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Sump Pumps: Signs and Symptoms

If you are one of the many homeowners who have a sump pump installed at your residence, flooding or storm water issues are an ever present concern. Sump pump and basins are designed to relieve excess water away from your residence, however, the system is not guaranteed to be perfect or without failure. And of course, when does it seem most likely to fail.....during heavy rain storms, or excessive snow melts. There are signs and preventative measures homeowners can watch for and take action on before the big flood.

1. Age of the Sump pump

Sump pumps are subjected to a variety of harsh conditions. They are in water, usually with dirt and debris, also the motor turns on and off thousands of times. Normal wear and tear of these pumps will result in failure....and excessive use, failure can happen at any time. Most pumps should be replaced every 5 to 7 years.

2. Power failure

Power failures prevent the sump pump from doing what it is designed to prevent...flooded basements. Unfortunately, most power failures are going to happen during a storm, and that is when you need your sump pump more than ever. Back- up power systems are available and should be installed as a extra safeguard. Our service professionals can offer a variety of alarms and safety back ups to be installed to safeguard against unwanted power failures.

3. Sump pump float switch failure

Sump pumps are designed with a float switch. This float allows the pump to kick on and off when it senses the water level is too high. This switch or float can become "stuck" preventing the pump from turning on. Homeowners should check the float switch often, especially, if the weather is predicting large amounts or rain or a snow melt.

4. Undersized or Overwhelmed Pumps

Not all sump pumps are the same. Lower Horsepower and GPM (gallons per minute) can be overwhelmed and are subjected to overuse...resulting in a lower life and pump failure. If a lower horsepower pump is struggling to keep up and the pump is continuously running a higher horsepower and GPM would be recommended. Our professionals can suggest the right fit for your home.

5. Check Valve

The check valve is installed on the discharge for the sump pump and basin. This check valve prevents the water from funneling or back flowing back into the basin through the pump. Back flow failure results in the sump continuously running and eventually sump pump failure The check valve should always be replaced with a pump replacement. If you notice your pump excessively cycling, it's time to schedule a maintenance check.

6. Discharge Line

The discharge line coming from your sump pump can have a multiple of different issues. Discharge lines can freeze during the winter, build up sediment, or break. If you notice buzzing or a grinding noise coming from your pump a ice blockage or build up could be the source of the problem.

The best way to prevent problems and flooding associated with sump pumps is scheduled maintenance. Homeowner's should schedule periodic maintenance to ensure the system is working properly. Being a professional for over 30 years and in my experience, almost all of the failures with sump systems were preventable. The best advice be as proactive as possible, observe and address problems as soon as you notice the issue, stay ahead of the suggested service to avoid major flooding and damages, and call a professional to correct issues. Mike's Excavating offers full service for all of your sump pump and drainage needs. If you are a homeowner in need of professional advice or service, contact us to schedule an appointment today. For more information and a list of our services contact Mike's Excavating at 440-846-5507 or 216-244-3575 to speak to a professional or visit

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