3 Potential Reasons Why Your Sump Pump Isn't Working

30 June 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If you own a home with a basement in Cincinnati, then you almost certainly have a sump pump. With the sometimes substantial rainfall in the area, plus the numerous surrounding rivers and creeks that are flood-prone, moisture is always a concern for Cincinnati homeowners. That's especially true for homes with basements, where moisture around the home could sneak in through the foundation. In most homes, the water drains down into the sump pump, which then pushes the moisture far from the house's foundation. When your sump pump stops working, the water can overflow into your basement. Here are three tips to troubleshoot your sump pump and get it working again:

Check the power. One of the most common sump pump problems actually doesn't have to do with the sump pump at all. Many sump pumps fail because they're no longer getting power from the outlet. Unplug the pump and plug in another device, like a small radio, to see if it works. If it does, then you know the pump is the problem. If the new device doesn't work, the outlet is dysfunctional.

If the outlet isn't working, your first stop should be the circuit breaker. It's possible that the pump may have been working too hard and the breaker may have tripped. Flip it back on and see if the pump starts working. If not, you may need an electrician to repair or replace the outlet.

Look for blockages. Your pump probably sits in a basin dug out in the basement floor. When water fills the basin, a float is lifted and that float kicks on the sump pump switch. Sometimes, though, plants, rope, and other obstructions can filter into the basin. Those items can get wrapped around the float, preventing it from doing it's job.

Look at the float and the arm that connects it to the switch. Is there anything wrapped around it? If so, remove the obstruction and see if the pump starts working.

Clear the air hole. There will likely be a long pipe that extends up from your pump to the ceiling or the top of the basement wall. This is the discharge pipe where the pump pushes the water away from the home. Near the bottom of the pipe, there should be a small, but very important, hole. This hole releases air pressure from the discharge pipe. If there's too much pressure in the pipe, the pump won't be able to push the water up through the pipe.

Look at the hole to see if it's blocked by dirt or other debris. If so, use a screwdriver to try and clear the hole. That should allow air to release, clearing the way for water to be pumped out. Once the pump gets back to working, you may want to put some vinegar in the basin. As the pump pushes the vinegar through the pipe, the vinegar will help clear any remaining dirt and grime.

If these steps don't work, it may be time to call in professional plumbers like those at Midwestern Plumbing Service. They can inspect the pump and resolve the problem.