This spring, don’t let a flooded basement stop you from enjoying a much-needed break from the snow and ice. A functional sump pump plays an important role in protecting your home from flood damage, particularly during the spring thaw and over the summer months when heavy downpours can occur. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your home’s sump pump is in good working order before the snow starts to melt.

We’ve rounded up a few of the most common reasons why a sump pump fails, as well as some easy maintenance tips to help ensure your sump pump is ready and working when you need it the most.

Top causes of sump pump failure

1. Power failure and lack of a backup system

The most common cause for sump pump failure is an electrical power outage. Considering electrical storms typically coincide with heavy downpours, a storm-related power outage could leave your home vulnerable at the worst possible time. That’s when a sump pump backup can really save the day.

In case your sump pump fails due to a loss of power, a secondary battery-powered pump will take over and empty your sump pit. At First Call, we install sump pumps that provide over 10 hours of continuous use during a power outage. Our selection of Myers pumps from Pentair also feature an audible alarm, email, or text alert that notifies you if the primary sump pump is not working and the secondary pump is in use.

2. Stuck switch

Sometimes the pump shifts inside the basin or debris obstructs the float, resulting in a stuck on/off switch for the pump itself. Generally, this is resolved with a little cleaning and a repositioning of the pump within the basin.

3. Wrong size/capacity sump pump

It’s important to have a sump pump that will meet the water pumping demands of your specific home and location. A sump pump motor with ⅓ horsepower is sufficient for most homes, but if you live in an area with higher groundwater levels, you may want one with ½ horsepower instead. In addition, your pump should be able to pass small rocks of up to 10 mm through the pipes in order to avoid clogging.

Sump pump maintenance tips

Regular testing and maintenance of your sump pump is the best way to keep your basement dry all year long. Depending on the sump pump model you own, some manufacturers recommend testing annually or every two to three months, particularly during the spring and summer. For more information, check our step-by-step guide on how to check your sump pump.

Here are some simple tests you can do yourself to check that your sump pump is working properly:

  1. Check that power is running to the pump circuit.
  2. Pour water into the sump pit until the pump kicks in.
  3. Check the outside pipe to ensure that water is flowing from the discharge line outside your home.

If your sump pump is not drawing up water, check for debris blocking the suction intake. If there are no obvious signs of blockage, it’s probably time to call in some expert help. Other signs your sump pump may not be working properly include strange motor noises or oil in the sump well.

Insurance companies love sump pumps, too!

A good quality sump pump with an effective backup system is one of the best insurance investments you can make to help protect your home against flooding — just ask insurance companies! Many insurance companies will reward homeowners with reduced premiums (up to 5 per cent) if they have a backup sump pump installed.

Keep your basement dry

Is your sump pump approaching the 10-year mark? Are you thinking about upgrading to a backup system that has modern monitoring and notification features?

We’re available to answer any questions you have and we’re happy to provide a free quote. Give us a call or book an appointment and rest assured your sump pump is ready to tackle whatever Mother Nature has in store.

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