The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that climate change is contributing to more frequent extreme weather events across the United States. For many, that means billions of dollars worth of damage that isn’t covered by property insurance.
Flooding, caused by heavy rain or snow melt, can put a lot of pressure on your sump pump. And if your equipment isn’t working as it should, you might find yourself with a messy disaster.
There are many reasons why you may need a new sump pump. For instance, your old one might be at the end of its useful lifespan. There may also be problems with your current equipment.
Here are ten signs that you should get a sump pump replacement (before it’s too late).
1. The Sump Pump Is Ten Years Old
Unfortunately, sump pumps don’t last forever. The average life expectancy is around ten years. However, there are many factors that may influence that estimate.
For instance, the quality of your system, the distance a pump has to carry the water, maintenance, and how often it’s used all impact a sump pump’s lifespan.
It’s always a good idea to ask the previous homeowner if you don’t know how old the pump is. Otherwise, you can schedule an inspection to determine if it’s time to upgrade to a new pump.
2. Your Sump Pump Keeps Running
If you notice that your sump pump keeps running or turning on regardless of the weather, it might be a sign that you need to replace it.
A system that constantly runs can indicate incorrect pump size, insufficient power, clogged or tangled pump switches, and more. For instance, you might have a pump that’s simply too small for the job, so it keeps running in an attempt to keep up with demand.
If you notice water continuously flowing into the pit, it may be due to a high water table. In that case, you may need to install an additional pump in another area or upgrade to another pump.
Irregular cycling may also indicate a problem with the float switch or wiring issues. If your pump keeps turning on for no reason, call for an inspection.
Always call a professional to inspect the situation. Determining the right pump size is tricky and involves many different factors, such as plumbing pathways, reservoir dimensions, and more.
3. You See Rust or Damage
Sump pumps develop rust after a time. Rust may be a sign of corroded battery terminals or bacteria buildup.
Iron bacteria are tiny organisms that naturally occur in areas with surface water, groundwater, etc. They don’t cause disease, though they can encourage the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Additionally, they can create clogs that impact your sump pump’s drainage capabilities.
At this point, the best solution is to replace the damaged sump pump with a new one.
4. You Never Use the Sump Pump
Similar to how leaving a car alone and neglecting to drive it reduces the battery’s shelf life, sump pumps also deteriorate.
Sump pumps that are rarely used will wear down faster and require more frequent repairs. You have to use it from time to time to keep it in working order. Consider it part of your maintenance plan.
So, if it’s been some time since you’ve used the sump pump, you may have to replace the equipment.
Again, it’s a good idea to call a professional to come and take a look. They can assess your system, look for any problems, and direct you on the best next steps.
5. The Sump Pump Stops Working
The last thing you want is for your sump pump to stop working when you need it most. For instance, as spring and summer roll around, you can expect melting ice and snow and heavier rains.
Saturated soil causes groundwater to enter the basement. Normally, sump pumps direct this water away through the drainage system. However, a faulty sump pump can’t do its job.
As a result, your home can flood. Not only does that mean you have to deal with water damage, but you may have to throw away valuables and furniture exposed to the water.
Water damage can also cause mold, which affects those with allergies or asthma. So, not only will you have to worry about removing the water, but you also have to consider the loss of any damaged personal possessions and repair costs.
In short, if your sump pump loses power, you have an emergency on your hands. Your system may stop working for many reasons. Maybe the battery backup ran out of power, the motor burnt out, or there’s a blown fuse.
Electrical problems or motor failure are often the cause behind a total sump pump breakdown. You may need to install a secondary pump, invest in a longer-lasting battery, or replace the current pump.
6. You Have a Noisy Sump Pump
A sump pump will make some noise when it’s working. However, excess noise or unusual sounds can indicate a bigger problem. Irregular noises include thuds, grinding, gurgling, rattling, etc.
These sounds may be the result of damaged or broken parts inside the system. Something might be jammed, or the motor may be wearing down.
Sometimes sediment can get stuck inside the motor, which affects your motor’s lifespan. You might want to consider installing a filter or calling for a complete sump pump replacement.
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can take a look to see if you notice anything unusual. Otherwise, call a plumber to take a look.
7. There’s a Problem With the Installation
If you moved into a house and the sump pump was already in place, you should have it inspected. In some cases, it may have been installed incorrectly. Not all contractors have the necessary training and knowledge to install a sump pump.
An incorrectly installed sump pump can cause all sorts of problems. For example, maybe they didn’t install the right size equipment, which can cause the system to break down faster.
Additionally, not all sump pumps are created equal. A cheap, small pump may not have enough power to protect your home against sudden and severe weather events. If you live in an area prone to storms and flooding, you should consider spending more on your pump to stay protected.
By scheduling an inspection, you can get an expert’s opinion on whether it’s enough to protect your home from flooding or whether you’d be better off replacing it.
8. The Pump Vibrates
We mentioned that pumps can suck up debris and that hard materials can cause internal damage to the equipment.
Hard debris can cause bent impellers, which is the part that sucks water in. Think of it as the opposite of a propeller. The impellers have to be balanced to work correctly, so any damage can cause excess stress on the shaft.
A bent impeller can cause the pump to wobble and vibrate, which also causes a lot of noise. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to replace the pump rather than attempt to rebalance an impeller.
Again, installing filters can prevent problems like this in the future by blocking the debris and keeping it out of the pump. However, you have to frequently clean and replace these filters to ensure they work as intended.
9. You Experience Frequent Power Outages
The sump pump is part of your electrical system. Like any other part of your system, it stops working when it loses power and takes damage during an outage.
In the event of a power outage, the water continues to flow into the sump pit, causing a buildup. Thankfully, backup batteries help to keep the sump pump working even without power. Residential generators can also help keep the pump working and prevent floods.
However, your system can take damage during an outage. If you live in an area with frequent power outages, you may need to replace your pump more often. It’s always a good idea to check your sump pump after a storm.
10. No Water in the Sump Pit
If the sump pump appears to be working, and yet you don’t see any water in the pit, there’s a bigger issue. A dry sump pit might be due to a dry weather spell, but it can also indicate improper installation. The pump might not be correctly connected to the drainage system.
You’ll have to contact a professional to inspect your drainage system and look for issues. You may need them to properly install a sump pump so that you can keep your basement dry.
Do You Need a New Sump Pump?
If you notice any of the above signs, you may need a new sump pump. It’s always better to prepare for disasters, so you’re never caught off guard. Keep your basement and home dry with a working sump pump.
Here at Master Rooter Plumbing, we offer a variety of services, including general plumbing, septic systems, drain cleaning, and much more. If you need a sump pump inspection or if it’s time to get a new one, contact us to get started.