Standing water around a home

A sump pump is an appliance commonly installed in your home’s basement. The main purpose of your sump pump is to collect water from around your home’s foundation and redirect it away to keep your house safe. 

Your home’s sump pump might not be a mechanical appliance you use often, but it’s incredibly crucial to have a functioning one in case you need it. After all, if you experience a sump pump failure, you won’t be able to prevent hazardous and expensive situations involving flood water. 

To avoid placing your family at risk and save yourself thousands of dollars in damages, Scully’s Plumbing & Heating team, in New York’s Nassau County, explains the eight reasons for sump pump failure in your home. By knowing these reasons, you will hopefully avoid costly household damages and unnecessary injuries. 

How Do You Know When A Sump Pump Is Going Bad?

Before we look at the eight reasons for sump pump failure, we want to tell you more about the signs you need to look for that show a sump pump is going bad or is damaged. 

Sometimes, you can repair your sump pump by hiring a professional like the team at Scully’s Plumbing & Heating, while other times, you will need to replace it. 

Here are the signs you need to look for:

These are just a few signs your sump pump could be going bad. If you suspect your sump pump needs repairs or replacing, it’s best to consider speaking with one of our professionals. 

What Are The Eight Reasons For Sump Pump Failure?

Now that you’re aware of the signs that a sump pump is going bad, it’s time to look at the eight reasons for sump pump failure. The more you know about sump pump failure, the better prepared you will be to handle an emergency situation involving this mechanical appliance. 

  1. A Stuck Sump Pump Switch

One question often asked by people is what is the most common reason for sump pump failure? Well, the answer might not be what you expect. Essentially, the most prevalent mechanical issue that causes your sump pump to fail in your home is a switch that has become stuck. 

Typically, a switch will become stuck when your household sump pump moves inside its basin. The shifting makes the float stop working, and because the float operates the pump’s switch, the switch becomes stuck. 

Long Island power outage leads to sump pump failure.
  1. Power Failure

When bad weather involves rain and storms, one of the most common problems on Long Island is a power failure. Unfortunately, when the power fails, so does your sump pump, which often leads to a flooded basement since your sump pump cannot drain water. 

Usually, one of the best ways to prevent your sump pump from failing during a power outage is to use a backup generator that runs your sump pump.

  1. Old Age

Nothing lasts forever, and this adage is true for sump pumps. According to industry experts, your household sump pump will inevitably fail after seven to ten years of use because of wear and tear. 

Not that there aren’t some sump pumps that last longer than ten years. Either way, it’s often best to replace your home’s sump pump every ten years to avoid any safety or efficiency issues. 

  1. A Product Defect

Rarely, your sump pump can fail because of a product defect. That’s why it’s best to always test your sump pump after installation to ensure it’s working as it should. You can test it yourself or get a professional to test it and ensure it works as it should so that you’re not blindsided during an emergency. 

Sand and debris in a sump pump basket.
  1. Improper Installation

Another rare reason for a sump pump failure is that your installer installed this mechanical appliance incorrectly. Should your household sump pump not be the problem, you could face an installation problem. A few issues could arise that could indicate that an improper installation is your reason for a sump pump failure. These include:

  1. A Household Frozen Discharge Pipe

If you live in a place that experiences cold winters, you could be experiencing sump pump failure because of a frozen household discharge pipe. When a discharge pipe freezes, the water your pump is trying to pump out will make its way back down the pipe and into the basement of your home. 

Although it’s true that you cannot stop your pipes from freezing, you are able to speak with a professional about installing a special discharge pipe that will let your sump pump water out of your basement, even if your household’s discharge pipe is frozen solid. 

  1. Lack Of Maintenance

As with nearly every mechanical appliance, if you don’t regularly maintain your sump pump, it will break. If your home’s sump pump has stopped functioning as it should, it’s highly likely it requires maintenance and some cleaning. 

If the need arises, you can hire a professional from Sully’s Plumbing & Heating to take care of your sump pump maintenance. Otherwise, you can clean your pump with a vinegar mixture. Simply run a vinegar solution through your sump pump; it should clean the air holes on your discharge line and the various vents on your household sump pump. 

  1. A Clog

Another incredibly common problem that causes sump pump failure is clogs. Unfortunately, there are many ways a sump pump can become clogged. For example:

If a clog is causing your sump pump to fail, let a plumber see if it is repairable or if you need to replace it. If you choose to replace it, ensure your new sump pump is installed so that dirt won’t cause more clogs. 

Sump Pump FAQs

What Is The Average Life Expectancy Of A Sump Pump?

According to the US Department of Housing and Development, you should consider replacing your household sump pump after about ten years because these pumps only have a life expectancy of up to ten years. You must be more vigilant if you think your sump pump will break soon. You risk thousands of dollars in water damage if you don’t check it regularly when it’s nearing the ten-year mark. 

A Long Island water damaged basement because of a failed sump pump.

Will Your Basement Flood If Your Home’s Sump Pump Fails?

Should your sump pump fail during a significant weather event involving rain, your basement will likely flood, leading to large-scale water damage to your home. With a failed household sump pump, you will struggle to get the water out of your basement, so it’s best to make sure it works routinely. 

Is A Sump Pump Failure An Emergency?

Since you’ll never know when you could experience a flooded basement, experiencing a sump pump failure can be an emergency. You risk your safety if you don’t replace or repair a broken sump pump when it fails. You also can incur unnecessary water damage expenses. 

Speak With An Expert At Scully’s Plumbing & Heating To Discuss Your Sump Pump 

Sump pump failure can be an incredibly frustrating and challenging experience, especially if you don’t have the knowledge to repair or replace the sump pump in your Long Island home. Fortunately, if you have experienced a sump pump failure, you can speak with an expert at Scully’s Plumbing & Heating, who will know how to repair or replace your sump pump. 

In addition, if you only need to have your sump pump maintained, we can help too. So get in contact with our team here, and we will be in touch. 

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