What You Need to Know About Sump Pump Failure

YP Editors

Sump pumps are used to prevent flooding in basements and crawlspaces. Flooding is often caused by heavy rain, but in low-lying areas, it may also be caused by the basement being located beneath the water table. A sump pump removes water that has gathered in a home's sump basin, and redirects it to a storm drain or dry well.

If a sump pump fails, the resulting flooding can cause water damage that can destroy property and lead to mold.

Sump Pump Failure: Causes and Solutions


Below are some common causes and solutions regarding sump pump failure.

Cause: power outage. Sump pumps need electricity to function, and will stop working if there's a power outage. If a heavy rainstorm causes your sump pump to fail, you could find yourself without flood relief at a time when you need it most.

Solution: Install a backup generator. Avoid being left vulnerable to flooding during a power outage by supporting your sump pump with a backup generator. These generators serve as power sources during an outage, and keep the pump working if electricity fails. Backup generators aren't cheap; they can run from $1,900 to as much as $20,000. Considering the cost and inconvenience that come with flooding, however, they are well worth the expense.

Cause: jammed switch. Your sump pump is operated via a float switch. If the pump changes position within the basin, the float that governs the switch could become stuck against the side of the pump, rendering it ineffective. Debris can also crowd the float and impair its functionality.

Solution: Clean the sump pump, and adjust its position. Often, you can remedy a jammed switch simply by cleaning the sump pump and altering its position within the basin. If this doesn't work, the switch might need to be replaced.

Cause: old age. Sump pumps typically have a life expectancy of seven to 10 years. If you've had your pump for seven years or more and you've experienced a failure, there's a good chance that the culprit is old age.

Solution: Replace the sump pump. If you have an older sump pump that's conked out, the best solution is to purchase a new one rather than repairing it. Even if the sump pump is still working, it's a good idea to consider replacing it if you've had it for more than 10 years. This will help you avoid the myriad problems that come with flooding caused by a failed pump. Replacing a sump pump typically costs between $650 and $1,700.

Hiring a Plumber to Address Sump Pump Failure


In many cases, the easiest way to remedy sump pump failure is to hire a plumber. There's a lot riding on the performance of your sump pump, and if certain repairs and installations aren't handled correctly, you'll be left with problems that can impair the pump's functioning. For example, you can replace an old sump pump yourself, but a lot can go wrong during installation, which can impact the pump's performance. A plumber has the skills and experience to quickly and efficiently handle all tasks involved in sump pump failure.

Choose a licensed plumber who is bonded and insured. It's also a good idea to ask for references, and to check to see if the plumber has a history of complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau.

Hiring a plumber to tackle sump pump failure can cost $200 to $500 or more.
E-Mail