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4 Steps for Troubleshooting Your Basement Sump Pump

Basements are often prone to some moisture due to high groundwater levels and extended periods of rain. A sump pump is the solution, as it channels the water out of the home. This prevents flooding, water damage and mold growth. A sump can suddenly stop at the most inconvenient times. Let’s look at the troubleshooting steps you can take to get it pumping again.

1. Check the Power

Make sure that the sump pump is getting the power it needs to operate. The GFCI outlet may have tripped. If it has, reset it. You should also go to your breaker box and ensure that the circuit for the sump pump hasn’t tripped. If it has, reset it.

If you reset the GCFI outlet and/or the circuit breaker and they trip again, don’t continue resetting them. Call your local electrical and plumbing company. It’s likely that you have an electrical issue with the sump pump, outlet, circuit or electrical panel.

2. Look for Local Clogs

If power isn’t the issue, the next step is to make sure there isn’t a local clog. A clog can cause the sump pump to trip. Make sure that the pit is free of any debris. Ideally, you should have your sump pump on a pedestal and in a container that you cover with a lid. If you do not have these items, you may want to call a plumber anyway, as these upgrades will help avoid clogging in the future.

3. Inspect the Float Switch

If there’s no clog, and the sump pump still won’t run after you clear it, inspect the float switch. The switch is what controls the sump pump cycles. These switches can get stuck or jammed at times. Free the switch, and the sump pump will run again. If the switch gets stuck frequently, don’t just keep releasing it. Instead, call a plumber. You may need to replace the switch or upgrade the pump.

4.See if the Discharge Line Is Clogged

The discharge line is the drainage through which water leaves your home. This is a common culprit when it comes to sump pump problems, as it can clog quite easily. In some cases, the blockage will be right at the end, and you’ll be able to clear it. If the clog is hard to reach, or the line has frozen, you’ll need to call a plumber. In addition to having the line unclogged, you may want to ask your plumber to install discharge grates.

Call a Plumber

If those four troubleshooting steps don’t do the trick, it’s time to call in the pros. The average lifespan of a sump pump is 10 years. The age of the system and the extent of the problem will determine whether it’s better to repair the unit or replace it.

If your sump pump has stopped working and you live in the Rochester, NY area, call our experts at Nichols Electric and Plumbing to schedule service.