If your sump pump is running non-stop, that could mean your pump’s capacity has been matched by the flow of the ground water. This could be a problem, because that could mean your pump is at risk of easily being overwhelmed with just a slight increase in the ground water flowing into the pit.
If your pump keeps running, check some of the following to make sure you’re not at risk of a serious flood.
Make Sure it is Working Correctly
You need to check that the pump is actually pumping water, and operating close to capacity. You may have sand or silt in your sump pit that could erode the impeller vanes and render the pump nearly useless. Impellers in some models are made of metal that can corrode in water.
Check the Discharge Pipe
If your discharge pipe or hose becomes clogged or broken due to freezing weather, the pump will run constantly. The pipe can also come loose, and if this happens you will see water circulating in the sump pit.
Check the Check Valve
If the pit goes dry during a drought, and then refills with water, then a 3/16 hole needs to be drilled in the discharge pipe a short distance above the pump. This hole will be needed to allow air to get out of the pump so it can prime. If water above the check valve holds air in the pump, then water will not be able to reach the impeller. In this instance, the pump will continue to run without pumping.
Consider the Ground Water Level
If your pump is pumping correctly, then you need to look at not only its capacity, but the volume and level of the ground water as well. You may need to either get a pump with more capacity, or add a backup. You may, however, be able to simply raise the pump a few inches to let the ground water reach its own level without being constantly pumped out.
Turn off the pump and see how high the water gets into the pit. If the water level stops rising, then you can raise the level at which the pump engages, and let the water stay at that level. That way, the pump will only turn on when the water gets higher than that level.
Many times, people will set their pump too deep into the water table, to the point where it pumps water that doesn’t need to be moved.
If, however, the pit overflows with water with the pump turned off, you’ll need more capacity or a backup. Any increase in the ground water level will cause a flooded basement.
In order to make sure your sump pump will work when you need it the most, you need to perform some simple maintenance, just like you would for any sort of appliance. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your pump is in proper working order.
The Sump Pit
If your area has extended periods of frozen weather, make sure you clean the pit when weather warms. Drainage can bring debris, sand and soil from the pit to the foundation of your basement. If water sits for a long time in your pit, that can lead to a musty smell. In this instance, add fresh water until the pump removes the old water.
The Sump Pump
Test your pump every spring before the start of the rainy season, or if you plan on being away from your home for a long time. If necessary, pour water into the pit so your pump can operate. Once a year, clean your pump thoroughly after disconnecting it from its power source. Your pump probably has a screen covering the water intake. Make sure that remains clean.
The Sump Pump Discharge Pipe
Look at the area where the discharge pipe leaves your Toronto home, and make sure nothing blocks its flow.
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