Your sump pump is one of the most important lines of defense in your basement's waterproofing system, as it actively works to remove water that enters your home during times of heavy rain or snow melts. However, sump pumps are not immune from damage or deterioration associated with aging: over time, your sump pump may become less effective at protecting your home and pumping out water, which can increase the risk of water damage in your home. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can watch for to determine when you may need to replace your sump pump before its failure leads to serious damage.
One of the easiest to notice signs that your sump pump is working improperly is a strange sound coming from the pump while it is operating. There are a variety of different issues that this can point to, but generally any sort of chugging, grinding, bumping, or other sound usually points to excess friction, which can cause excessive wear and damage to the motor and other moving parts within the sump pump if left alone.
Cycling and Constant Operation
Your sump pump should only come on for a short period of time, and only when the rain outside is particularly heavy. If you notice that your pump is operating constantly even when the weather outside isn't bad, your float or activation switch may be stuck, which can cause the motor to burn out. In a similar vein, a sump pump that constantly cycles on and off can point to the same problem and cause the same complications if left unfixed, so pay attention and make sure that your sump pump is working for a moderate period of time and turns off and stays off after it completes a cycle.
Sump pumps are designed to prevent water damage and mold growth in your basement, but due to their location and the large amount of moisture that they deal with, it's possible that they will develop mold in the sump pump reservoir and throughout the drainage tubes of the pump itself. While this isn't a mechanical issue that will prevent the operation of your pump (unless it's a severe case where the mold growth is large enough to clog a drainage line), this mold can spread to other areas of your basement. You should inspect the interior of the reservoir every few months after periods of heavy use, and look for mold growth (characterized by a strong, musty smell) to determine if you need to have a plumber come and flush out the reservoir and drain lines.
For more information, contact a company like Garabedian Plumbing & Heating Inc.