Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: OT: Why is my sump pump so loud?

  1. #1

    Question OT: Why is my sump pump so loud?

    I have two sump pumps in my basement, one on the front wall and one at the back corner. These came with the house and are both ~15 years old. The one in the front runs constantly whenever there is precipitation or melting snow. We know this because it is right under our living room and it's very loud when it turns on, and when it's done pumping it ends with a loud clank!

    I'd never heard the back one run before - I've always thought we had good drainage at the back of the house since it goes downhill. Today I dumped 10 gallons of water into the back sump just to make sure it worked. Man was I surprised to hear how QUIET it was! I was standing right over it and could barely hear it run. When it was done pumping there was a slight 'click' and that was it.

    Which makes me wonder... why is the front one so loud? I'm no plumber but my first conclusion is that it's old and starting to fail. Am I on track? Should I make plans to replace it, or is it normal for these to get louder as they age? If our front sump stops working we're in big trouble as our basement would flood pretty fast.

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  2. #2

    Sump Pump Noise

    There could be several things causing this abnormally noisy operation of your sump pump. If it works a lot, as you say, it could be just getting tired and worn out. The Motor could have a bad bushing where the Armature shaft exits the motor housing, and it could be the top, bottom, or both bushings. The Impeller, which is the component that actually pumps the water, could have a bad bushing as well. As far as the loud clank when it is done pumping, that could be the discharge pipe banging against something when the pump completes it's pumping cycle and turns off. Whatever the case, I have a situation like you have......a foundation drain that is very active when the ground is saturated. I had one fail once, and within hours I had water in the basement..........about 2" or so! I always keep a spare pump on hand now, just in case. It is also a good idea to have a 12 volt backup sump pump system in case of power failure. It sure beats hand bailing the sump, and it sure as heck beats a flooded basement. What I would do if I were you is to swap the 2 pumps around. It makes sense to rotate these pumps, as one works it's tail off, and the other just sits there. By installing the noisy one where the back one is now would probably work just fine. At least the back one doesn't run hardly at all, so if the front one fails in a time of wet weather, you can just swap them out and you are back in the game. A high water alarm is also a good idea, in case of pump failure in the middle of the night, at least you will be warned before the water gets out of hand. Good Luck, those without an active Sump Pit don't know how lucky they are!

  3. #3

    Great info, thanks!

    Wow Kevin, thanks for the great response! I have a bunch of home improvement books but none of them cover replacing a sump pump. Is it pretty easy to swap pumps? I would really like to do that. Opening the tank cover and looking down in the hole is my only experience with sump pumps. Got any good howto or diy sump pump websites you can share, or is it simple enough I should be able to take a good look at it and figure it out...

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Mossville, Illinois
    Posts
    315
    Patrick, swapping the sump pumps should be a breeze. Kevin made some excellent points. Also, it is a good idea to clean out the well every once in a while. I do this by flushing clear water through it until the water comes out clear. Then after all the water is out, I use a shopvac to suck up all the garbage in the bottom of the well. These pumps today are meant to pump water, not garbage. However, most sump pumps get a little junk in them from time to time. Clean this out every couple of months and your sump pumps should last you for years.

  5. #5

    Hmmm...

    You make a good point there, the pump that is being so noisy is the one our utility sink (and washer) drains into. I'm sure it's seen it's share of junk, I can think of more than a few nasty things off the top of my head

    Besides, the one in the back runs so little the tank is full of scale and rust. Good idea to clean it out.

    Thanks

    Patrick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Mossville, Illinois
    Posts
    315

    kinda long

    Definately...if your washer dumps into there, you probably have a bunch of lint inside the pump itself. I've taken mine completely out and flushed warm water through it, and you'd be amazed at the crap that can come out of these things! At my last job, I worked in a automotive specialty store, and we had a garage out back that we installed wheels & tires, as well as some other things. In the winter, cars would come in with snow & salt on them, and after they left, we would squee-gee the water into the sump pump. (I have a point, I promise!) I put some hardware cloth over a metal frame that sat on the first ledge of our well, that way it sort of filtered the water that went in, only very little pieces of salt & dirt got by the cloth. Then, every so often, I'd take the metal ring out, hose it iff, Then re-install it. This really cut back on the amount of times I'd have to flush it out. Hope this gives you an idea or two to keep yours clean! Good Luck!

