Unfortunately, you don’t usually find out a sump pump has failed unless it is too late. Some sump pumps are equipped with alarms to let you know if the system is not working—but then what? Unless there’s a simple solution to the problem, you’re left with a flooded basement.
However, you may be able to prevent problems with your sump pump simply by knowing what to look for. Follow our tips for sump pump maintenance and replacement, and call a helpful plumber in Plymouth, MN for more information.
Here’s what you should look during an inspection
We tell customers to inspect their sump pumps every 3-4 months, at minimum. In fact, if you’ve had a lot of problems with flooding or sump pump failure in the past, it’s worth it to run a quick test once a month.
- Check the outside drain. Make sure nothing is in the way of water draining into the yard, and clear out debris from the outlet. Call a plumber if you encounter any troubles.
- Look for obvious signs of damage. If the unit has fallen over, the float valve is stuck, or you see cracks in the pump, call in a plumber.
- Clean the screen. If the pump itself has an intake screen, you may need to clear this of debris.
- Test with water. Fill up a bucket of water and only pour enough into the sump pit to raise the float valve. If the system won’t turn on, you’ve got a problem.
Keep in mind that sump pumps only last about 10 years
That’s right, your sump pump will only last for about 10 years—and even that is not guaranteed. The lifespan of your particular unit depends on how often you use it (how high your water table is and where your home is located). It also depends on how well you take care of it. Still, we recommend you replace your sump pump before it fails for good, so that you know your pump will run when you need it most.
Picking out a new sump pump involves careful thought
You may think that you can select just any pump and it will work as well as the next, but it’s important to put some thought into the process. Choosing a sump pump is not like picking out a new toaster. You should look for features that prevent your home from flooding by preventing the pump from breaking when you really need it. Features such as these can extend the working condition of your sump pump.
- A cast iron base (Not plastic.)
- A reliable float valve (More reliable than an electronic pressure switch for activation.)
- Alarm system
- The right design for your needs (Would you rather a submersible pump to stay out of sight and out of earshot? Or a pedestal pump with a longer lifespan?)
You probably need some backup
Many homeowners find they actually need multiple sump pumps to keep the basement dry. Often, they are sold and installed together as a set, intended to be side by side. On a rainy day, you may need the second system in place to kick in. On any case, any homeowner should have a battery backup or a water-powered backup in case the power goes out. A battery backup can have up to two days of power stored, while water-powered backups have no limitations in case of emergency.