Frequently Asked Questions on Sump Pumps

We all want to make sure we do everything we can to have a better understanding of the device that protects our basement. Here are some frequently asked questions on sump pumps that you need to know. 

How long do sump pumps last?

Properly sized and installed sump pumps should last for at least 5 to 10 years, depending on how often it runs. Some users report their pumps reaching up to 20 years. Conduct proper care of the pump to help it last longer.

How often should a sump pump run?

It may feel nice to watch a pump finish the job in less than 5 seconds but this is usually a sign of either an oversized pump, a low mounted float switch, or an undersized basin. A properly sized pump should run for 30 seconds or more as the water helps to cool the motor down. Ideally, you want the pump to stay off for 5 minutes or longer during the heaviest rains; a sump pump basin with a larger diameter with that.

How to check if a sump pump still works?

You can try manually lifting the switch of the pump to trigger it to run but air may get inside the pipeline and cause an airlock. A better way is to fill up the sump pump basin with water until the level reaches high and turns on the pump. This should be done at least four times a year not only to inspect but also to exercise the pump which is good practice in keeping it in tip-top shape.

What happens if my sump pump fails to run?

Sump pump failure is common especially if it’s not sized and installed properly. In case of a pump or power failure, a backup sump pump will come in handy as it can take over whenever the main pump is out even when there’s no electricity. Try to inspect the main pump for common reasons for sump pump failure and see if you can fix the problem yourself.

Why do I need a check valve for my sump pump?

A check valve keeps the water from going back its way into the pit. This helps the pump avoid having to move the water back out again. Not only does it keep the pump’s motor from burning, but it also saves electricity.

How do I know if the check valve is working?

First, plug the drains leading to the basin when the pump starts, then mark the water level in the pit after the pump has stopped, then observe if the level continues to rise after two seconds. If it does, the water in your pipes could be flowing back due to the check valve stuck in the open position causing the pump to work more than it needs to.