump fails, water still...

Sump pumps keep ground water from flooding the basement of your home. If a sump pump fails, water still collects in the sump hole, but the water can't be pumped out. Knowing what to do in case of failure is your best defense against basement flooding.

Failure from an overwhelmed pump

If you have a small pump, or an unreliable one, it can be overwhelmed by a significant amount of groundwater. To prevent failure, install a sturdy high-power pump and a battery back-up pump. If failure has already occurred, install a backup pump and consider upgrading your main pump after you have cleaned the flood damage.

Failure from water not entering sump pit

If your pump is functioning, but no water is entering the sump pit, it's possible that your sump pump was improperly installed. Review how to install a sump pump or consult an Atlanta plumbing professional.

Failure from clogging or freezing

Pump failure can occur from clogged pumps and switches, frozen lines or clogged discharge lines. Dirt and debris can enter the pit, particularly if your sump pit doesn't have a lid.

A pump that's placed directly against the bottom of the pit can also pick up debris. A clogged float switch can hinder the operation of the pump. The float switch tells the pump when there's water in the pit that needs to be pumped out.

Frozen or clogged lines mean the system can't get rid of the water it's trying to pump out.

In all of these cases, you should consider cleaning and properly re-installing your sump pump system. Install a cover over the end of the discharge line and an ice protection device at the beginning of the line to keep water flowing. These additions should prevent clogged and frozen lines in the future.

Failure from power loss

If your pump fails due to power loss, make sure it's properly plugged in and it's getting power from the outlet. In order to prevent power loss failure in the case of storm power outage, install a battery backup pump.

Potential failure from running continuously

If your pump is running without stopping, it will eventually fail. Several factors can cause your pump to run without end. A stuck float switch, a continuously flooding sump pit, an under-powered pump or a broken check valve can all cause your pump to run without stopping.

For a flooding pit, you may want to raise your pump to a higher level. The other possibilities require repairs or replacement parts for your system.

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