Many homes in the northern part of the country have basements. Basements are often added when a home is built so the foundation of the house can be set directly on solid ground. Since the frost line in the northern United States typically sits four or five feet deep, then the foundation must sit this far down in the earth as well. Many basements are damp and musty, but they certainly do not have to be. Adding a sump pump to the basement space can help to move standing water out of the area so you can keep it dry. Sometimes, the pumps will not work properly, and they will make some noises. Keep reading to learn about a few of these noises, what they mean, and how you can address pump issues before calling a plumber in to assess the problem.
Loud Thudding Sounds
When your sump pump turns on, you are likely to hear the noise of the pump as well as water being moved out of the home. When the pump turns off, you may hear a thud as the check valve closes. However, if this thud is loud enough to startle you, then this may be a sign that the check valve needs to be replaced. The check valve that is attached to your sump pump is an important part of the system that prevents water from falling back into the sump pit. The valve sits on the output or discharge pipe. You may see one of these valves close to the sump pump and one higher up along the discharge pipe. As the water moves up through the pipe, the valves open and allow water through. When the pump stops, some water will get stuck in the pipe, succumb to gravity, and start flowing backwards. The check valves are closed by the back-flowing water.
Check valves attached to sump pumps are typically swing valves. The valve swings back and forth with the help of a hinge. This hinge will start to wear down over time, and this can cause the valve to close quickly as water back-flows. This will create the loud thud or bang. If the check valve bangs closed, then the hinge is likely to come apart completely within the coming weeks.
You will need to replace the valve. Identify whether the sump pump has one or two valves. Pipe clamps connect the valves to the discharge pipe, so remove the clamps to release the valves. Take the valves to your local hardware store, find replacements, and install the new valves with the assistance of the pipe clamps. Some valves are called silent valves that will make no audible sound when they close, so invest in these types if you do not want to hear a thud at all when the pump turns off.
If you hear grinding noises coming from your sump pump when it turns on, then there is a good chance that the sound is coming from the impeller. Sump pumps have wide vent openings on the side that allow water to flow into the pump. As water fills up the sump pit, the pump is activated. This causes a small fan-shaped wheel to turn inside. The fins of the impeller push the water around with great force. The force moves the water up and out of the discharge pipe. Dirt and pieces of debris will sometimes make their way into the sump pump vents. If the debris gets stuck around the impeller, then the part will be forced against the debris as it turns, and this can make a loud grinding noise.
You can often dissolve pieces of debris that get inside the sump pump and sit near the impeller. Vinegar is a good material to use to dissolve the dirt. Unplug the sump pump and pour about one gallon of white vinegar into the sump pump pit. Allow the vinegar to sit for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, plug the pump back in. If there is not enough fluid in the pit for the pump to turn on, then pour water into the pit. Wait until the device turns on to see if the noise has stopped.