Photo By IcemanJ at istock
As most people in Texas know by now, snow and rain can pile up quickly and when it does the water has to go somewhere. This is why many local residents have a sump pump near their basement or garage. While a sump pump has to work hard to divert water away from your home, it should not be running all of the time. If you start to notice that it is always on, this is an indication that you need to call your plumber to come to take a look.
Believe it or not, a sump pump that is running all of the time will probably die out on you if you don’t do something to get it turned off. This is where you need a professional to properly diagnose what has gone wrong and is forcing the pump to stay on. Constantly running is one of the number one reasons why people’s sump pumps fail.
Why Is a Constantly Running Sump Pump Such an Issue?
Hearing your sump pump running does not always mean that you should rush off to the plumber. Hearing it working can just indicate that it is working properly and pushing water away from your home. However, hearing your sump pump running when there hasn’t been any rainfall or snow is a problem. A sump pump that is left continuously on will wear out the motor far before it should and probably decrease the life of the system overall.
In addition, constant cycling means that there is a higher chance of something falling into the pump and hitting the blade out of place. Impeller blades cannot be replaced, and most of the time unless it is a very minor bend cannot be repaired either. If something happens to your blade then you will need to replace the entire sump pump. You can avoid this eventual cost if you call an Irving, TX plumber right away and try to salvage what you can.
What Causes a Sump Pump to Cycle Continuously?
So why does your sump pump continue to cycle endlessly? There are a lot of reasons why you may notice your pump keeps cycling, but generally, there are three main reasons that a professional will be looking for when he or she comes out to your home. Here is a quick list of what is probably causing a problem with your sump pump so you know what to expect once they arrive.
Issue with the Check Valve
First up, the plumber is probably going to look at the valve located right above the discharge pipe. This valve is called the check valve and is responsible for ensuring that water only travels one way through the pipe- out. If the valve is leaking or malfunctioning water may be able to seep back up the discharge pipe and into the pit which will mistakenly make the sump pump think that it has to get back to work. This creates a vicious cycle as the sump pump pushes the water out the discharge pipe only to have it return right back in.
If you installed your own sump pump, you may not have even realized you needed a check valve which means this may have always poised an issue. Luckily, a professional can fix it fairly quickly. A simple ring clamp is usually all it takes to hold a new check valve in place, but the technician will make sure that it is the right size to prevent any further leakage.
Problem with the Float Switch
If your sump pump never turns off there is a good chance that something is wrong with your float switch. The job of the float switch is to literally tell the system when it needs to run, so if it is not properly functioning correctly it can be responsible for the sump pump never shutting off.
As the name pretty much explains, the job of the float switch is to raise to the top of the water surface as water fills the pit. When the switch floats upwards it triggers the pump motor to switch on and start pumping. As the water is discharged out of the system the float switch will gradually start to fall down again and once it passes the trigger point the sump pump will flip off.
A plumber will open up your sump pump and take a look inside to see if the float switch or the arm it sits on are tangled up in debris or the electrical cord of the pump. If there is nothing in the way of the float switch, it is possible that the piece is simply defective and may need to be replaced which a trained Irving, TX plumber should be able to diagnose fairly correctly. You want to leave this task to a professional because it is vital that you get the right float switch or you will have the exact same issue because it won’t work correctly.
If both the check valve and the switch float appear fine, the plumber might take a look at the discharge pipe. If sediment, debris, or other trash builds up inside of the pipe it could block the discharge pipe causing water to build up in the sump pump. The collected water would continue to trigger the float switch causing your unit to cycle continuously.
It is best to let a plumber handle the clog because you don’t want to disturb or break the piping. You also cannot use chemical drain cleaners since the water will drain right into the earth. A professional plumber should be able to take care of the issue without too much hassle. If you are dealing with a sump pump that won’t turn off, give bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas a call.