Sump Pump Plumbing Repair
14 Dec

Sump Pump Repair and Maintenance Guide for Chicago Homeowners


what is a sump pumpWhat is a Sump Pump For?

A sump pump, based on its name, is basically a pump that is used or put in a sump. A sump is a hole like the ones that you can find in your basement which has a typical lid over it. The sump pump sits at the bottom of that pit.

Sump pumps are installed in specially lined pits (called “sumps”), designed for drainage. In automatic sump pumps, when enough water accumulates in the pit, a sensor is activated which turns the pump on. The system is then able to drain the water, via a drainage pipe that deposits the water safely outside your home.

In This Article, We Will Be Covering:

  • Why you need a sump pump
  • How does a sump pump system work
  • Types of sump pumps
  • Which kind is right for you
  • When is the best time for an installation
  • Sump pump problems and failure
  • Sump pump maintenance guide and tips
  • How to keep your sump pump well maintained
  • How to use a sump pump
  • Common repair problems
  • Sump pump not working?  This might be why..

Why Do You Need a Sump Pump?

working sump pump could prevent your basement from being flooded and walls wet during the rainy season. It plays a major role in keeping your basement dry, therefore saving you from expensive repairs.

If your sump pump is broken and neglected, you open your home to a serious risk. Understanding the purpose of your sump pump will quickly open your eyes to its important function and the need to have it repaired as quickly and professionally as possible. 

How Does a Sump Pump System Work?

sump pump repair Chicago ILThis handy device is basically a pump that is submerged bottom of what is known called a sump pit.

This pit and pump are installed at the point most likely to flood in your crawl space or basement. Then, the water that surrounds the foundation of your house is directed into a perimeter drain system.

A float is usually on that pump. It works similarly with a toilet tank’s float where you pull the top of it. The sump pump works by having the water rise to a certain level until a switch is hit or activated. This kicks on the sump pump and it draws the water coming from the bottom of the pump. It is then pushed up by a check valve towards a series of pipes until it reaches an area outside of your home.

The pump will activate when water reaches a certain level inside the pump itself. Once activated, the pump will divert the water into the nearest storm drain, dry well, or other location set up for the purpose.

If your house lacks this system and you are at risk of flooding, call our expert Chicago plumbers.  Your sump pump system is often installed at the base of your foundation. Any water that makes it into the drainpipes and quickly removed by your sump pump.

Types of Sump Pumps

There are many types of sump pumps available. There are those that are hard-wired right into your house’s electrical system, and there are those that are powered by plugging right into an outlet. Many pumps also come with a battery backup to continue working through power outages and storms- when it is needed the most.

There are two main kinds of sump pumps. Our technicians can help you select the kind that is right for your home.

  • A Pedestal or Column-Type 

Pedestal-type pumps are mounted above the sump. They are the less expensive option of the two kinds of pumps, and last a long time – up to 30 years. This makes them an attractive option for the budget-conscious homeowner. However, they are more obtrusive and can be louder than submersible pumps.

  • Submersible-Type 

Submersible-type pumps are mounted directly inside the sump, so they are less obvious, which might make them a preferred option for some homeowners. They are more expensive than pedestal-type pumps and have a shorter lifespan of 5 to 15 years. However, they are quieter, and handle debris better than pedestal-type pumps.

There are other variables that you can use to determine which sump pump is right for your home. 

Which Kind is Right for You?

  • Do you need an automatic or manual pump? The automatic kind can detect when water needs to be removed, so you won’t have to monitor the level yourself.
  • How much horsepower does your pump require?
  • What is the voltage?

When is the Best Time for a Sump Pump Installation?

The best time to do sump pump installations is during early spring when there is less heavy rain. If your neighborhood is experiencing a huge water influx, call us immediately.

Other sump pump services include:

  • Ensuring that the flow of heavy water influx are set properly
  • Ensuring that the check valves are operating properly
  • Ensuring that the electrical connections are tight if you have a stocked check valve which pump is not operating properly
  • Making sure that the sump pump is ready to go, especially when there is heavy rain and water

Sump Pump Problems and Failure

sump pump repair service ChicagoIf not taken into action immediately, sump pump failure may have a few consequences. The cost can be very expensive for repairs, especially if the basement it’s on is already finished.

Once your sump pump breaks, the water will be infiltrating the basement and flood the entire area. This is huge property damage and most of the time, property insurance does not cover these damages.

You need to ensure first and foremost that your sump pump is properly installed. It would be great if you have a check valve put into it so pump will not set off in just short cycles.  To avoid further damage, you must maintain this once in a while and perform immediate repairs. Proper installation is also a must because, admit it, you wouldn’t want to suffer from having problems in the middle of its lifetime, right?

Sump Pump Maintenance Guide and Tips

If your pump is not properly working your basement can quickly suffer water damage. Many people don’t check on their pump until it is too late and their finished basements have suffered thousands of dollars in damage.

