Your sump pump works away keeping excess water out of your basement…until the day it doesn’t…. and you find a flooded mess when you walk downstairs! We want to help you avoid this nightmare by sharing 6 sump pump mistakes most commonly made by homeowners.
Mistake #1 Not Making Sure the Sump Pump is Plugged In!
Yes, this seems like common sense, but you would be surprised by the number of basements that sustain water damage simply because the pump was not plugged in! Basements are often the home of seasonal decor or things we don’t want to get rid of but also don’t have somewhere to store elsewhere. All of these boxes can easily knock a plug loose. If you have a finished or semi-finished basement where you and your family hang out, the pump may be unplugged temporarily so something else can be plugged in. It is often then forgotten to be plugged back in and when the next big rainfall happens, you realize the mistake. Be sure to check periodically if your pump is in fact plugged in and plugged into a working outlet.
Mistake #2 The Check Valve is Pointing in the Wrong Direction
The check valve on a sump pump is a line that keeps water from flowing back into the pump once the pump has shut off. It only allows the water to move in one direction. The arrow should be pointing away from your pump. Once your pump has moved the designated amount of water out it shuts off. There is a small amount of water left in the line. If the check valve is pointed in the wrong direction, then the water left in the line will fall back down due to gravity and signal the pump to begin pumping again when in reality it has done its job. Over time this can cause the pump to burn out. Checking to make sure the valve is in the correct position will ensure that your pump works correctly as long as possible.
Mistake #3 Too Little Space for the Float Switch
The float switch is the part of your sump pump that senses the water level. When signaled by rising water it then opens a circuit to make the sump pump begin working. Think of the float switch as the brain of your pump. If there is too little room for the float switch to move or if something is blocking or obstructing it, then the pump will not be signaled to turn on no matter the level of rising water. Make sure the area around the float switch is free and clear to move as needed.
Mistake #4 Letting Debris Build Up
Your sump should be placed on rocks or gravel at least the size of a dime. Anything smaller, especially with silt or smaller rocks, could easily be sucked up and cause problems with the pump. Keeping the pump clear of debris will also keep your check valve flowing properly. Check the area around the sump pump regularly and clean if needed.
Mistake #5 Not Testing Your Sump Pump
Depending on where your basement sits in relation to the water table, your sump pump may run constantly. In other homes, the pump only activates during times of heavy rains. Some basements have a sump pump in place but it has not had a need to turn on yet even with heavy rains. No matter where your pump activity falls, you must evaluate and test the pump regularly. By “regularly” we recommend at least once a year. How do you test your pump if it only runs occasionally? Take a bucket of water and pour it into the pump. The float switch should be activated and then you see the water level slowly begin to lower. Not taking the time to inspect and test your pump can mean lots of money in damages later on.
Mistake #6 Not Calling the Professionals!
This is probably the most common mistake we see in the waterproofing business. Checking the pump regularly will help you know when there is an issue. You can also troubleshoot it yourself as we discussed above. This will help you know when there is an issue that you need a professional for. A thorough evaluation of the sump pump system and basement area yearly can catch many issues that the average homeowner may not be aware of. Addressing these issues early can help keep your sump pump working properly and your basement dry!
We Specialize in Dry!
At Aqua-Guard, we specialize in dry! This means that we can evaluate and repair your sump pump and any other waterproofing needs. Contact us today to make sure your basement or crawlspace is ready for rain and to keep that water out!