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Why Might My Sump Pump Fail?

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Water. It makes up more than half of one's body. It covers more than 70% of the earth's surface. It is, without a doubt, one of the most vital elements in our lives. It can also prove extremely destructive. We've seen more than enough evidence of that over the course of this past summer. While hurricanes and heavy winds can obviously be devastating, water damage is not only a concern in these extreme situations. Sometimes, even "minor" flooding in one's home can cause very serious problems.

This is why it is such a good idea to have a sump pump installed in your home. The sump pump serves one purpose and one purpose only -- protecting your home and possessions from the damages that water can do. Unfortunately, the fact is that no mechanical system will ever be 100% reliable. It is possible for a sump pump to fail, and that can cause problems. Knowing what can cause a sump pump to fail is a great step toward ensuring that your home is protected. Here are some tips from our plumbers in New Haven, CT.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

A sump pump, as mentioned above, is a powerful tool in preventing water damage in your home. How does the sump pump work, though? Very simply, in fact. A sump pit is dug in the lowest point of your home, which in this area is typically a basement. The sump pit is situated in an area where water is likely to collect, which is particularly important if there is any grading in your property. After all, you don't want water entering the property to flow away from the sump pit.

The sump pit will fill with water when flooding occurs, and the sump pump will be activated by a float switch when the water hits a certain level. Once it fires up, it will start to pump water out of your home. If the sump pump fails, that pit is going to overflow, and that can lead to water damage and the damp conditions that allow mold to thrive.

Why Sump Pumps Fail

Typically, sump pumps are pretty reliable. They are not in constant operation, and they aren't overly complicated. They can still fail, however. You don't want to discover that yours has failed only when your basement starts to flood. Here are a few potential causes of failure.

  • If the power goes out in your home, which may happen in a heavy rainstorm, the sump pump won't be able to run. That is why it is a good idea to have a secondary, battery operated sump pump as a backup, especially if you do not have a generator.
  • If the sump pump is not of the right size for your needs, or if it is not installed properly every step of the way, it may fail. An oversized pump can burn out as it has to pump water harder than it should have to, and an improperly installed pump may be missing key components, such as a check valve in the discharge line.
  • If your sump pump switch is malfunctioning, then it simply won't start up when you need it. You should not need to assist your sump pump in starting up. From time to time, pour a bucket of water into the pit just to ensure that the sump pump is activating properly.

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