Because it is out of sight and out of mind, many forget to have it serviced and repaired. A quick call to our local Chicago plumbing expets will insure that this doesn’t happen to you. 

Easily Test your Pump In a Matter of Minutes

You can easily test your sump pump by removing the cover and filling the pit completely with water. This should rise the float switch and activate the pump rather quickly. The pump should then pump the water out and automatically switch off.

Cleaning and Repairing Take a Professional Touch

While testing your pump to see if it is working properly is easy, cleaning and repairing take skill. Often dirt, gravel, sand, and other debris can make it inside your pump and drastically reduce its efficiency and lifespan.  Our certified Chicago techicians know exactly where to look and can clear the discharge line opening of any blockage, allowing the water to exit the home smoothly.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Backup power is vital for when the power goes out it is usually storming outside. Storms bring water, and water spells trouble for your basement without a working sump pump.

Usually, your sump pump will draw AC power from a wall outlet or your home’s electrical wiring and supply the power to your sump pump. In the event of power outage, a backup will kick in and take over supplying power to the sump pump. As such, you need a reliable system that will automatically send power from your backup to the pump.

Your pump may also fail if there is mechanical failure or excessive use. Whether your motor overheated or your power went out, a battery backup can give you additional hours of protection against water damage.

The handy mechanical device that you rarely think about does vital job in keeping your basement dry and free of flooding. Now that its broken, your home is at risk for frequent flooding and water damage.

Take the time to check your sump pump today. A specialist can help extend the life of your pump by cleaning the parts, pit, installing backup power, and ensuring everything is working to its full capacity.

How to Keep Your Sump Pump Well Maintained

Sump pump not working ChicagoYour sump pump is tested not during the summer but during rainy days, and it is only by then that you notice that it has malfunctioned.

During these days, the quick flow of rainwater contributes to the ground water making the water table rise quickly. The sump pump kicks on as the ground water level reaches the float activation point. It keeps the water level below the basement and therefore lessening the pressure below the basement floor.

A lot of homeowners only find out their sump pump is not functioning or has malfunctioned when it is already late. A non-functioning sump pump during rainy days could lead to flooding and wet walls. It is recommended to have an extra sump pump just in case the main one malfunctions or at least perform frequent maintenance with the sump pump that you already have.

The installation of the basement waterproofing systems like drainage and sump pumps among others comes with an offer of annual maintenance. It is recommended that you grab this offer to ensure that your sump pump is well maintained to save your basement from damage. Remember that a house that doesn’t get flooded cost higher in the market.

  • Regular maintenance includes the removal of obstructions such as leaves, twigs and stones in the sump pump liner, filter and screen.
  • You have to clean the pump’s inlet screen at least every three to four months. It should not be clogged with debris or residues to maintain the pump’s efficiency.
  • You should also check the power cord. Make sure that it’s plugged correctly to a power source. Inspect the cord and guarantee that it’s in good condition. If it’s already damaged, you should consult a technician to see
  • Speaking of power source, the sump pump should have a backup battery to guarantee that it won’t fail just in case you experience a power outage. Check that the battery is working. Unplug the device from the outlet and see if the battery will power it up.
  • To test if the sump pump is working, pour a bucket of water into the device and observe if its float mechanism will rise. Make sure that the pump will turn on automatically as well.
  • Once a year, perform a thorough check on your sump pump. Remove the device from the sump, clean it and inspect it. Also clean the sump to get rid of residues and other types of dirty substances.
  • After cleaning the sump and the device, get the owner’s manual and check if the device should be oiled or greased. There are models and types of sump pumps that require greasing. If the manual doesn’t indicate anything, use the internet. Go to Google and research about your device using its brand name and model number.
  • Afterward, re-install the device into the sump. Make sure that you’ll connect the power cord properly to the outlet. And to ensure that it will work, use the bucket method. Pour a bucket of water into the sump and check if the device will automatically activate.
  • It is recommended that the sump pump’s drains are flushed with hot water regularly. This method ensures that iron bacteria colonies do not grow and multiply and removes debris that might obstruct the flow of water.
  • Avoid the use of hazardous cleaning chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, detergents and the like in cleaning your sump pump system.



Additional areas to clean and check:

  • Removable screen at the base
  • Test operation and the float switch
  • Check water discharge lines
  • Open drains
  • Battery backup

Once you have your sump pump installed, it becomes a must to follow factory recommended maintenance procedures. Complete maintenance checks every year, but it is recommended that it is done twice a year.   

How to Use a Sump Pump

24 hour sump pump repair ChicagoMany American homes require sump pumps in order to clear away excess liquid in low-elevation areas where water can easily collect.

Some homes are required by law to have a sump pump, even if they aren’t in a flood zone. Often, this means installing this equipment to prevent flooding in your basement or crawl space.

