Sump Pumps – Maryland and Virginia

Your  sump pump may be connected to a municipal storm drain or even a sewer system, depending on your home’s setup and location. There are two basic types of sump pumps in Virginia and Maryland – a pedestal unit and a submersible unit. A pedestal unit is mounted above the flood area, while a submersible unit is mounted below the flood area and sealed to protect the electrical circuits. Not sure which type is right for you? An experienced My Plumber technician can help you determine which sump pump model will work best in your VA or MD home.

A Flooded Basement Is a Huge Pain!!!

Have you ever gone downstairs in your home and found rising water everywhere? Hopefully not, following are some points that will help prevent this from happening to you!

Your sump pump is your best defense against flooding.  Regular maintenance and a back-up sump pump are sound practices in keeping your house dry.

My Plumber Heating and Cooling Technicians are professionally trained specialist and can perform a complete sump pump inspection in no time. We repair all makes and models. Is it time to replace or upgrade your sump pump? My Plumber carries a complete line of quality systems designed to last up to 40 years, remember all of our work is guaranteed.

When heavy rains in our area hit, these storms often knock out your power as well, this can cause your sump pump to fail.  We have found that the majority of people have chosen to use a battery backup system, especially after they have experienced sump pump failure.

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A sump pump drains water year round, and when a rainstorm is present your sump pump works over time to keep your basement from flooding.

Sump pumps are mechanical and all of them will eventually fail as they age.  The average life of a sump pump life is 10 years and the most common reason for failure is the sump pump switch.

If your sump pump fails during a rain storm, hundreds of gallons of water more than likely will  flood your basement, this can happen in a matter of minutes. This type of flooding can cause thousands of dollars in damages.

Sump pump failure can ruin your water heater, furnace and other mechanical devices. According to the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association these appliances must be replaced after being exposed to water due to home flooding.

Sump pumps should receive maintenance twice a year – One thing you can do is pour water into your sump pit until the submersible pump (kicks on) cycles. This is usually an easy process and only takes a couple of minutes.  Don’t wait for a failure during a rainstorm to find out your sump pump doesn’t work.

All sump pumps eventually fail, so you should protect your home with a battery backup sump pump.  If you have a finished basement, a battery backup system is essential.

Things that Cause Sump Pump Failure

Power Failure
The most common cause for sump pump failure is an electrical power outage.

On the same topic of power, some components of the sump pump may be vulnerable to damage from power surges

The Sump Pump is the Wrong Size

Improper Installation
Installing a sump pump must be done exactly right. Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed carefully for the installation in order to avoid severe water damage down the road.

The sump pump pit should not be set in dirt or gravel. This causes debris to enter into your pump and can result in interference with the pump’s on/off switch or float arm.

Switch Problems
The leading mechanical cause of sump pump problems is a switch problem. This occurs when the pump shifts from its position inside the basin, rendering the float ineffective. Float is responsible for the smooth operation of the on/off switch. Your sump pump relies on both the switch and the float arm mechanisms to operate effectively.

Lack of Maintenance
Some pump manufacturers recommend the pump to be run every 2-3 months. Some recommend a yearly program completed just before the rainy season hits. Here are some additional manufacturer recommendations:

  • If there is a back-up pump, unplug the primary pump and run the back-up pump to make sure it works properly
  • When testing your sump pump, go outside to make sure it is discharging water
  • Sometimes the pump can run but not pump any water. This means the impeller has disengaged from the pump shaft or is installed backwards.
  • Check the operation of the float to make sure it is not restricted
  • Clean out the air hole in the discharge line
  • Listen for any unusual noises when the motor is running
  • Replace the battery on the back-up sump pump every 2 or 3 years

Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines
If water cannot exit your home through the discharge line, your system will not work.

Product Defect
This is rare, however product defect is always a possibility and does happen. It is wise to test the pump when it is initially installed to make sure the pump operates properly.

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