4 Main Causes of Sump-Pump Failure

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Can your sump pump manage the drainage in your basement or crawlspace? Or does your pump fail at the worst times? If you need reliable water removal in your basement, you may need to replace your pump with one or more new sump pumps.

Sump pumps fail for a number of reasons. When you know the reason (or reasons) why your sump pump failed, you can choose a better model next time. Here’s more about four main causes of sump pump failure to help you understand your sump pump.

  1. Mechanical Issues

A poorly made sump pump will fail because the mechanical components can’t meet the demands placed on the device. If your sump pump must pull out a great deal of water over its lifetime, you need a pump with cast-iron housing that can take the heat of a constantly running motor.

Cheap plastic parts, including float arms and filter components, can break under even slight pressure. The broken float arm will fail to switch the pump on as needed. The broken filter components can clog the filter or cause sediment and rocks to impede the water flow into the filter.

In some cases, you need two sump pumps. A too-small sump pump will be overworked and may not have the capacity to remove water from the sump basin fast enough.

An inadequate motor is another cause of sump-pump failure. The sump pump needs enough power to spin the impellers and lift the water out of your crawlspace or basement. Pumps with undersized motors will not give the performance or longevity you need.

  1. Filter Issues

As noted above, the sump-pump filter can get clogged with plastic debris or rocks if the filter material is low quality. Even non-broken filters can allow rocks and sediment to clog the sump pump.

A good sump-pump filter doesn’t have easy-to-clog openings. The slots or openings in the filter are designed to allow water flow even if small stones or debris are in your sump basin.

  1. Float-Ball Issues

If your sump pump has a float-ball switch, the sump pump can fail when the hollow float ball gets a hole and fills with water. The full float ball doesn’t lift with the water level but sinks into the basin. It never signals your sump pump to start working.

Float balls can get stuck on the sides of the sump basin. The float ball then doesn’t rise with the water to turn on the sump pump. The sump pump may only pump out half of the water in the basin when a float ball is stuck.

Float balls can be easily crushed if heavy debris makes its way into the sump basin. If the float ball is mounted on a long arm or pedestal lift, the float ball can sometimes get stuck when the arm or pedestal is defective or bent.

  1. Basin Issues

In some cases, your sump basin isn’t deep enough for the sump pump you own. A heavy-duty sump pump can pull water out of a small basin in seconds.

A heavy-duty sump pump in a too-small basin will have to cycle on and off more frequently and will not last as long as a heavy-duty pump in a larger basin. Have your plumber install a deeper basin with more volume to protect a high-capacity pump.

If you have only a concrete-type basin that often overflows, have one of the newer barrel-type basins installed in your basement or crawlspace. Some digging may be required, but the increased depth of the modern basin will make it less likely that the basin will overflow and flood your basement or crawlspace.

Your plumber is the best source of advice about the type of basin and sump pump you need. The plumber will calculate how much water needs to be removed from the sump basin on a regular basis. The plumber will also note how high the water must be lifted out of the basin to reach the drain area.

Sump pumps remove less water the higher they must lift the water. Your plumber will choose a sump pump for you that can handle both the total water capacity and the height of lift required.

If you live in Naperville, Downers Grove, or Lisle, Illinois, don’t spend another minute worrying about an inadequate sump pump. Have a new sump pump installed by contacting Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., today (630) 964-2222. We even install pumps with wi-fi capability so you can monitor your home’s sump pump wherever you are.


Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.


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