You may have a sump pump in your building that sometimes requires maintenance or management. If you’re not quite sure what a sump pump is exactly, or what you need to do with it, this quick post can help! Your pumps may need to be serviced regularly (this is something we help with). The best cure is prevention. This is why we recommend having a regular pump maintenance schedule for most situations – especially high-risk situations such as underground carparks.
What is a Sump Pump?
Firstly, a ‘sump’ is a low space that tends to collect unwanted liquids. Sometimes this is in a basement or lower-level area where fluids gather. In other cases it might be where the drains are too far away or too deep to connect by gravity to the main sewer. So naturally, a sump pump is a pump that pumps these undesirable liquids from out of these gathering points. These pumps should activate as soon as the water gathers to a certain level, activating the pump and removing the water. If for any reason this activation fails, the pump will not start, and naturally, the water will continue to rise. This is a serious problem for any situation where property is at risk. Underground carparks are, of course, an example of a high-risk location where flooding can cause severe property damage in a relatively short period.
How do they fail?
Pumps can fail in a few different ways. The first is a power failure. The power supply is either disconnected or inoperable. If this happens and nobody notices, the pump won’t activate. Secondly is a mechanical failure within the system itself. Sometimes the switch that activates the pump can fail. These often work just like a ballcock in a toilet cistern. The water level raises a buoyant ball or activates sensors enclosed in the sump or tank. When the water reaches a set level (e.g. the ball hits a certain level within the sump); it activates the pump. Grit, debris, rust or other issues can cause this device to fail.
Pumps like this cannot also fail if the mechanical parts get clogged up with debris such as wipes, metal or wooden objects. Pumps can burn out their motors due to age or if they are constantly running because of a sensor issue.
This is why it’s essential to have a regular maintenance check to ensure this doesn’t happen at an unexpected time (like in the early morning hours when nobody notices the water level rise).
What’s the solution?
We don’t recommend that you ever try and tackle DIY maintenance on a pump. The moving parts can engage unexpectedly if you aren’t familiar with them and cause injury. If there is an electrical fault there is also a risk of electrocution. We recommend you have a provider service these for you with a regular maintenance schedule in these situations. We can help with this if you’d like to give us a call on 1800 437 246