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Sump Pump Sunk: Spotting & Preventing Common Issues

Written by Hanna Plumbing & Heating / March 11, 2024

A pair of boots stand alone on a flooded basement floor

Spring brings warmer temps, melting snow, and rain showers.

While that might be good for brightening our moods and budding fresh flowers, spring could spell trouble for your home’s sump pump, leading to a wet mess.

As your first line of defense against basement flooding, it’s crucial to check and maintain your sump pump, especially with the change in seasons.

Read on to discover common issues, telltale signs, and preventative measures to keep your sump pump thriving.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

Your home’s sump pump has a float that senses escalating water levels. When the water level gets too high, your sump pump activates, automatically removing excess water out of the basement and away from your property through a discharge line. This line connects the sump pump to a designated drainage area.

A functioning sump pump keeps your basement clear of water and can help safeguard your home’s foundation.

Sump Pump Trouble Signs

The following are common symptoms of a sick sump pump and can help you identify an issue before water floods in and disaster strikes:

  • Constantly Running
  • Strange Noises
  • Visible Rust
  • Seven Years or Older

Common Sump Pump Issues

The previously mentioned signs and symptoms are typically attributed to the following factors:

  • Overwhelmed Pump: heavy rain and drastic melting can create a sudden flow of water, overworking your sump pump and leading to malfunction or failure.
  • Inadequate Discharge Line: if the discharge line coming from the sump pump isn’t long enough to adequately move water away from the outside of the home’s foundation, the pumped water can just cycle directly back down into the sump pit.
  • Hung-up Float: The float on the sump pump can become hung up on the side of the pit or by debris in the pit causing the unit to run continuously even when the pit is free of water.
  • Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines: frigid winter temperatures or debris can lead to a frozen or blocked discharge line outside of the home, potentially causing water backup and eventual sump pump malfunction.
  • Age: sump pumps have about a 10-year lifespan. As the years pass, the wear and tear on your sump pump starts to take its toll.
  • Power Outage: a loss of power to your home means your sump pump is no longer operating, which is why it’s a wise idea to have a generator or a secondary, battery-powered sump pump.

How to Protect Your Sump Pump

Keep an eye on your discharge line to ensure it is adequately moving the groundwater away from the foundation and that it isn’t frozen or clogged with debris.

Periodically test your sump pump by pouring water into the sump pump’s pit to test its functionality.

It’s also a good idea to regularly clean your sump pump and pit. Look at our cleaning guide to see how to do the job quickly and effectively.

When all else fails, Hanna’s here to handle all aspects of sump pump service, repair, and installation. Our expert plumbers are familiar with the most common sump pump problems and will provide a fast and effective remedy.

If you notice any signs that your sump pump needs service, don’t hesitate to connect with us.


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Address 1155 3rd Ave, Marion, IA 52302

Phone (319) 377-2809

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