Your sump pump is the first line of defense if water begins to invade your basement. It works by pumping overflow water from your basement that enters your home. If it is not working properly, that could mean big problems for your basement. Here are some tips for troubleshooting your sump pump if you find it is not working!
First Things First…
The first thing to check when you are troubleshooting your sump pump is to make sure that it is plugged in. This seems like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many times the sump pump is simply unplugged. Boxes that are moved around in your basement could bump the plug loose, or a family member may unplug it to use the outlet and forget to plug it back in.
If it is plugged in, be sure to check the breaker to make sure it has not been tripped. Some homes have sump pumps hardwired into their electrical systems already. These pumps usually have an additional battery backup. See if it is activated. If it is still not working, it may be worth calling a professional to check the electrical once you rule out the other issues below.
Sometimes wiring can become dislodged or loose-fitting in your sump pump. This is a simple fix. To check the wires, first turn off the power to the pump! Do not attempt to touch the wiring with the power still on in order to avoid the risk of electric shock. Once the power is disconnected, check all the wires around the pump ensuring they are tightly connected and free of obstructions.
Check the Area Around Your Sump Pump
Once you have established that your sump pump is getting power, the next step in troubleshooting your sump pump is to inspect the pump itself. You are looking for four things in particular: the check valve, the float switch, debris buildup around your pump, and loose wiring.
The Check Valve
The check valve is a line that keeps water from flowing back once the pump has been shut off. It will only allow water to flow in one direction. Look for the arrow on the valve. It should be pointing away from the pump. If it is pointing toward the pump then it is not correct. Usually, this issue occurs from improper installation.
The Float Switch
The float switch is the part of your sump pump that senses the water level rising and signals your pump to turn on. Occasionally it can get stuck or blocked. Check to make sure that the float switch is free of blockages and moving freely.
Debris Build Up
Your sump pump should be sitting on a foundation with rocks at least the size of a dime. If the particles are any smaller, they can be sucked into the pump and block water flow. This is especially true if your foundation is sitting on silt or other fine particles. If you feel that small particles have blocked the water flow and clogged your pump, call in a professional to help you clear the clog and then provide a better foundation for your pump to rest on so it does not happen again.
If Your Sump Pump Motor is Running but Not Pumping Water
Some sump pumps will run constantly and others only run when signaled by a higher water level. If you want to make sure the pump is actually pumping water away, pour water into the base. You should see the float switch rise and the pump begin to lower the water level. If the pump is on but the water level does not decrease, make sure the check valve is positioned properly. If it is still now lowering the water level, it is time to head outside.
Find the area outside your home where the water exits from your pump. Is there water coming out? Look for debris build-up and clear the area. If water is still not exiting, you may have a water pipe that is blocked underground or your check valve may be stuck (even if it looks like it is in the right position) This is the signal to call in a professional for help.
After Troubleshooting Your Sump Pump…
Once you have finished troubleshooting your sump pump with no real answers, please call a professional. Yes, there are many DIY repairs that could possibly work…or not…or work for a little while and then break again. With something as looming as water damage to the foundation of your home, you want to know that your home is dry and safe. Our team at Aqua-Guard specializes in dry and is here to help solve all of your water problems. Contact us today for a sump pump inspection!