In Central Ohio, sump pumps are a necessity. Unfortunately, we don’t often think about our sump pump until it fails, or can’t keep up to the demand.
We are often asked how long a sump pump should last. This is a question with no good answer. Each application is different. The longevity of a sump pump is most dependent on how often the pump turns on and off. The most common failure of a sump pump is in the switch. Occasionally, the motor of the pump will fail, but usually the failure is in the switch.
There are several different types of switches available on sump pumps. We use a vertical float switch on our sump pumps. This is a float that slides up and down on a rod, turning the pump on when the float reaches the trigger point. We have had very good success with this type of switch.
Another type of switch is just a mechanical type float switch without the vertical rod to guide it. We have found this type of float prone to catching the side of the sump pit, or get stuck in various other ways, causing the pump to run continually.
A third type of switch is a fixed diaphragm switch. This switch is activated by water pressure. When the water rises in the pit, it exerts a certain amount of pressure, causing the switch to turn the pump on. As the water is pumped out, the pressure is relieved turning the pump off. We have had a higher rate of failure with this type of switch.
Usually a non-working sump pump is first discovered along with a flooded basement. It is a good idea to regularly check your sump pump to make sure it is in working order. You may also want to consider an alarm or a battery backup system, especially if you have a finished basement. Hanging out in your man cave wearing wading boots is no fun.