When the Sump Pump Malfunctions in Your Kansas City Home

sump-pumpsYou go to the basement door, open it up, and descend the stairs to discover a pool of water.  What has happened?  You’re a Kansas City homeowner whose yard is properly graded, you clean your gutters regularly, and have even made sure they drain away from foundation walls.  At Arrow Foundation Repair, we know finding water standing in your basement is the last thing you expect – and when it happens, you wonder what in the world happened!

If you’ve done all the right things and your sump pump malfunctioned, what could have possibly happened?  There are a few possibilities, including:

The sump float switch is stuck.  There are various types of sump float switches.  Plumbers often prefer to use vertical floats due to the fact that tethered floats are widely known for becoming stuck on the side walls of sump pump pits.  A flooded basement may be the result of a stuck switch.

Power failures.  Like all other appliance that depend on electricity in your hoe, a primary sump pump will succumb to a power failure.  This means essentially that it is totally worthless. Investing in a quality backup sump pump will eliminate this problem.

Age.  Just like other equipment, sump pumps experience wear and tear over the years, and need to be replaced.  Replacing the sump pump in your Kansas City home every five to seven years is recommended, and helps you enjoy peace of mind.

Inadequate horsepower may result in a sump pump that become “overwhelmed.”  As with most equipment, you get what you pay for.  Not all sump pumps are created equal; in some cases homeowners are just fine with a 1/3 horsepower pump, while others may require a 1/2 horsepower pump, such as those that are located in an area where the water table is higher.  Also, consider purchasing a battery backup pump to ensure you don’t encounter the unpleasant surprise of a flooded basement.

Frozen discharge pipe.  Considering the winters we’ve had in the Kansas City area in recent years, this can be a common occurrence.  When a discharge pipe isn’t property pitched, the water that collects can cause a blockage due to freezing of the water.  When the ice thaws out, the water falls back into the pump pit, which continues to fill up.  At a certain point, the water will overflow – all over the floor of your basement. 

How can you be certain your sump pump is operating as it should?  Here are a couple of tips.

Run water through the pump.  All you need is sufficient water to raise the float to the point the pump kicks on.  Once it is running, watch for a while longer to ensure the water is actually being pumped out.  If for some reason you cannot add water, lift the float arm to determine that the pump does turn on.  This won’t inform you whether water will pump out, but you will know the pump is turning on.  Only run the pump for a few seconds if testing without water, as damage could occur to the motor.

Unplug the two separate plugs from the outlet where your pump is plugged in.  After doing this, plug in only the one used for the pump; this should result on your pump coming on immediately, however if it does not it could indicate the need for repairs or replacement.  If the pump did come on, be sure to reconnect the second plug.

Having issues with your sump pump you cannot diagnose?  Contact the Kansas City sump pumps installation and repair professionals at Arrow Foundation Repair today.

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