If your sump pump is old, keep an eye out for these five indicators to determine whether it’s time to replace it.
SUMP PUMP IS ALWAYS RUNNING
No matter the weather or the level of the water, if your sump pump keeps running, there may be a serious problem with your pump. The sump pump’s motor is put under undue strain when it continues to run even after the basin has been completely empty of water. The pump can quickly overheat if it is operating without any water because the water helps cool the pump down. Your pump will overwork itself to the point of premature failure if this issue continues. Overextended sump pumps are a fairly common issue that can be caused by a number of different things. Incorrect sump pump size is one of the most common causes of an endlessly running pump. If the pump is too small for your basin, it won’t be able to move the water around as much as it should. When a pump is too big for the basin, it will have to work harder because the water will fill the basin more quickly and the pump may eventually run dry.
The occurrence of a float switch stuck in the “on” position is another frequent cause. Lightweight devices called float switches are made to float higher when the water level in the sump pit rises. The pump is triggered to turn on when the float switch reaches a specific height and to turn off when the water levels drop. In the event that the float switch becomes stuck or tangled, the pump can still function. The switch can be caught by wires, pipes, or debris, which will turn it to the on position. An incorrectly placed sump pump could move around in the basin, pressing the switch up against the pit’s wall and starting an endless loop. The switch may break, lose its connection to the power supply, or get stuck on the basin’s sides. Checking the float switch should be your first step if the pump is running nonstop.
An abnormally noisy motor on a sump pump is a sign that the motor is nearing its end of life. If your pump is an outdated plastic model, it’s time to upgrade to a new system. Think about replacing that pump with a self-lubricating cast-iron one. Both dependability and maintenance requirements are lower for these pumps. Additionally, cast-iron pumps have a lower chance of overheating, extending their lifespan and preserving them. Modern pumps can have their failing motor replaced without needing to have the entire pump replaced. Pedestal sump pumps are equipped with motors positioned around the basin, connected to the pump within via tubing. Because these pumps aren’t submerged, they typically last longer, but they also make a lot more noise. They have the ability to produce noise that echoes through your basement. Submersible sump pumps are more successful at preventing basement flooding because they are submerged in the water and last longer. They can also be sealed with an airtight lid, and they are quieter. This will reduce noise and mute the sound of the pump operating.
The best defense against clogged pump is to remove the debris that is entering the system. By using an airtight lid or grate to secure the sump pump basin, you can stop small animals, sticks, and stray leaves from falling into the pit. Additionally, it will shield the pump from being harmed by objects from your basement, such as tennis balls, tools, and nails and screws, rolling down into the pit and damaging it. If a downspout is used to deliver water to the sump pump, adding a screen to collect debris and leaves will prevent the pump from clogging up. Commonly referred to as iron ochre, bacterial iron is a slimy, gelatinous contaminant found in many groundwater supplies and wells. The cause of this dense orange substance is oxidized ferric iron, which can clog a variety of home appliances, including your sump pump. You might need to shock chlorinate your well water in order to remove bacterial iron from your water supply.
Something is definitely wrong with your pump when it is cycling in irregular bursts or taking too long to empty the water from the basin. An intermittent pump is frequently a sign of a malfunctioning check valve. The pump is being forced to continuously pump the same water since the water being displaced from the sump pit isn’t leaving the discharge line. Your pump may cut off for no apparent reason if there is loose wiring. Disconnect the pump and turn off the power if your pump cuts off for no apparent reason. Verify that all necessary connections have been made and that there are no loose wires by looking over the wiring. The pump may also be turned off by an electrical system that has shorted out.
Even though it makes sense that an older sump pump would last longer before failing than a new one, a lot of homeowners wait until it’s too late to replace their pumps. You might have forgotten how long the pump has been down there and put off routine maintenance if it has historically operated satisfactorily. It is not worth taking the chance of a failure if your pump is close to ten years old, regardless of its performance. The pump’s efficiency will drop after ten years of use, and the parts will eventually begin to deteriorate and fail. It is far less expensive and simpler to replace a pump than to renovate a basement that has suffered extensive water damage.