One of our clients that is in the residential rental business recently received a call from a tenant letting our client know the sump pump had not shut off for three days and steam was coming from the sump pit. Our client, who did not have a sump pump maintenance plan zoomed over to the property.
What our client found was the discharge line for the sump pump was frozen solid underground. The discharge line had a small amount of fall — but not enough— and the line had frozen solid. The sump pump kept fighting to push out water through the frozen drain. The pump got so hot it was boiling the sump water.It was only a matter of time until the pump burned itself out and the basement would have flooded.
If your home has a sump pump, sump pump maintenance is a necessity. Off the hop, it is important in high risk months during the spring to ensure 4 things:
- Make sure the pump will run when the float is raised. Sometimes a breaker trips and cuts off the power to the sump pump. This is why it is critical that your sump pump be on its own circuit.
- Make sure the float is set to start the pump at the correct level.
- Make sure that the water can discharge properly (that the discharge line is not plugged with debris or ice)
- Make sure that the pump will shut off when the level in the sump pit return to normal
The problem was temporarily solved by cutting the discharge pipe above ground and re-routing it to a piece of Big ‘O’ pipe carefully laid across the snow so that the water would drain out before freezing. It was routed to the ditch. Fortunately, Big ‘O’ is black, so it will absorb the heat from the sun on nice March days which will help it to keep from freezing. The pump, although still operable, was pro-actively replaced.
In the spring, as part of their new sump pump maintenance plan, the discharge line will be dug up and a greater “fall” will be introduced to the discharge.
To check your system take a hose from the laundry sink or a 25 litre paid and fill the sump until it starts to run. Water goes away…no problem…water stays…time to get proactive like our client and get the discharge re-routed.
Spending an hour on sump pump maintenance will save weeks and tens of thousands of dollars on a flooded basement.