Sump Pump Troubleshooting


Reason for a Sump Pump

Before discussing the sump pump troubleshooting tips lets discuss the reason for a sump pump to be installed. All homes have drainage issues of one type or another. Some drainage issues are rain fall, ground water, drainage from other homes and lots or broken utility services. To deal with these issues, builders install piping around the lowest point of the home foundation to redirect the water. This prevents cracking in the foundation walls and interior walls. It’s when these preventative measures fail that a sump pump system is needed. Next lets discuss the correct way to install a sump pump system.

Sump Pump Installation

One more thing before the free sump pump troubleshooting tips. How a sump pump works and how a sump pump is installed will help with your full understanding of the system and sump pump troubleshooting tips. The way a sump pump works is based on gravity and water finding its own level. A hole, lower than the point in the home to be protected, is dug. Not too far from an electrical outlet. This usually involves breaking and repairing concrete in a basement floor. A sump pit, which just looks like a plastic garbage can, needs to be riddled with holes smaller than the rocks that will surround it. This basically makes it a cylindrical colander. The sump pit is set inside the hole so that it is flush with the finished floor. Then rock, usually a cheap landscaping rock larger than the holes drilled throughout the sump pit, is placed around the pit up to within a few inches of finished floor. This prevents mud from clogging the holes and allows concrete to be replaced around the sump pit. Then replace concrete around the pit. A quality sump pump is then placed in the pit. Discharge piping is installed with a check valve to prevent water from flowing backwards when the sump pump shuts off. This piping is run from the pump to the exterior of the home. This will involve drilling a hole just above the sill plate of the home and sealing around the pipe with expansion foam. The discharge is then run to the yard at least three feet away from the home to allow the water to flow naturally away.

Here are some basic sump pump requirements:

  • A dedicated electrical circuit – This is code but not always possible.
  • A GFI outlet – A code requirement.
  • Properly sized motor –  A larger home needs a larger pump.
  • Secured discharge piping –This avoids piping crackings.
  • Secured electrical cord – A loose cord can jam a float.
  • 3/16 hole drilled just below the check valve – Increases the lifespan of your pump.

Sump Pump Troubleshooting Tips

The following are the promised free sump pump troubleshooting tips:Sump Pump Troubleshooting Tips - Plumbers In Blue Springs - Advocate Master Plumbing

Sump Pump won’t come on

  1. Check that the electrical breaker hasn’t tripped.
  2. Check that the sump pump float hasn’t gotten hung up.
  3. Pull the sump pump and check that a rock hasn’t lodged in the impeller.
  4. If it’s cold, check that the exterior discharge piping hasn’t plugged with ice and overloaded the sump pump thermal protection switch.

 Excessive Sump Pump Noise

  1. Check that the discharge piping hasn’t come apart in the pit.
  2. The discharge piping may not be secured enough or be vibrating too much where it’s been installed. An insulator of some sort may need to be installed.
  3. The sump pump may be old and the bearings wearing out.

Intermittently Working

  1. The float may be getting hung up on the side of the sump pump pit or electrical cord. It could also be placed directly under the drain tile. This sometimes allows the force of the incoming water to hold down the float.
  2. Usually it’s a failing switch. It’s time for a new sump pump.

Foul Odors

  1. Rodents sometimes fall into the pits and die.
  2. Old water rotting instead of evaporating.
  3. Sewage from a broken drain pipe under the house.
  4. Oil from the sump pump. This happens sometimes just before it fails.

I hope these free sump pump troubleshooting tips have been helpful. Advocate Master Plumbing wants to be a customer advocate, not salesman. If you’re tired of the big company runaround and want a local Blue Springs resident to help with your home plumbing issues come check us out on Facebook or Yelp! The next free sump pump troubleshooting tips will be about battery back up sump pump systems.