If you have a basement that is prone to taking on water, your basement sump pump could easily be considered one of the most valuable things in your house. To find out that your sump pump has suddenly failed will most likely mean that you get to come home to a basement full of water unexpectedly. However, if you are an attentive homeowner, you will catch problems far before a flooded basement happens. Here are a few of the most common problems with basement sump pumps that you should be able to tackle on your own.
Problem: The pump sounds like it's working but it is barely pumping any water.
Cause: Thankfully, this is usually an easy problem to fix. If the pump is running but the water is hardly being eliminated as fast as it should be, your inlet line may be clogged or blocked. Pull the sump pump from the collection pit and remove the extended inlet line. If there is a clog, you will likely be able to spot it and clear it out with a long wire or long-handled scrubber that is small enough to fit through the line.
Problem: The pump is running continuously even when there is no water to be eliminated.
Cause: Once the water in the collection pit is eliminated, the sump pump should shut off. However, if it does not, your pump float is probably stuck, which will cause the pump to react like there is still water to be expelled. Check the float flange for debris that may be causing it to stick and clean it. Oil the hinge of the flange with a spray lubricant to encourage it to move freely with changes in water levels.
Problem: The sump pump motor is extremely noisy.
Cause: Sump pumps may not be whisper quiet, but they definitely should not be so loud that you can hear them all over the house. If your sump pump is making a lot of noise when in operation, it is a good indication that something is wrong. Check the impeller for signs of damage or breakage because this will be the most common cause, but a noisy pump could also be related to the pump being overactive and sucking air into the lines. If you do spot damage to the impeller, order a replacement from the sump pump manufacturer. However, if your sump pump is getting a lot of air, the intake line may just need to be lowered down into the pit further.
For more tips, contact the company who did your sump pump installation. They'll be familiar with your set-up and can offer useful advice.