Month: December 2016

Tips for repairing your Sump Pump https://t.co/VowNpPbfpN

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December 31, 2016 at 07:41PM
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Tips for repairing your Sump Pump

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While the companies that produce the best sump pumps generally do not expect to make large profits from repairing their products, neither do they wish to let go of the profits that may come their way in this manner. Hence, it is not surprising to see that many sump pump companies avoid providing tips for repairing a sump pump. The net result is that most users tend to believe that even if there is a slight problem, they have to take the product to the service centre or hire costly company certified professionals. While it is true that some problems – such as that relating to the motor – require expert skills, many problems associated with the impeller, discharge and/or float can be fixed at home.

Tips for repairing your Sump Pump

Preparing for Repairs

Regardless of which section of tips for repairing a sump pump you wish to consult, the following must be done beforehand –

  • Switch off the main power supply/backup battery or water supply.
  • Disconnect all pipes connected to the discharge.
  • Take the sump pump out of the sump and let it dry for about half an hour.

Problems Related To Float

There are primarily two types of problems related to the float – jamming of the float and damage to the float. While jamming of the float has been covered under common sump pumps problems and solutions, repairing the sump pump switch in case of damage is a complex procedure. In case repair is impossible, replacement is the only option and we have covered that here as well.

Repairing the switch

While we do count high quality magnetic switches as a plus in our sump pump reviews, in terms of repairs the float switch is the only type that can be fixed at home. To repair a float switch, more specifically the shaft that has:

  • Come loose
  • Broken
  • Developed cracks or become bent at odd angles
  • Jammed in a way that cannot be fixed

One has to take the existing shaft or (if damage is severe) a new shaft and proceed in the following manner:

  • Note that the switch shaft is connected via a small ring type structure to the float and via another ring structure to the switch. Gently raise the shaft from the ring at either end to take it off.
  • If the shaft is broken, it can be repaired with proper water-resistant adhesive. If it has been bent however, it is not advisable to re-bend it into shape as this would probably destroy the balance inherent in it. In this, as well as all other cases of damaged switch shafts, it is ideal to obtain a new shaft.
  • Place one end of the shaft on the ring attached to the float and gently push till the two lock in place. Excess pressure may bend the ring or the shaft.
  • Once in place, hold the float in one hand and connect the other end of the shaft to the switch in similar fashion. Note that different sump pumps may have different switch heads so tips for repairing a sump pump can vary on this point.
  • Once the switch head and shaft end lock into place, release the float and see if the float is moving properly and the freely in a vertical axis.

Replacing the Switch

Replacement switches can be purchased from certain stores or online. These should contain a black gasket, a black (or tan color) box and some screws. Wiring may have to be purchased separately.

  • Disconnect the shaft of the sump pump float by following the process outlined above in a gentle manner.
  • Note the presence of four large screws at the four corners of the top cover of the sump pump. Unscrew the cover by removing these with a standard Phillips screwdriver.
  • Raise the sump pump cover slowly. The top of the motor chamber is exposed. There will be three wires attached to three leads.
  • Without disconnecting the wires, invert the top cover. You will see that these wires connect to three leads within the cover.
  • At the centre is a metal plate that can be unscrewed using the screwdriver.
  • Once the plate is removed, gently pull out the large black box that sits inside the cover. In some models there may be additional screws holding the cover in place. Remove them and keep them in a safe place.
  • Gently pull the wires out of the leads on the top of the motor cover. If you’re sure the wires are not at fault, you may wish to disconnect them from the black box as well.
  • Once removed, keep the black box apart. Take the black/tan box that came with the replacement kit and connect the wires to it. The order of the wires is not important if the product hails from Zoeller, but in case of Little Giant or other companies, the order of wires is important and should be remember prior to taking them off (or referenced from the online user resources).
  • Place the box in the correct alignment in the top cover and replace the metal plate.
  • Replace the cover and reattach the screws.
  • Replace the switch shaft and float assembly. Follow post-repair procedures.

