The winter season is just about here and that means snow, ice, and sleet. The upcoming holidays already put enough stress on your plumbing, that it’s easy to forget about one very important appliance in the basement. Your sump pump works to relocate excess water away and out of your basement, preventing flooding and other structural water damage. While battling to stay warm and keep your house intact, it’s easy to overlook one appliance, but a damaged sump pump could mean a literal ice rink in your basement. Here are some signs to look for when considering sump pump repair.
How to Catch the Problem Early
Catching the problem early, especially when it comes to your home’s plumbing, can be tricky. The good news is that there are plenty of warning signs from a sump pump in need of repair. A little excess water in your basement might be tempting to overlook, but even the smallest of problems eventually become large and expensive repairs. A flooded basement is easy to avoid, and you can do so by watching for the following warning signs.
- Strange noises. Normally the only sound a sump pump makes is a low continuous hum, but if it starts making loud and unusual noises, then it’s time for a sump pump repair. A rattling or grinding noise can indicate something wrong with the impeller or fan.
- Failure to turn on. If your sump pump won’t turn on, it could be a number of things. Make sure you first check to see if the float switch is stuck, as it may have simply got itself tangled in the sump basin. Some sump pumps have brackets that hold the float switch, that can break and be the culprit. If neither seems to solve the problem, then it’s time for a replacement.
- Pump runs continuously. If you start to notice your sump pump is cycling constantly, it could indicate a number of problems. It might simply not be powerful enough to handle all the water that’s accumulated, or there could be a faulty switch. A switch problem is usually the common culprit for a sump pump that runs continuously and can be solved with a simple sump pump repair. If your sump pump is too small however, then you’ll need to replace it.
- Constant vibrating. The impeller, which is what draws water into the sump pump, can also draw in debris. A sump pump that vibrates excessively could be a sign of a damaged impeller. A bent impeller unfortunately can’t be repaired. If your sump pump impeller is bent, it will need to be replaced.
- Infrequent usage. While limited use of a sump pump is usually a good thing, it can also drastically shorten the pump’s shelf life. Frequently testing your sump pump between heavy rains is a good way to detect any potential problems.
- Visible rust. Your sump pump works with water and naturally that means it can deal with some rust. If you find rust on your sump pump, it could be caused by a corroded battery or bacteria, which in some cases if left untreated can eventually clog your plumbing. If you see rust, your sump pump needs a repair immediately.
- Old age. Unlike other major appliances like your furnace or water heater, your sump pump isn’t built to last long. No matter how well maintained your sump pump is, it will break down over time. If your sump pump is over seven years old, it’s time to replace it.
- Motor problems. If the sump pump stops working entirely, it could be an issue with the motor. A motor that doesn’t work can be an issue with damaged wiring, the device somehow got itself unplugged, or it tripped the circuit breaker. A failed motor could also be a sign of a damaged filter or an extension hose that can’t properly drain the water.
- No water in the sump pump pit. If your sump pump appears to be working normally, but you notice there is no water in the pit, you’re in need of a sump pump repair. A running sump pump with a dry pit usually means there was improper installation or the sump pump isn’t hooked up to the drainage system.
- Tripped circuits. Your sump pump runs on electricity, but it should never trip your circuit breaker unless there was a problem. A sump pump that constantly trips the circuit breaker could be caused by a damaged switch, damaged wiring, or an insufficient power source. Only a licensed plumber, however, can determine the exact cause of the problem.
Don’t Forget Your Sump Pump this Winter
It’s easy to forget about the super handy and important appliance in your basement when you’re concerned about your plumbing freezing or your roof leaking, but proper sump pump maintenance is crucial for a warm and happy winter. If your sump pump is in need of repair, you’ll need professional help. A licensed plumber can’t not only detect the problem but ensure your sump pump works as it should. Keep your home dry this holiday season and schedule a sump pump inspection today.
If you have plumbing problems, call the experts at Windy City Rooter to schedule your service!