Why is My Sump Pump Not Working?

Why is My Sump Pump Not Working?

Underneath every mold and moisture-free basement, a sump pump is successfully forcing water away from the foundation. As one of the most important home features in the fight against basement flooding, understanding how your sump pump works will prepare you to identify and solve many of the most common issues. Before a minor water issue becomes a major disaster, take a few minutes to learn about these sump pump basics and stay a step ahead of avoidable flooding, mildew, and structural damage. 

How Sump Pumps Function

Sump pumps are installed inside of a sump pit at the lowest section of your basement or crawlspace. Depending on the location of the property, gravity or drainage channels are installed alongside the foundation to direct accumulating water towards the pit.

Once the pit begins to fill with water, the pump system will automatically activate after receiving an alert from the sensor system. Using either a floating or pressure sensor, a predetermined level of water will trigger the system to activate the impeller motor. 

In both submersible and pedestal sump pumps, the motor/pump pushes the accumulated water from within the pit out through a discharge pipe. Utilizing the power of centrifugal force, water is forced through the piping and away from the foundation. After the water has been pushed through the discharge pipe, a check valve installed along the piping prevents dirty water from flowing back into the system.   

The main difference between a submersible and pedestal pump is the placement of the motor and pump system. In submersible systems, a waterproof containment unit houses the entirety of the system, resulting in quieter operation and more expensive units. With a pedestal system, the motor and pump sit atop the unit, producing a more noticeable sound while performing the same basic functions. Some systems include manually operated pump mechanisms, a backup battery supply, and/or a combination of both to ensure basement drainage is possible during power outages or motor failures. 

Diagnosing Sump Pump Failures

Fortunately, since sump pump mechanisms are relatively simple devices, most sump pump problems also entail relatively simple fixes. Here are a few of the main reasons that sump pumps fail: 

  • Discharge Pipe Freezing & Blockages: Both the exit port and the intake portion of the discharge pipe can become blocked. Before contacting our team for a sump pump repair in Mercer County, NJ, go outside and visibly inspect the exit portion of the piping. Clear any debris that may be clogging the exit, remove any accumulated ice, and in most cases, the unit should begin to function again.  If the exterior port is clear and the system is still not functioning properly, you may have a blockage deeper with the line, the check valve may have become damaged, or dirt/debris may have become lodged within the pump itself. If this is the case, our experts offer comprehensive line clearing assistance and will troubleshoot every other component while we’re there. 
  • Electrical Failures: If your pump does not have a backup battery supply, any power failure equals a sump pump failure. With certain models, you can use a hand pump and a hose to begin manually extracting the water. To avoid this potentially flood-like situation, our sump pump installations in Montgomery County, PA can include state-of-the-art backup battery systems to shield your home from extended power outages. 
  • Sensor Failures: Sometimes a blocked, dirty, or damaged floating or pressure sensor will prevent the pump from activating. To diagnose a float sensor issue, hold the float arm up and the pump should activate after about 10 seconds. Diagnosing a pressure sensor can be more complex, so give us a call and we’ll help you figure it out. 
  • Motor & Pump Failures: Whether your motor has burned out or the pump mechanism was somehow damaged, most mechanism failures require a professional repair or complete replacement. Our professionals provide comprehensive troubleshooting, provide brand-specific component replacements, and offer turn-key system replacements if your aging system is beyond repair. 

Maintain & Repair Your System Today

Sometimes a simple system cleaning and line clearing are all that you need. Other times, a more involved fix or replacement is the solution. However simple or complex your sump pump problem is, we’re here to simplify the fix, refresh your system, and offer a variety of cost-effective options if you do need a new system. Give our helpful technicians a call the moment you notice an issue, and we’ll be there to help within the hour. 

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