Like any mechanical device, there can be many reasons why your sump pump has stopped working. A sump pump is only part of a complex system that helps keep your home or business dry and healthy to live and work in.
Sump pumps only have a few parts, and most problems happen with the motor, check valve, or float. Here are some reasons that can cause sump pumps to stop working – as well as a guide on deciding between pump repair and replacement.
6 Most Common Reasons
If your sump pump has stopped working we recommend checking these parts first.
1. Power Outage
The first thing to check when your pump is not working is your power it out. Due to down power lines, power outages are the most common source of outages during storms and freezing weather.
2. Blown Fuse
Older homes, in particular, are prone to electrical issues. Sump pumps should be plugged into a dedicated outlet that is a GFCI. This offers protection from electrical fires and power surges. Resetting a GFCI is often as simple as pushing a button.
Older homes may have faulty wiring that poses problems for your sump pump and can cause your pump to start smoking in some extreme cases. Contacting an electrician and sump pump specialist is advisable.
Usually, a sump pump technician is the first person you should contact as they can assess the pump and determine if more help is needed.
3. Worn Out Motors
The pump’s motor deteriorates due to age, overuse, lack of maintenance, or poor-quality components. You can typically indicate a worn-out motor by reduced performance, unusual noises, overheating, intermittent operation, or complete pump failure.
To address this problem, you may need to replace or repair the worn motor, often requiring professional assistance. Regular maintenance can extend the motor’s lifespan and ensure the sump pump functions effectively, which is crucial for preventing basement flooding in areas prone to water damage.
4. Broken Check Valve
A common source of leaks is the check valve. This valve is the first place to check if you find a water leak. Start by ensuring it does not allow water to backflow into the pit and that the seals are still water-tight.
5. Broken Float Valve
A broken float valve will prevent your pump from detecting water in the pit and turning on. This valve might be broken if you see water in the pit but nowhere else!
6. Clogged Drain Lines
Clogged drainage lines can cause problems, like a burned-out motor and basement flooding. Clogs can be prevented by testing and cleaning your lines a few times yearly and ensuring everything is running smoothly.
Recognize Small Issues Before They Get Larger
A big problem often starts as a much smaller one. Paying attention to your sump pump can take a little time, but it can save you a lot of hassle, time, and money over the years. You may want to peek in your basement daily during wet weather or cold temperatures.
Unfortunately, sump pumps can wear out over time. If your home has an older sump pump and you find your sump pump stopped working during a storm, then replacement is often the best solution to the problem.
Cheaper sump pumps wear out faster than higher-quality ones. If your pump is not very old but shows problems like a faulty float valve, you may still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if you want to replace your sump pump and it will handle a lot of use over the years, then you are much better off if you replace it with a high-quality pump and get into a good maintenance routine.
Major Basement Flooding
If your sump pump has led to too much water in your basement, you need professional help.
Having standing water in your basement is a significant cause for concern. It can lead to lasting and permanent damage to your foundation and cause a prime growth habitat for harmful molds and other allergens.
Standing water needs to be removed as soon as possible. If the problem has reached this level, don’t hesitate to request professional help.
Rising Water Tables
Changes in how water flows can influence how much your sump pump has to run. Construction nearby or seismic activity can change underground water flow and significantly impact the moisture in your home or business.
Upgrading your sump pump system or making major adjustments to your current system may be warranted. A professional sump pump service can quickly change your system to meet new demands.
Repair vs Replacement
Most sump pumps are dependable and pretty hard to break. If yours is not working (assuming you didn’t get a lemon), it is probably only one part causing the problem. If you can isolate the problem part, you can likely repair your pump without replacing it.
We recommend checking the valves, piping, and electrical system first if you have pump problems, as they are the most common source of failure.