Three Problems That Can Keep Your Sump Pump From Doing Its Job


Heavy rainfall from storms or rapidly melting snows can be a source of flooding in basements or crawl spaces. Standing water in either situation can cause water damage that is not covered under standard homeowner’s insurance. A sump pump can automatically eliminate standing water in these situations by pumping out the excess water into septic tanks or other areas suitable for drainage.

Even though it’s automatic, a sump pump can have problems that keep it from operating properly. Since it is a mechanical device, three common problems can occur that interrupt service:

  1. Power outages are common problems during violent storms. When these occur, they normally bring heavy amounts of rain into basements. A battery back-up system using an automotive battery can be wired in to keep your sump pump operating, even when you don’t have electrical power. Having a battery back-up system can also prevent serious water damage until power is restored.
  2. Poor installation can cause switching problems. A unit that is not level can result in a pump shift, and the unit won’t come on as it should. A unit that is not level can cause the float, which operates the automatic switch, to get stuck and never cut the switch to begin pumping.
  3. Air-locks can be responsible for water never draining from the sump basin. Your unit may run, but a vacuum blocks the flow of the water due to the air-lock. Drilling a small hole into the basin drain pipe can create a vent for air to discharge and continue the outward flow. A tiny amount of water may also come through the hole in the pipe but it will eventually drain out as well.

To be sure your sump pump functions properly, make sure your basin is the right size for the float system to operate at peak capacity. An 18-inch diameter with a 22-inch depth is recommended for the best operation of your sump pump.

If you need professional sump-pump installation, contact our plumbing staff at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Or, if you have questions about protecting your basement or crawlspace, call us. We’ll be happy to give you the answers you’re looking for.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about sump pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.

Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning serves the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts. Visit our website to see our special offers to get started today!

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