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Signs of a sump pump failure


Experiencing water damage in your basement is a nightmare. Whether it is due to heavy rain, pipe break or just humidity, around 60% of the houses in the U.S. have wet basements, according to The American Society of Home Inspectors. 

One thing that can make a difference between a dry and a flooded basement is installing a sump pump. While it is not used in everyday activity, it will prevent extreme situations from happening.


What is a sump pump?

Sump pumps are simple and accessible water mitigation systems. They drain the flood water away from the basement through a discharge pipe. While the concept is simply, it can suffer damage just like any other equipment item. A broken sump pump can lead to flooding, water backup and damage to your basement’s structure. Not to mention the financial damage.

Main causes of a sump pump failure

  1.   The switch is stuck

When the pump shifts in the basin, the float operating the switch can get stuck against the side of the pump. Debris can also cause the float to get jammed and make it inoperable. You can fix both issues by clearing the debris around the sump pump and adjusting its position on the basin.

  1.   There’s a power cut

Storms sometimes cause power failure, which lead to a massive water damage in your basement. While the water level rises in your basement, the sump pump becomes inactive if it is not connected to a power source. This is why it is advisable to install a backup generator for your sump pump. You can manually turn it on if there is a power outage in order to avoid a flood in your basement. 

  1.   Lack of Maintenance

You should clean and perform basic maintenance to your sump pump once every 3 months. Make sure the float is not restricted and run a vinegar solution through the pump. Also, clean all the vents and the air holes on the discharge line. 

Sump pump failure signs

According to the US Department of Housing and Development, you should replace your sump pump every ten years. If there is any damage in the meantime, replace it sooner.

1. Visible Rust

The brown looking discoloration is usually caused by the Iron Bacteria. While it is not harmful to humans, it causes a lot of issues to the drainage system. In extreme cases, the fungus causes the sump pump to clog. 

2. Strange noises

Weird sounds are never a good sign and you shouldn’t ignore them. It usually means that there are some damaged or worn parts in your sump pump. If there is a loud noise coming from your motor, it could have a failed bearing. If you hear grinding or rattling noises, it could indicate that the fan that pulls water into the pump is either jammed or damaged. 

3. Excessive vibration while running

When the pump sucks hard debris, the impeller gets damaged or bent. The impeller is the fan that sucks water. If it is damaged or bent, it will cause the entire pump to wobble and put pressure on the shaft. As it is difficult to fix a bent impeller, your best choice is to replace the unit.  

4. It runs all the time or very often

If you notice your sump pump running all the time, it is very possible that there is a problem with the switch. The issue occurs when the switch loses connection with its power source or gets jammed.

When your pump is running for long periods of time, it could mean that it does not have enough power to handle the volume of water or the distance it must pump is too long. In order to avoid this problem, make sure you choose the right sump pump for your needs and requirements

5. Irregular Cycling

Sometimes the float switch is not adjusted right, making the sump pump start working with only a very low level of water accumulated in the basin. This causes it to turn on and off irregularly.

 6. The Motor stops working

Sediment and other hard debris cause the motor to stop and wears it out a lot faster. You can use a filter to keep hard materials out of the pump. You should clean and replace the filter regularly though.

Sump pump failure insurance

A flood caused by a broken sump pump is a type of water damage. However, water damage caused by a broken sump pump is not covered by most homeowner’s insurance. What you can do in this case is purchase extra endorsements for sump pump failure.

Water damage in New York, Long Island and Westchester

Heavy rain may cause water damage in your basement and sometimes the sump pump will not be able to face the natural disaster. If you experience basement flooding due to sump pump failure, you need the help of a water restoration company.

iFlooded Restoration serves all 5 boroughs of New York, Westchester and Long Island and is available 24/7. We use advanced drying equipment to properly dry your basement in order to avoid mold growth and further damage to your belongings.

We bill your insurance company directly to take the burden of you dealing with the insurance. Our technicians are licensed to handle any type of water damage, while our insurance experts take care of the billing.