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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

5 Reasons To Check On Your Sump Pump

Sump Pump failure can ruin your basement.

Imagine pulling up to your house in the pouring down rain. You've got a car full of groceries and have to get them in the house. Once you finally get them all inside, you're drenched. You head downstairs to get some dry clothes out of your dryer only to step in water when you get down there. Your sump pump isn't working and the basement is full of water!

This is the WORST time to find out that you need a repair!What happened?! Why isn't it working?!

Here are some reasons you want to keep an eye on when you have one of these in your home.

A sump pump with battery back-up is one of the best options for your home's basement.

Reason #1: Lack of Maintenance

  • As a rule, you should check your unit every 2-3 months. This includes checking the following:
    • Make sure you check the discharge line outside of your home to make sure the water is running through the discharge pipe.
    • Ensure the movement of the float in the unit isn't restricted.
    • Listen to your unit when it's running. Make sure there aren't any abnormal noises.
    • Clean your system with a water/vinegar solution to ensure the lines are clean.
  • If you have a backup pump unit, unplug your main unit to allow you to check the backup for all of the same issues.

Reason #2: Float & Switch Issues

  • A switch problem is the number one mechanical issue with sump pumps. If your unit shifts at all, it can cause an issue with the float. It is necessary for the float to be in working order because if it isn't, then your switch won't work effectively and your pump may be rendered useless.  Your unit relies on the switch and the float to work properly.


Reason #3: Clogged Discharge Lines

  • Check the pipe coming out of the side of your house to ensure the water is able to flow out and drain your home in the event that your unit needs to run. 
  • A tip to doing your best to ensure the line doesn't get clogged is putting a grated covering over the end of the pipe. This will help keep debris and dirt out of the line, but will also keep small animals such as mice or chipmunks out as well!
  • Even with a grated covering over the end of the line, it won't guarantee that it won't clog. Be sure to continually check the end of the pipe for anything clogging it.
  • In the cold months, you'll want to be sure the end of the pipe doesn't freeze or become blocked by snow. When shoveling your driveway or around your heat pump, be sure to check your sump pump drain line as well!

Reason #4: Power Failure

  • If you have had a power failure since having your unit installed, it definitely needs to be checked. Power failures are the leading cause of failed sump pumps. 
  • Some ways to prevent issues from power surges or failures are:
    • Have a battery-powered backup system installed.
    • Protect your home's electrical system with a surge protection device.
    • Have a manually activated back-up generator.
      • A generator can't help if the pump has a mechanical fail, but if there is a storm where the power is out then a generator is a great backup.


Reason #5: Age

  • Most sump pumps last about 7 to 10 years with normal wear and tear.
    • Some units will exceed this time period, but it is recommended that you replace yours after 10 years to ensure the maximum safety of your home and efficiency of the pump.

Your sump pump is like an emergency first aid kit for your home. It's not often that you need to use it but when your home needs it, it HAS to work properly! Otherwise, you may find yourself stepping in water and having it cost you thousands of dollars.

If you check your unit and find anything wrong, don't hesitate to contact F.H. Furr for help!


Topics: sump pump plumbing maintenance