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I Have A Sump Pump - Why Is My Basement Flooding?
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This is the first in my series about sump pumps and what steps a homeowner can take to avoid expensive and disruptive disasters.

There's an often used saying in the sump pump business "All sump pumps fail. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when". Of course this is true because sump pump pumps are mechanical devices and all mechanical devices fail at some point.

Unfortunately, most homeowners find this out when they step down into a flooded basement or their furnace or some other appliance trips the circuit breaker due to rising water levels. In actuality most sump pump failures happen when the sump pump is not in operation. We just notice the result later. If we look at the most basic sump pump setup, we see that it consists of 3 mechanical components:

  1. A 120 volt ac pump
  2. A mechanical sensor - usually a float - that turns the pump off and on
  3. A Check Valve (or backflow preventer) which opens when the pump is operational and closes when the pump stops to prevent water in the pipe from flowing back into the sump. This stops the pump from frequent cycling due to pumping the same water over and over. In this type of system, the valve is similar to your toilet flapper except that it is subject to much higher pressures due to the pumping action. It can and will fail without notice.

The main causes of flooding withe this type of setup are:

  1. AC power disruption - no power, no pumping action
  2. Sensor breakdown. Floats are mechanical so at some point they will wear out. But what is far more likely to happen is that the float will break away from it's tether, thereby failing to turn on the pump at the correct water level. Or it will get physically caught on the side of the sump pit or wiring causing the pump to either not be turned on or not turned off which will lead to burnout.
  3. Pipe blockage caused by foreign materials either blocking the intake of the pipe or jamming up inside the pipe between the pump discharge and the check valve. Typically one sees this in older homes that have clay tiles which have separated over time. This allows sand, silt and/or clay to enter the sump pit. One should remove the sump pit lid at least twice a year to check the bottom of the pit.
  4. Frozen discharge line - This occurs in 2 different scenarios: where the sump pit is outside the house or where the discharge line does not have enough vertical slope upon leaving the house. In either case, one solution is to install a second pump higher up in the pit with a separate discharge line. The best solution is to replace the existing pump with a NexPump Ai5600 series system with dual discharge lines.
  5. Too low pumping capacity - in this scenario the solution is easy, replace the existing pump witha high capacity Ai5600 model capable of pumping 5000 gallons per hour at a 10 foot head. This is 2 to 5 times the capacity of your existing pump.

Next article in this series "I added a backup pump - Why do I still have a problem?"

Paul McDermott is the Marketing Manager for NexPumpDOTca the Canadian distributor for Nexpump Inc. -manufacturer of the NexPump Intelligent Sump Pump Systems - the world's most reliable sump pumps.


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Gary2  

Very Nice Article Paul Gary

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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