There are many reasons to take care to keep your home free from flooding. Naturally, keeping your basement dry is important for maintaining it as a storage or living space. Preventing flooding is also good for the longevity of your home, and can prevent damage to your foundation. Removing excess moisture is also essential for preventing the development of mold and mildew.

Regular Check Ups are Needed

If you currently have a sump pump, you should check it regularly to make sure it is running smoothly. During dry periods of the year, you can pour water into the sump to make sure it is still in good working order.

Submersible-type pumps have a screen on the bottom that should be cleaned on a regular basis. Debris collecting in the sump can be the underlying reason for a lot of problems, so it’s essential to make sure debris is carefully cleared away periodically.

If you’re concerned about your pump’s maintenance, this is something that a professional can help you with. Making sure your pump is working properly can save you lots of money on repairs in the future!

Common Sump Pump Repair Problems

sump pump plumber ChicagoYour installed sump pump is permanent and will last years with proper care and maintenance. However, plumbing troubles are always unexpected.  It’s best to know these common sump pump problemsand tips on how to troubleshoot them:

Defective float– The float is an important part of the sump pump because it is the one that triggers it to pump in the first place.

See to it that you also check the float randomly and in between maintenance checks by your plumber in Wellington to see if there are obstructions that will cause problems in the future.

Valve not working– See if the valve is clogged with debris or not. Check the arrow and observe. It should be pointing away from the sump pump and not towards it.

Faulty electric wires– Make sure that the electrical connections are not broken or peeled. Also check the circuit breaker, fuse, and the power source itself.

Sump Pump Not Working? This Might Be Why…

A well-installed and maintained sump pump should last for many years, but if you notice any problems with your pump, here are a few of the common reasons why there might be a problem:

  • Lack of Electricity

If you lose power, obviously your sump pump will stop working… and this can happen at times when you need it to work most. If flooding during storms is an issue for your home, you may want to consider installing a backup generator for your pump. Another option is to install a backup pump that operates on water pressure.

  • Electrical problems

Problems can ensue if your pump is getting too much, or not enough, electrical current. Make sure that your pump is connected to an outlet that provides the proper amount of voltage. Too little can cause the pump to run improperly, and too high of a voltage can cause damage to the motor.

  • Switch Problems

If you have a float switch on your automatic pump, it can become obstructed and cause problems in switching on and off. This is one important reason to ensure that your sump remains as clear of debris as possible.

  • Blocked Discharge Lines

It’s possible that your discharge lines can become blocked by debris, such as rocks or sticks. In winter, your discharge line can freeze. This might be an issue that’s easily solved by manually removing debris, but occasionally it’s a problem that an expert will be able to fix for you.

  • Overworked Pump

Occasionally, your pump may not be working properly because it’s simply overworked. The solution might be to reevaluate the right kind of pump for your home  and to install the appropriate model.

If you notice that your drainage system is not operating properly, you will want to address the problem as soon as possible to prevent potential flooding in your home.

Choose Our Network of Top-Rated Chicago Plumbers for Installation and Maintenance of Your Sump Pump

Our professional plumbers also know how to spot wear and can advise when to replace your pump before it breaks without your knowledge. Calling us before you have a catastrophe on your hand can prevent water damage, financial losses, and irritation. Don’t let your simple sump pump problem grow into a disaster. Don’t risk more damage and money by putting off the repair.

sump pump repairs Chicago IL

We can perform the following:

  • Assess the condition of your Sump Pump
  • Test it and evaluate efficiency
  • Detect and remove debris
  • Replace and repair worn elements or your entire pump
  • Check discharge line opening for any blockage
  • Test the check valve
  • Clean the Impeller

Plumbers 911 is not simply one company, but rather a network of the top professionals in the business. All of our technicians are highly trained and carefully screened, so that you can have peace of mind that only the best are working in your home.

We guarantee that our prices are below your local median price, so you’ll never have to wonder that you’re getting both high quality and great value.  Call us for sump pump repair service in Chicago today!


To all our friends and customers regarding COVID-19

We will get through this together To say we are living in “unprecedented” challenging times would be an understatement. We hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy. We would like to list a few pieces of information and websites that we think will be helpful for you during this time.

  • To get the most current information on the COVID-19 virus, please check the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) website at:
  • icon showing hand under faucet with large water droplets falling on hand Please wash your hands frequently. Washing with soap and water for twenty seconds is the preferred method, however when water is not available, please use an alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • icon of person covering mouth while coughing and a border separating from displeased person close by Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from another person.
  • For those of you with children that are looking for something fun to do, there are virtual field trips you can take with your kids that are fun and educational. Here is a link:

Plumbers are considered essential workers during this time and we will continue to work as our number one priority is to “protect the health of the nation.” Stay well, stay safe and we will get through this together.

Your Friends at Plumbers 911

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