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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

7 Reasons for Sump Pump Failure in Madison, WI

6/11/2023 (Permalink)

a SERVPRO logo with "Faster to any size disaster" slogan Should you experience water damage from a sump pump failure, call SERVPRO of Dane County West #608-497-3331. We are available 24/7.

At SERVPRO of Dane County West, a significant percentage of water damage in basements is caused by sump pump failures.

7 Common Reasons for Sump Pump Failure:

  1. Power Failure - The most common cause of sump pump failure is an electrical power outage. To prevent this, have a backup generator that can be manually activated. Without a backup power source, such as a batter backup or a generator, the pump won’t be able to remove water from the sump pit during a power outage.
  2. Overwhelmed Pump Capacity – During heavy rainfall or excessive water intrusion, the sump pump may not be able to handle the volume of water entering the sump pit. This can overwhelm the pump and cause it to fail.
  3. Improper Installation – If the sump pump is not installed correctly, it can lead to various problems. This could include incorrect sizing, improper placement with the sump pit, or inadequate sealing, which can result in water leakage or insufficient pumping capacity.
  4. Switch Problems - The leading mechanical cause of sump pump problems is a switch problem. This occurs when the pump shifts from its position inside the basin, rendering the float ineffective. Float is responsible for the smooth operation of the on/off switch. Your sump pump relies on both the switch and the float arm mechanisms to operate effectively.
  5. Lack of Maintenance - Some pump manufacturers recommend the pump to be run every 2-3 months. Some recommend a yearly program completed just before the rainy season hits.

Here are some additional manufacturer recommendations:

  • If there is a backup pump, unplug the primary pump and run the backup pump to make sure it works properly
  • When testing your sump pump, go outside to make sure it is discharging water
  • Sometimes the pump can run but not pump any water. This means the impeller has disengaged from the pump shaft, or the check valve is installed backward.
  • Check the operation of the float to make sure it is not restricted
  • Clean out the air hole in the discharge line
  • Listen for any unusual noises when the motor is running
  • Replace the battery on the backup sump pump every 2 or 3 years
  1. Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines - If water cannot exit your home through the discharge line, your system will not work. Keeping the discharge pipe protected from freezing and free of sticks, dirt, rocks, and other debris is important. Protecting the water’s exit point of the discharge pipe will keep debris and animals out of the system, making it optimal for your sump pump.
  2. Product Defect - Though rare, product defect is always a possibility and does happen. It is wise to test the pump when it is initially installed to ensure it operates properly.

You can avoid many of these issues and give a longer lifespan to the equipment by performing regular maintenance.

Should you experience water damage from a sump pump failure, call SERVPRO of Dane County West #608-497-3331. We are an IICRC Certified Firm available 24/7 to the Dane County, Madison, WI area.

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