A sump pump is an invaluable tool for keeping the basement of your home dry. When cared for properly, these machines can last for up to 10 years. However, a sump pump that's too big or too small for your needs can have a negative impact on the lifespan of your pump. Here's what you need to know about this issue.
The Goldilocks Problem
Like many things in life, finding a sump pump that fits the needs of your home can be challenging. A machine that's too small will run continuously in an effort to bail out all the water flowing into the sump pit. This non-stop operation can cause the parts to wear out faster and force you to replace the pump sooner than expected. You can tell if your pump is too small if it never turns off, the pump runs for more than a few minutes at a time, or you're experiencing flooding in your basement even when the machine is operating.
Conversely, a sump pump that's too big will bail the water out quickly. At first this may seem like a good thing because it reduces the risk of flooding. However, oversized pumps will suffer from short-cycling. This is when the pump turns on and off more than it should, and occurs because the pump eliminates water out of the sump pit faster than it can be filled. Short-cycling can also cause parts to wear out faster. If the pump turns on and off a few times within the space of a minute or so (e.g. every 30 second), then your pump may be too big.
Fixing Too Big or Too Small Issues
The best thing to do when a sump pump is too small is to replace it with something bigger. If this is not an option, then purchasing and installing a backup pump to help during heavy rain or flooding can alleviate some of the burden from your main machine. The other choice is to increase the size of the sump pit to minimize the risk of water overflowing into the basement.
Replacing the float switch on the pump sump to a tethered float switch can fix issues related to the machine being too big. The tethered style allows for longer pump cycles, which can reduce the risk of short-cycling and extend the life of the machine.
There are other things that could be done to address a too small or too big sump pump problem. Contact a plumber, like Frank Niesen Company, for more information and assistance.