Problems Related to Impeller and Discharge

Impellers and discharges cannot be replaced, so if there is a serious issue the entire unit has to be sent in for professional repairs. However, insofar as they get jammed and damaged due to clogging up of dirt and debris, tips for repairing sump pumps can be provided. Keeping the sump and sump pump exterior clean can be considered part of regular sump pump maintenance procedures, and are not covered in this section.

  • Take the sump pump and remove the float/switch assembly. Invert the sump pump such that it is sitting on its top cover. Note that there are a number of screws keeping the bottom cover (which includes the discharge) in place.
  • Remove the screws to take apart the bottom cover. The sump pump impeller is now exposed. Note that there are a number of thin vents running along the side of the impeller. There may be debris sticking out from them.
  • Take a thin but not too sharp piece of plastic or metal (do not use wood, it will splinter and cause additional issues) and bend the end in a U-shape or hangar-shape (triangular shape). Use this to scrape out the debris from inside the impeller till the impeller appears clean.
  • Though not an integral part of tips for repairing a sump pump, if you have canned air, blow some into the impeller vents. This will also help free up the blades of the impeller.
  • Replace the sump pump bottom cover and overturn the sump pump into proper position.
  • Reattach the screws and replace in the sump.

Post-Repair Procedures

  • Once all work is complete, test using a bucket of water and if found working, place the sump pump in the sump once more.
  • Reattach all wires and pipes. Check the sump pump in the sump by pouring a bucket of water into the sump and allowing the sump pump to run.
  • Replace the sump pump cover.

Conclusion

While sump pumps are capable of working for long periods without any repairs, any failure can lead to a flooded basement in a short period of time. Hence, it is vital that one have a clear idea of the tips for repairing a sump pump even if the sump pump in question is rarely in use. However, note that we have omitted any mention of repairing the power cord or the motor – these are electrical parts and have complex circuitry, hence their repair is beyond those who do not have good knowledge of electricals. These aside though, repairs can be carried out – and indeed must be carried out to avoid losing either the basement or a lot of money – by the user without fearing for electrical or mechanical mishaps.

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Top necessary basement waterproofing products

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It is often believed that by purchasing houses with reinforced concrete, one can enjoy relative immunity from the common problem of seepage, leakage and basement flooding. Soon however, they find that they have to obtain the services of the best sump pumps to remove water from below and inside the basement. However, no matter how good the sump pump is, it cannot prevent the relentless attack of the water and its dissolved chemicals on the exterior surface of the product, leading to the eventual weakening of the structural foundations of the house. Hence, to allow the sump pump to be more effective and to ensure that the foundations of the house are kept in good shape, one needs to have a good knowledge of the top necessary basement waterproofing products that can be applied to one’s particular situation.

basement waterproofing products

Cementitious Waterproofing Coatings

Waterproofing coatings come in several forms, but given that concrete bonds best with cement (and we’re assuming that one has a brick and concrete basement), cementitious waterproofing coatings are considered most durable. Using a base of Portland cement and a range of soluble polymers and asphalt variants, these coatings are applied directly onto the negative or interior side and/or the positive or exterior side of the basement. Generally, if one follows our tips and blog for sump pumps, one can save money by applying the coat to only the exterior side as the pump will handle possible internal water problems well.

Typically, one would need a cement/concrete repair primer like Arcyl 60 to prepare the surface for application. Once this is done, a single coat is applied and allowed to dry before the second coat of cementitious coating is added. Once dry, these coatings tend to be able to ensure that water does not enter the concrete and even if it does, the amount of water is minimal. Further, many modern coatings tend to come with NSF 61 potable water certification, thus allowing the material to be applied on or near water pipes.

Sealants and Caulkings

One of the most economical choices among top necessary basement waterproofing products, the sealants and caulkings are polyurethane, polyether or adhesive products that are typically applied only to the joints and cracks in the concrete. Cracks and joints, and for that matter any voids, tend to accept water much faster, and in times of heavy rain can become conduits for rapid movement of water into the basement.

