Five Causes of Sump Pump Failure & What to Do

A sump pump is used to remove water that has collected in a water basin. They are commonly found in house basements and are extremely useful in areas that receive a lot of precipitation like North Vancouver, Langley, Burnaby or Surrey.

If you have a finished basement, then a sump pump is needed for removing excess water from around and within the structure. The water can flow into the water basin from drains and natural soil migration. Most sump pumps start automatically when the pressure sensor or float is activated by a certain level of water. The sump pump will pump the water, rerouting it to areas where it will not affect the structure of your home.

Five common causes of sump pump failure

  1. Improper installation 
    It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing a sump pump. Most manufacturers require the installation of a check valve on the discharge line. This valve prevents the pump impeller from rotating backwards and unscrewing itself from the shaft of the motor. If this happens, the pump will sound like it’s working, but it will not be pumping any water. It is also strongly recommended that the sump pump is not installed in a pit of gravel or dirt. These sump pits contain loose debris that can enter the pump and interfere with the pump’s on/off switch as well as with the float arm. Call your plumber right away if you think it has been installed incorrectly and they can asses your sump pump.
  2. Switch problems
    A common reason for a sump pump to not work adequately is that there is a problem with the switch. If the pump shifts its position within the basin, it renders the float ineffective. The float is directly linked to the proper function of the on/off switch. These two aspects of the pump work in tandem to ensure that the pump is working properly. You can call your Vancouver plumber to come and fix this for you.
  3. Poor maintenance
    Manufacturers recommend how often a sump pump should run. Scheduled maintenance varies depending on the make and model of the pump. Common recommended maintenance procedures include:
    • Unplugging the primary pump to ensure that the backup pump works properly, not all systems have a backup pump
    • Verifying that the sump pump is discharging water from the exterior of the house
    • Confirming that nothing is restricting the float
      Proper maintenance is key for smooth operation and long life of your sump pump.
  4. Frozen or clogged discharge lines
    A sump pump’s discharge line has to be free of any obstructions for the water to exit. It is important to keep the discharge line protected to avoid animals entering the line and debris accumulation. A grated covering can help protect the line. If you want to prevent ice and snow buildup within the line, you have the option of installing a grated covering that includes a discharge line attachment.This special attachment is placed on the line near the house and provides multiple exit points for water to escape.
  5. Defective product
    It is possible that a sump pump is defective directly from the manufacturer. It is always recommended to test the sump pump as soon as it has been installed to ensure it is working properly. Call the manufacturer directly if you think there is a defect.

Should you be experiencing issues with your sump pump in the North Vancouver area, our expert plumbers can help determine the problem. At Hillcrest Plumbing and Heating, we provide sump pump installation and replacement services. If you have any emergency issues or need to have your pump repaired or replaced, contact one of our experts.

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