With regular cleaning and basic maintenance, a sump system can last a long time. While manufacturers often suggest replacing the pump every five years, it’s not unusual for pedestal pumps to continue to run for 25 to 30 years. Submersible sump units can last up to 15 years.
What’s the key to long life for a sump? Periodic inspection, cleaning and minor maintenance are vital. They can add years to the life of your sump unit.
How Does a Sump Pump Work?
Continuously-running pumps are a fairly common problem. Sump pumps are designed to run intermittently. Constantly running units are prone to burn out prematurely. So, it’s critical to repair them immediately. Usually, the issue originates with the sump pump float switch, a mechanical float that regulates the power to the sump.
When the float is tilted up, the switch inside it turns on, thus draining the tank. When the tank empties, the float slopes downward. When this happens, the switch turns off, and the tank begins to fill with water again. Sometimes, the switch gets tangled with or pinned to the edge of the liner by the sump pump itself. This may prevent the floating switch from rising and falling with the water, causing it to become stuck in the “on” position. A switch that breaks while in the “on” position can also cause the sump pump to run continuously.
Sump Pump Repair & Safety
As with any mechanical or electrical device, proper repair demands safety precautions. Water and electricity can be a fatal combination. If you’re not comfortable cleaning or performing the necessary maintenance and repair on your sump, don’t do it. Call us. We have hands-on experience with a wide variety of pumps, and we know how essential they are to keeping your home’s foundation dry.
Before cleaning or inspecting the sump unit, make sure that the cord is in good shape and that it’s plugged into a working GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). Inspect the discharge pipe and vent hole for dirt, gravel and other debris. Remove any obstructions, as these cause the unit to work harder to drain the sump basin. Without proper cleaning, these obstructions not only shorten its life, they might also cause overflowing.
Sump Pump Cleaning
Your sump cleaning job should also involve removal of any visible debris from the pit, and ensuring the float component is unobstructed. To test whether you’ve performed a thorough cleaning and unclogging, pour a pail of water into the sump basin. As the water rises, the float should activate the unit and cause the water to drain quickly.
Cleaning battery terminals is also a good idea and may get some extra life out of your battery. Cleaning a sump battery involves removing the cables and giving the terminals and the ends of the cables a good scrubbing with steel wool. Sump batteries should be replaced every two to three years, or as directed by the manufacturer.
Home Drainage Maintenance
It’s often not only the sump pump that needs cleaning. Home drainage is a system with many components. Sometimes drainage issues are a single component like a sump unit, but occasionally multiple causes lead to the necessity of a cleaning or repair job– or both.
Often, it’s a home’s drain pipe system that most needs maintenance, such as clearing of debris. Groundhog comes to the rescue with the expertise needed to find the blockage that requires cleaning or repair. Where necessary, we use a water-jet high pressure cleaning unit that loosens and flushes debris at the source of the problem.
Groundhog Excavating and Drainage has the expertise and experience you need to tackle any number of issues with your sump or home drainage system. Contact us today for a free estimate.