There’s always something around the house for most Chicago homeowners that needs to be fixed or replaced…and always at an inopportune time.
The air-conditioner dies and, of course, it’s 97 degrees and soggy humid. The fridge conks out right after the week’s groceries have been unpacked. The kitchen sink backs up just as dinner guests are arriving.
And there’s the sump pump, the perfect example of the old saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Generally regarded as the heart of any basement waterproofing system, the sump pump is typically the only mechanical component to such a system and, therefore, the only component subject to wear and possible failure. Of course, it’ll fail during a heavy rainstorm and all the water that’s supposed to be pumped out of the house ends up on the basement floor.
A typical sump pump has three parts – a switch, a motor and a pump.
The most likely part to wear out or malfunction is the switch, which can get hung up on the side of the sump basin, stick in the “on” or “off” position or just plain break. Plastic parts indicate a switch with a shorter life expectancy than one with metal parts.
The sump pump motor is designed to be durable and long-lasting under the multiple on-off cycles it will experience over its useful lifespan. Eventually, even the heaviest-duty motor will wear out from use and any pump motor will wear out sooner if it is underpowered for the demands placed on it.
The pump itself is relatively simply: An impeller that is driven by the motor pulls water in through intake openings and pushes it up a discharge pipe. Plastic impellers can break and any impeller can become clogged with debris if connecting drain tile has been improperly installed or the intake filters provide insufficient screening.
A failed sump pump can be an invitation, if not to actual disaster, to a very wet basement that may go undetected if the homeowner is away.
If a switch has malfunctioned or broken, it is possible to replace it but, unless done under warranty or on a fairly new sump pump, it probably isn’t worth it. A replacement switch can be hard to find, other than a tethered float switch, which is not the best choice. Switches are also time-consuming or costly to install, depending on a homeowner’s DIY skills.
A burnt-out motor makes a sump pump a goner. It is technically possible to replace the motor but it is frankly more trouble than it’s worth.
Same goes for a seized or broken pump. That renders the sump pump beyond repair and it should be replaced.
When choosing a replacement pump, a Chicago homeowner is better off consulting a basement waterproofing professional who can readily estimate the pump capacity needed, supply a high-quality sump pump and install it with the proper discharge system. Homeowners who go the DIY route often end up with inferior equipment from a big box hardware store, insufficient pumping capacity and improperly sized discharge systems, any of which can create problems the new sump pump was intended to avoid.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been replacing sump pumps for Chicago homeowners since our founding in 1957 and those thousands of pumps have served to keep basements dry far longer than a DIY pump from the big box store. We supply high-quality pumps from Zoeller and the BOSS line of battery back-up pumps and ensure that each customer receives the right pump for their home. Why not ask for our free advice on your sump pump?
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