What are common issues with sump pumps, and how should they be addressed?

What are common issues with sump pumps, and how should they be addressed?

sump pumpDo you own a home that is situated in a low-lying area? Was it built on or near a marsh, or other wetlands? Perhaps you live in a part of the country where heavy snow tends melts rapidly when the weather warms up in the springtime? If you answered yes to any of these questions then your basement is at a great risk of flooding. The good news is you most likely have a sump pump already installed. The device removes the excess ground water before a drop of it hits your basement floor, leaving the home safe and dry. The bad news is that sump pumps have a tendency to break down, and most people only discover that when it causes a crisis. At this point you may be asking yourself what are common issues with sump pumps, and how should they be addressed? If you take the following three steps, it will greatly reduce the chances that your sump pump will fail when the ground water level rises.

Step One: Avoid Power Failure To The Sump Pump

The number one cause of sump pump failure is due to the loss of electricity. Sump pumps happen to be powered by electricity, so if the lights go out then your sump pump is also not working. What happens if the electricity is out and the ground water level is rising? The short answer is a flood in your basement, however there are a few things that you can do to avoid that from happening. If you happen to own a backup generator, in order to provide power to certain items in the house during electrical outages make sure that the sump pump is included. The other thing that you can do is to install a back up, battery powered sump pump. Either option is far less expensive then having a flood in your home.

Step Two: Make Sump Pump Maintenance A Priority

It is easy to forget about the sump pump. It is sitting in a pit in your basement after all. That being said, it is equally important to maintain the sump pump as any other major system in the home. It is highly recommended to run it every few months in order to make sure that everything is working properly. When you do test the sump pump go outside to ensure that it is actually pumping water out, then clean the air hole located in the discharge line. From the inside, make sure the float, located in the sump pump pit is working properly. You should also listen for any unusual noises when the motor is running. If you have a backup pump, make sure it is working properly by unplugging the main pump. Also replace the battery on the back up pump every couple of years to ensure it will work when called upon.

Step Three: Avoid Clogged Discharge Lines

If the discharge line is blocked or clogged with dirt, rocks, sticks, small animals, or other debris then the water that was discharged from you home has nowhere to go. This can absolutely lead to floods, but is easy to avoid. Simply protect the exit point of the discharge pipe by covering it with a grated cover. That way the water will be able to flow out without the unwanted animals or materials getting in.


Sump pumps are obviously machines, and much like any piece of equipment they can suffer mechanical failure. Sometimes that failure is out of our hands. However, if you follow the three steps as listed above it will significantly increase your odds of avoiding expensive flood damage. The bottom line is that it is well worth taking the time to protect your home.

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