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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Has My Sump Pump Failed and What Can I Do About It?

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

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It’s a sight a homeowner never wants to experience: a basement floor covered in several inches of water and the eerie silence of an idle sump pump. A failing sump pump is a wet and often expensive mess. But these telltale signs can help you prevent flooding and preserve your property.

How a Sump Pump Works

A sump pump is a pump that’s installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. As its name implies, a sump pump’s job is to pump water in order to help the area under the building stay dry and prevent it from flooding. Most sump pumps are installed in specially constructed pits. When water collects in these pits, it’s pumped out and away from the building.

Given this important “stay-dry” job, it’s obvious that a failing sump pump often leads to a flooded basement and expensive water damage. Unfortunately, even less than an inch of standing water on your basement floor can quickly transform into property damage and a mold problem.

Know the Signs, Spare Your Property

The SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County staff shares their tips about what causes sump pump failure and what you can do to prevent or minimize water damage:

  • The sump pump switch is stuck in place. A stuck switch is one of the most common reasons why a sump pump fails. There are several different types of sump float switches—vertical and tethered floats are most common. Vertical floats are often more reliable, as tethered floats have a habit of getting stuck on the side walls of the sump pit. Debris in the pit is the main reason why floats get stuck. You can check the float by shutting the sump pump’s power OFF and removing any debris in the pit.  
  • The power is out. Just like a dishwasher or washing machine, if your sump pump has no power source, it’s not going to work. In the case of a severe storm, a power outage can lead to a flooded basement quickly. That’s why it may be wise to invest in a high quality battery back-up sump pump. When charged properly, this battery backup system operates a separate pump linked to the discharge pipe for hours of protection until your power is restored. Some backup pumps even monitor the battery’s condition and alert you when it needs to be replaced.
  • Your sump pump is not the right size. Much like a water heater, there are different sum pumps for different performance demands. It’s best to consult with a plumbing professional to make sure your sump pump is the proper horsepower to keep up with your home’s or business’ flow of water.  
  • Your sump pump is aging and needs replacement. Sump pumps are not built to last forever. In fact, it’s recommended that sump pumps are replaced every five to seven years to ensure they’re operating effectively and keeping your property dry.
  • The discharge pipe is frozen. Frozen pipes throughout homes are a particular concern given our harsh Wisconsin winters. With regards to a sump pump, the discharge pipe is an issue if it’s not installed and pitched properly. This then causes water to collect, freeze, and eventually block it from flowing. 

From Sump Pumps to Storm Damage, Rely on Our Expertise

Basement flooding from sump pump failure is serious—that’s why your local SERVPRO experts are here when you need us. Call us 24/7 at 414-421-3500. Or depend on us for other repair, restoration, and cleaning services for your home or business.

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