If you’ve owned your home in Highland, IN for any length of time you know the truth of this simple phrase: stuff breaks.
Eventually, anything mechanical in your house will come to the end of its useful life and will need to be upgraded or replaced. Many of these are such an integral part of your daily life you can’t help but notice when something begins to go wrong – the furnace dies in January, the air conditioning in July, the oven in the middle of preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
However, when your sump pump approaches its demise, you may not notice until it’s too late.
What Are the 5 Signs I Need a New Sump Pump in my Highland Home?
As a mechanical device like any other, your sump pump will eventually wear out. The typical high quality sump pump should give you ten years of protection before that happens but you may not notice when the end has come because your sump pump runs only when needed and it may not be needed for weeks at a time.
So, how can you prevent sump pump failure and the resulting wet basement? Here are 5 things to watch for:
- Pedestal-style pump – These are the Model T’s of sump pumps – they were the early favorites but now they’re pretty antiquated. A pedestal pump sits above the water in your sump basin on a tall, narrow pipe and usually has a hollow-ball float switch with a long shaft. They tend to be noisy, easily tipped over and not as solidly built as today’s standard submersible pumps. If you still have one of these, do yourself a favor and replace it.
- Frequent On-and-Off – if your sump pump is cycling on and off frequently, even in heavy rains, there’s probably something wrong. It might be as simple as an incorrectly adjusted float switch that is causing the pump to come on when only a few inches of water accumulates in the basin. If this isn’t corrected it will cause your sump pump’s motor to burn out prematurely. Frequent cycling may also indicate that your sump basin is too small for the volume of water it handles, causing the water to reach artificially high levels very quickly.
- Long Run Times – Listen to your sump pump the next time it kicks on. If it runs for an unusually long time – several minutes – it probably means that your pump is underpowered, either for the volume of water it is required to handle or for the distance it must pump it. Sump pump capacity is rated for a number of gallons per minute at a certain “head height” – the distance the water travels from the pump’s output to the point where it exits your house. If either is exceeded, the pump will run and run and run.
- Not Turning on When Needed – Typically, this is a result of a stuck float switch. Tethered switches that float to the side of the pump are prone to hanging up on your sump basin. Vertical floats with plastic brackets frequently break and the vibrations from an improperly installed pump may push any float switch against the side of the basin. Of course, this can also mean that your sump pump has cashed in its chips, but try freeing the float switch first.
- Lots of Noise – All you should hear from your sump pump is a low hum when it’s running and, maybe, a very faint “thump” when it stops. If the motor noise from your sump pump is excessive, the motor probably has a burnt bearing or two and is on its way to the sump pump hereafter. Rattling or grinding noises may mean a jammed or damaged impeller, the “fan” on the bottom that pulls water into the pump – another bad vital sign.
So what if you’re seeing these signs in your home in Highland? Probably time for a new sump pump unless you’d prefer to roll the dice on the old one during one of those “100-year storms” we seem to get every six months. Of course, if your sump pump does fail, your basement is in for a soaking, which will be bad enough if it’s only a storage space but an expensive disaster if you have finished living space for your family down there.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve installed thousands of sump pumps since our founding in 1957, including many in Highland, Dyer, Crown Point and other communities in NW Indiana. If you see any of these signs that your sump pump is on its way out, or if you’re just not sure, get in touch. Our advice is always free.