How to Test a Sump Pump: Essential Homeowner Tips
Posted in Water Damage, on February 26, 2021 By admin
It’s not uncommon for homeowners with a sump pump to be concerned about mechanical failure. Essentially, sump pumps are installed in the basement floor, protecting the home from groundwater intrusion, a ruptured water pipe, or even flooding from the outdoors.
For the most part, a sump pump sits silently on standby – and just waits for some type of water intrusion. The mechanism is supposed to sense water and automatically activate it. It then pumps excess water out of a discharge line that typically drains the water outside.
Some of the Common Malfunctions With a Sump Pump
Unfortunately, not all sump pump malfunctions are obvious or apparent. When a serious failure happens, it will likely require some type of water damage repair and cleanup. The good news is that many potential malfunctions present symptoms that can be a warning sign for homeowners.
The pump activates but does not empty
This malfunction often means that the pump is clogged with some type of debris. An experienced contractor would drain the mechanism, remove the debris, and clean the pump at the same time.
Basin is filling, pump is not activating
If the sump basin is filling up, but the pump is not properly activating, there is likely a problem preventing activation – such as a faulty float switch or a more serious defective pump motor.
Basin is empty but the pump is running
When the pump continues running after the sump basin is emptied, the float switch is either stuck or defective. Worst case, the pump mechanism can burn out if running run dry for too long.
Basin fills rapidly - pump turns on again
There is a valve that prevents water backflow into the basin once the pump shuts off. If this valve fails, discharged water flows back into the basin, activating the pump (over and over again).
Homeowner Testing for Preventing Problems
In order to avoid water damage repair and cleanup, homeowners can easily undertake regular maintenance checks throughout the year. On a periodic basis, the pump screen can be cleaned of debris (while the pump is unplugged). It’s important to plug back in when the cleaning is done.
On an annual basis, it’s a good idea to have a professional contractor assess the system and perform any preventive maintenance to avoid something serious from developing. Homeowners would also be wise to monitor any warning signs or malfunction signs on a day to day basis.
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