Update: Sump Pump FAQs

When heavy rains hit, the last thing any homeowner wants is a flooded basement. Sump pumps can be the heroes in these situations but, like any other appliance, they can also face issues. Here is everything you need to know about sump pump flooding!

What is a sump pump?

A sump pump is a crucial device for homes, particularly those in areas prone to flooding or with basements below the water table. It's essentially a pump placed in a basin (or sump pit) in the lowest part of a basement or crawl space. Its primary function is to help keep the area dry and prevent it from flooding. When water fills the sump pit, the sump pump activates and expels the water away from the home through a discharge pipe.

If you just purchased a new home and aren’t sure if it has a sump pump or not, it is pretty easy to identify. It will be in your basement, and sometimes it will have a cover over it. If there is a cover, it should be easy to remove it. The best way to identify what a sump pump looks like is by the singular pipe coming from the lid.

How do I know if my sump pump is working?

Regularly testing your sump pump is vital, especially before the rainy season. To check if your sump pump is working, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the sump pump, usually in the basement or crawl space.

  2. Ensure the sump pump is plugged into a working outlet.

  3. Pour a bucket of water into the sump pit.

  4. Watch to see if the sump pump activates.

It should start working and pump out the water. If the sump pump doesn’t activate, it might be time for maintenance or replacement.

What is the average life expectancy of a sump pump?

The average lifespan of a sump pump varies depending on usage and maintenance, but it typically ranges from 7 to 10 years. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and checking for clogs, can extend the life of your sump pump. It's also essential to be aware of the age of your sump pump and consider replacing it before it reaches the end of its expected lifespan to avoid potential sump pump flooding.

Is it normal for a sump pump to run continuously?

It is not normal for a sump pump to run continuously. If your sump pump doesn't shut off, this could be a sign of a problem. One possible reason is the sump pump could be the wrong size, so it’s unable to handle the volume of water efficiently. There could also be an issue with the float switch, or the sump pump might be continuously receiving water due to a high water table, drains or a leak. Continuous operation can cause the sump pump to wear out faster. If you notice this issue, it is recommended to seek professional help.

Why do sump pumps fail?

Sump pumps can fail for various reasons, including power outages, improper installation, clogged discharge lines and old age. The most common cause of sump pump flooding is a power outage during heavy rains. Incorrect installation can cause the sump pump to not operate efficiently. The discharge lines can become clogged with debris, preventing the sump pump from expelling water. Sump pumps have an average life expectancy of about 10 years, and they can fail due to wear and tear. Having a backup sump pump and a battery backup can be lifesavers during power outages.

How can ServiceOne help?

Understanding sump pump flooding and ensuring its proper maintenance is crucial in protecting your home from flooding. Keep an eye on its operation, and don't hesitate to seek professional help if something seems amiss. If you’re having a plumbing emergency, our Omaha and Dubuque plumbers are available 24 hours a day to ensure your plumbing is working properly.

Contact us today with any questions or concerns!

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