The sealants and caulkings generally come in the form of a tube. The crack/joint along which the material is applied is first dried and then a primer is applied. The sealant/caulking is then applied in a straight line for short distances before letting the sealant dry out. Water and any other liquids should be kept away from the sealant for at least 24-48 hours to allow the material to dry.

Note that the type of sealant to be chosen would depend upon:

  • Whether it would be applied to the interior or exterior surface of the basement.
  • Would it seal expansion joints in concrete or ordinary cracks ?
  • Are any special conditions applicable eg.proximity to a pool or lake, or extensive use of the sealed surface ?

While sealing/caulking can easily be done without professional help, the above considerations should be analysed by a professional who will also recognize the potential fault lines and expansion joints.

Flashing Tape

Flashing tape is used for waterproofing surfaces that have a lot of metal pipes, gutters, wooden frames, sills, etc. Applied at the junction of the metal/wood and the concrete or between metal/wood and metal/wood junctions, this tape typically comes with an aluminium facer and a butyl-compound adhesive that bonds well with the metal and wood. Unlike other materials mentioned here, this tape can be applied to moderately wet surfaces as well, though it is always ideal to have a dry area.

EIFS

EIFS stands for Exterior Insulated Finnish System and involves use of a cement-like substance to coat the outer, or more rarely, the inner surface of the basement. Once applied, it creates a stucco-like layer that is impervious to the impact of water and even better, withstands hydrostatic pressure when the water pools around the basement.
In addition to these benefits, EIFS also allows the user to add certain materials to the mix before application so as to obtain EIFS of a certain tint. While some of the common tints can be readily purchased from the market, others can be prepared at home.

Emergency Negative-Side Waterproofing Methods

Despite all precautions, water can sometimes push through at high pressure if walls are weak or porous and quickly create conditions far worse than what we use for sump pump reviews. These can overwhelm sump pumps and cause major flooding in a short time. There are a few solutions to combat such scenarios:

  • Waterproofing Resins – One of the top necessary basement waterproofing products for critical situations when water is gushing out of a small hole or abscess in the wall, these resins are applied after a polyurethane foam is used to plug the influx of water. The foam soaks in the resin and together, the resin and foam bonds with the concrete and masonry to create a permanent blockage at that point. Note that applying only the foam is not enough as the water would eventually push the foam out.
  • Polyurethane Injection – Different from foam, this injection is similar to the sealings/caulkings mentioned above but tends to act faster. The injection is applied along cracks that develop under high water pressure (or due to other reasons).
  • Concave Fillets – Applied at the junction of the floor and the wall, these fillets spread the tension between the floor and wall across a large area instead of focusing it on the 90 degrees junction alone. At the same time, it plugs any existing cracks or gaps. Together, it is ensured that the junction is protected in the long run as well.

Conclusion

While there are plenty of choices as far as the top necessary waterproofing products are concerned, we’d like to add a caveat that we also mentioned when concluding our buying guides for sump pumps – choose according to your needs. Unlike sump pumps, not all of one’s waterproofing needs can be figured out by the user himself/herself since some require expert knowledge and equipment. However, most types of waterproofing can be carried out by amateurs and hence, once the survey is complete, one can get down to the purchase and application of the waterproofing materials without depending on anyone else.

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Sump Pump Noise Problems and Solutions

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When you refer to our ultimate sump pump comparison chart, you will notice that the products we’ve listed include many of the quietest pumps available in the market. The reason for this is that sump pumps, being essentially motor pumps running on electricity/water, are often, quite justifiably in case of older pumps, considered a menace to the tranquillity of the house. While choosing the pumps we’ve mentioned therein will surely reduce the noise issues, there are also a number of sump pump noise problems and solutions which require only a little time and patience on your part.

Sump Pump Noise Problems and Solutions

Problem 1: Loud “thud” noise when pump shuts off

The “thud” sound produced at the end of a sump pump running cycle comes not from the pump, but from the check valve associated with the PVC pipes. These valves are in place to ensure that once the pressure of water flowing from the sump falls, there is no back flow of water into the sump. As the water pressure falls and water tries to return to the sump under the influence of gravity, the valve shuts close, producing the “thud” sound.

