It’s not even April and the Illinois Valley has already had its share of rain and melting snow. How did your basement fare? Was it dry as a bone or were you ankle deep in water, trying to fish out Christmas ornaments and cardboard boxes from the moat that was your basement?
Water in the basement is no laughing matter. It can cause serious damage to everything in your basement from furniture to furnaces and water heaters. The only line of defense is the walls of the basement and your sump pump.
How Your Sump Pump Works
You may know your sump pump is in the basement, but do you really know how it works? When water comes into your basement either through seepage in the walls, directly from an open window or up from the drains, it flows to the sump pump.
The basement is slightly graded, so water flows to either a drain or the sump pump. The pump is placed into a hole that fills with the water. It has a floater on it that once the water reaches a certain height, the pump turns on and sucks the water out to the storm sewer.
It’s a simple machine, but over time it can develop problems. It’s like any other piece of equipment and develops wear and tear. The difference is that you hardly think about the sump pump until something horrible happens.
It’s not until the water covers the air hole for your gas water heater and the pilot goes out or when the carpet in your finished basement is soaked and takes days to dry out, that you think about your sump pump.
Common Problems with Sump Pumps
You can save yourself the hassle and potentially thousands of dollars in damages by periodically checking and testing the pump. There are a few common problems you should watch out for.
- Ballast Problems – The ballast is what floats and determines when the pump turns on. Over time, the mechanism can malfunction leading to the pump not turning on when needed. You can check this by filling the sump pump hole with water and waiting for the ballast to turn the pump on.
- Clogged Pump – The bottom of the pump has grates that suck up the water. Over the years, dirt, debris, and slime can cover the grates and cause the pump to lose suction. This causes the motor to work harder and can damage the pump. Lift up the pump and remove any debris covering the grates.
- Clogged Pipe – The pump is connected to a pipe that goes to the storm sewer or to a spot in your yard. Occasionally, this pipe clogs and water can’t get through. It will say in your basement. If you suspect a clog, use a drain snake to unclog it or call a plumber.
- Pump Won’t Turn On – The pump has two plugs. One plugs into an outlet and the other into the plug. If you need to check to see if the pump is working, remove the second plug and plug it in directly to an outlet. This turns on the pump regardless of the water level. If it doesn’t turn on, then you might need a new pump.
Is it Time to Get a New Pump?
If your sump pump doesn’t work, call Town & Country and we’ll send out a plumber to evaluate the problem. It’s possible the old pump was too small for your needs or the pump simply malfunctioned. We’ll repair the pump if possible or we can replace it the pump with one that fits your needs best.
If you want to learn more about our many plumbing services, then feel free to explore our site.