Why did my sump pump fail?


There are a handful of things that can go wrong with your sump pump. First, it must be installed correctly for it to work correctly. The should be placed at the lowest part of your basement, not in gravel or dirt, for the water to make its way to the pump. It should be installed according to the manufacturer’s directions, with the discharge line leading away from the house to a drain. It is crucial that the right size of pump is installed. Too small a pump will get overwhelmed by the amount of water it has to drain, where too large a pump will work too hard and eventually give out.

Was it an electrical problem?

Often the cause of sump pump failure is an electrical problem. If there is too much water around the pump, it can short out, so be sure to have a circuit interrupter to avoid electrocution. If the power to your pump has been lost, you may need to reset the circuit. It may have simply come unplugged. Because loss of electricity can cause problems with your  pump, keeping a back-up generator on hand might be a good idea. The problem might be with the mechanical switch, which is connected to the float and sensor. You will also want to check that the one-way check valve is in tact, ensuring that water is not re-entering your home.

Is it possible my sump pump lines froze?

Especially in Toronto’s climate, it is possible that the lines froze. Likewise, they may be clogged. If water cannot exit through the discharge lines, it will remain in your home. This could be the root of your sump pump problem. Be sure to keep your discharge lines and exit point clear of debris. You can install a grated discharge pipe attachment to allow for alternate discharging.

How can I maintain my sump pump?

Keeping your pump in good condition is the best way to avoid these types of failures. If you have a serious problem, you should call in a plumber, but most maintenance can be done yourself. You can run vinegar through your sump pump to keep the lines clean and clear. Check on the pipes and their drainage point regularly to make sure they’re free from obstructions. The float switch is also an important part to keep an eye on: make sure nothing is hindering it from activating the motor of the pump when the sensor signals it to do so. Keep all mechanical parts of the pump in good condition to avoid costly repairs. If unsure, run tests on the pump to make sure it works when it should.

When is it time to get a new sump pump?

At some point, your sump pump may just be old and need replacing. On average, sump pumps last seven years. If you take good care of yours, it may last longer. If none of these issues seems to be the cause of your sump pump failure, it might be time to retire your pump and get a new one.

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