Figuring out what’s wrong with your sump pump might be a bit difficult, especially if you’re not even entirely sure what a sump pump is. It’s a pump in your basement that’s situated in a pit, which pumps out built-up water to protect your home from being flooded. In Toronto, flooding is such a common problem in the homes that there’s a subsidy program that will help you pay for your sump pump installation. It’s fairly easy to get and only requires you to fill out some paperwork and confirm you qualify.

Now, down to business. You’ve got some issues going on with your sump pump but you don’t really want to call in a plumber if you don’t have to. There are some issues that you can identify on your own and possibly even fix. So before you make the call, take a look at these 6 most common problems:

Problem #1: The Sensor

Every sump pump has a sensor to let it know when there is water to be pumped out. It’s usually a simple float switch and as the water rises to a certain point, the float on the pump then rises and activates the pump. This is the first place you want to look for trouble. 

Problem #2: Power Supply

Have you tried turning it on and off again? The all-powerful reset! You’d be surprised how often this solves the problem, so check your power supply before you frantically start dialing your plumber in Toronto. Most sump pump installations have a back-up battery supply, but these aren’t full-proof. If the power is down, you might be able to get this fixed or it might need replacing. 

Problem #3: Improper Installations

Sump pump installations can be complicated and they aren’t something your average Joe-Blow can do. Improper installations are a really common cause of problems. Make sure your pump was installed by an actual plumber, not your friend’s brother who knows a guy who’s ‘basically a plumber just without all that technical training’! 

Problem #4: Wrong Size

How many times have you bought something, come to set it up and realized it was the wrong size? Most people stop there, but some plow on—forcing something to work that doesn’t fit and justifying it with “it’s basically the same size!” This could be why your basement is flooded. Check and make sure you have the right size sump pump installed for your application. 

Problem #5: Lack of Maintenance or Old Age

Everything and everyone needs love—even sump pumps. Sump pumps need you to take care of them, just like anything else that you own and hope to keep for a long time. It will need cleaning and replacing old bits every now and then, and if it hasn’t had any TLC in a while it might cause it to play up. 

Problem #6: Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines

When you’ve checked everything else and it isn’t any of the previous five, this could be the problem. Try to see if something is visibly clogging the discharge line, but if you aren’t able to then it’s time to call your plumber. 

Sump pump installations might seem like a simple set-up-and-go situation, but they can be a lot more complicated and in-depth than that. Like anything, things can go wrong. Try to identify the problem but if you can’t, or it’s beyond your shining plumbing skills, call an actual plumber!