An overflowing sump pump can be real trouble for the foundation and moisture content of your home or business. Here are some things to consider and 5 common causes of sump pumps overflowing plus an additional guide on how to stop your basement sump pump from overflowing – and a few tips on what to do to prevent the problem!
6 Ways to Stop Overflowing Sump Basins
1. Under-powered Sump Pumps
While a typical sump pump that is rated at 1/3 horsepower is designed to handle a home of typical size, it can be a more complicated issue than that.
In areas with high water tables or that are prone to high seasonal rainfalls, it may be necessary to install a sump pump that is larger than usual to prevent a sump pump overflowing. Larger homes with normal-sized pumps are where this problem occurs the most.
2. Prevent Pump Clogs
A clog can cause a basin to overflow, but luckily this is usually a low cost and easy repair to make.
If a clog is a culprit, then it is important to consider why or how the clog occurred so measures can be taken to prevent it from occurring again. Fixing a clog can be as simple as flushing the lines and installing a filter to prevent more sump pump overflow.
3. Loss of Power
A power surge or other electrical interruption from the power source may cause a pump to stop working and lead to a flood.
Even if the rest of your home or business has an electrical service that is working properly, there may be a lack of electricity getting to your pump. Check to see if your sump pump tripped your breaker or if your GFCI outlet has been popped and reset it.
4. Resetting your Pump
Sometimes a pump that is overflowing can be reset simply by unplugging it and waiting a few minutes before plugging it back in. If the problem goes away, then you can just remember to do this again if it occurs.
Of course, if your pump is overflowing or losing power more frequently then you should get it looked at by a qualified service person to determine the main cause of the loss. You should also lift the check valve to make sure it is working properly.
5. Frozen Discharge Lines
During cold weather, the discharge line of your sump pump system can become frozen. When a sump pump discharge line is frozen, this can lead to water pooling in your sump pit and basement.
You may need to run warm water through your system or pick away at the blockage on the outside of your home to get your pump operating correctly once more.
A professional basement waterproofing company can help you find accessories and ways to prevent your sump pump from freezing during the winter.
Always make sure to turn off your pump before trying to assess problems or bail out your pit to eliminate the risk of shock. If your basement is severely flooded, then it is advisable to throw the electrical breaker that controls your pump.
6. Lower the Float Switch
Lowering the activation level by adjusting the float switch will cause the pump to turn on sooner – giving the drainage system more time to run before overflowing and causing water damage.
4 Ways to Prevent Overflows
1. Install a Battery Backup
A backup battery will kick in when your power goes out in a big storm and prevent a flooded basement. The electric company will usually have your power on quick enough that there won’t be a problem but if trees knock out a local breaker and the roads ice over you may be out of power for a few days. Installing a battery backup is easy and can prevent a flood in the future.
2. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Your sump pump – like any other piece of equipment needs regular cleaning and maintenance. Check your owners manual for exact instructions and cleaning schedules. We recommend at least clearing debris from the line and pit every few months as well as after large storms. It is also a good idea to check the check valve connection to look for rust, small leaks and problems with the weep hole.
3. Have a Powerful Pump
The most common cause of overflow other than pump failure is too much water in too little time. Small pumps that can’t pump as many gallons of water per minute as pumps like the Zoeller 98 can get “backed up” during surge of groundwater.
4. Flush the Line
Most of the name brand pumps will run for years without a problem. The most common source of failure, leaks, and overflow is the drainage lines. Start by pouring hot water down the line and make sure it comes out the other side. The water should come out clean the other side shortly after you begin.
Water damage can lead to tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home or business. When it comes to the sump pump system, it is a good idea to call an expert to assess your pump and the water table around your home.
The cost of getting professional advice is a pittance compared to the trouble and expense that ignoring the problem or attempting your repairs can cause.