Solution 1: Install a silent check valve

A silent check valve ensures that the thudding sound is not produced. While a costly option as far as sump pump noise problems and solutions are concerned, this is the only permanent answer. Once you’ve purchased a silent check valve, you can:

  • Shut off the check valve and any other valves that may exist above it.
  • Remove the existing check valve. Drain any water that may have collected in the vicinity of the valve.
  • Cut the pipe or add attachments to make the PVC pipe fit the new silent check valve dimensions.
  • Attach the check valve and reconnect the other valves. Turn them all on and test using a bucket of water drained into the sump.

Note: A “quiet check valve” is not a silent check valve. Silent check valves are a separate, somewhat costly category of valves.

Solution 2: Attach valve at 45 degrees

This solution is somewhat cheaper but trickier to implement. To do it:

  • Remove the check valve using the above steps.
  • Cut the pipes above and below the check valve such that the edges nearest to the valve are diagonal in shape. Hold the valve loosely in between the two diagonal edges to gain a better idea of whether further cutting is needed.
  • Tilt the valve at 45 degrees and attach the valve securely. If there are any discrepancies, you should use proper connectors.

Note: The diagonal cuts are permanent and cannot be changed unless the entire pipe setup is modified.

Problem 2: Motor makes a lot of noise when running

A regular candidate among sump pump problems and solutions, especially among older pumps, this problem can be solved most effectively by choosing one of the many quiet sump pumps we mentioned in our sump pump buying guide. If buying a new pump is not possible though, a number of stop-gap solutions are available:

Solution 1: Make sump cover airtight

  • Remove your existing sump cover and note the thickness of the plastic. If it is very thick but still noise comes out, there may be perforations in the cover, or it may have become weak over time. If it is thin, it cannot be expected to prevent noise pollution anyhow.
  • If the cover is thick and has holes/perforations, cover these with small pieces of foam or cork. Foam is advisable because it is more resistant to water damage.
  • If the cover has become intrinsically weak or is too thin, you can reinforce it with a layer of insulating foam, applied on the surface which will face the sump pump.
  • Alternatively, you can buy an insulation-inclusive sump pump cover as well.

Solution 2: Rubber grommets

  • If the cover is loose or rattles during heavy pumping, measure out its circumference.
  • Choose rubber grommets of appropriate size and shape and apply them to the sides of the sump cover.
  • Once fitted in this manner, apply the sump cover to the sump and seal it if necessary.

Problem 3: Clanging Sounds when water flows out

Clanging is another common category of sump pump noise problems and solutions, and occur when the pipes are not properly secured against their holders, leading to the pipes banging against the holders and creating noise that reverberates across the walls. To solve this:

Solution 1 – Rubber grommets

  • Measure out the gaps between the pipe and the holders.
  • Take rubber grommets of appropriate dimensions and fit them into the spaces, such that pipe fits snugly.

Note: These steps can also be carried out at the time of learning how to install a sump pump, though in most cases, some follow up grommet installation needs to be carried out as well.

Solution 2 – Align all pipes at 45 or 90 degrees

  • Using a levelling tool figure out the plane of the basement floor.
  • Now measure out the angles of the various pipes stemming from the sump pump. They should be at 45 or 90 degrees (or parallel) to the plane.
  • Tighten holders and straighten the pipe to ensure that sections which do not conform to these angles are fixed.

Conclusion

While discussing the type of sump pumps – which is best choice, we argued that some types of sump pumps eg. submersible sump pumps, make less noise compared to pedestal sump pumps. While it is extremely convenient and beneficial to purchase a new sump pump, we also recognize that it is not always possible to do so, especially if the product was purchased a few months ago with sub-standard fittings and these have started to weaken and rust. In such circumstances, the above paragraphs should help you find your way through sump pump noise problems and solutions without having to call in professional assistance.

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