  7. #7

    A few more things for Ya.

    Here are a few more things for you to consider Patrick. There are 2 types of Sump Pumps........Submersible and Pedestal Type pumps. I prefer the Pedestal type pumps myself. For one, they are less expensive, and the motor is up out of the water. The Float on the pedestal pumps is much less likely to get hung up on something and keep the switch from activating the pump. As far as replacing or swapping out your pumps, it is a breeze. Just cut the discharge pipe above the pump in a place that is easy to access and work on...........about waist level is a good place. Then, use a Fernco-Type No Hub Connector to re-connect the pipes together when you get the discharge pipe and fitting threaded into the new pump. The No Hub connector is a Black Rubber Sleeve that is used to connect pipe together, and it works great on PVC, Cast Iron and Copper pipe. The No Hub is secured to the existing discharge pipe using Hose Clamps, just like the radiator hoses on a Car. It also has a dampening effect on the pipe, which should help quiet the pump even more because there will be less vibration of the pump as the water flows thru it. If you are unfamiliar with the No Hub Connector setup, any hardware store, or the big boys, like Home Depot, Lowes, etc. have them. All you need is the pipe size your putting it on, and you are in business. The No Hub connectors are available with a Stainless Sleeve around them, and in plain rubber, without the sleeve. The Stainless Sleeve is a good idea for higher pressure situations, but for a Sump Pump application, the rubber one should do fine. Using the Fernco type No Hub connector, it should be a 15 minute job. Good Luck........let us know how it goes, or if you need anything else...I will gladly help you all I can.
    Last edited by Kevin Gerstenecker; 03-02-2003 at 9:01 PM.

  8. #8

    Hey, I know what that is! And a flushing question...

    I saw the No Hub connector on an episode of Ask This Old House a few weeks ago. I didn't know what it was at the time, but now that you describe it I know exactly what you're talking about and saw how it connects.

    As for flushing the pump out, I think that's a great idea. But... how? Do I have to disassemble it? Or take it outside and run a garden hose in one end?

    Learning more about the mysteries of sump pump magic by the hour. You guys are great! Thanks for the help!

    Regards,
    Patrick

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Mossville, Illinois
    Posts
    315
    Patrick, I took mine outside to the driveway and ran water through it, out of a 5 gallon pail and a flexible hose I cobbled together from spare parts! Not the pretiest of things, but hey, it works!! You shouldn't have to take the pump apart, if you can't feed it with a hose, stick the pump in a bucket of clean water & discharge it out into your yard. Just make sure to keep the bucket full of water, and shut the pump off every 15 minutes or so to avoid overheating. You should be able to rig something up. Good Luck...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Mossville, Illinois
    Posts
    315
    oh yeah...if yours is really gummed up, use a little bit of Dawn soap, it will help dissolve the grease & gunk. Word of caution, don't use much, you'll likely drown in soap suds!!!!DAMHIKT!!!!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    3,612
    Heck, that's nothing. Mine is below my kitchen floor, and if I step hard enough on the floor to make it vibrate, the sump will cycle. And it's pretty loud, too. Easy way to check that the float is not hindered, though!!

    Jason

  12. #12

    Off Topic Funny Sump Story

    This will not help you fix your pump. You already have enough advice on that . . But here's a funny story. We had a funny smell coming from our basement. In that past when that has happened, I just dump some Clorox dillueted with hot water down the sewer clean-out. This time, that didn't seem to do the trick. My investigation led me to the sump pump. I found a family of frogs 'living' (that term is used relatively loosly) in the sump tub. While some of the frogs were alive, many of the bothers and sisters seemed to be doing the back stoke.

    Once I fished then out (should I say 'frogged'?) and ran clean water through the pump for a few minutes, the small was gone.

    The real mystery is how did they get there. I can only imagine they entered through the window well drains. The drains seem to be covered well?? Do you suppose they could get past the one-way value and enter the drain pipe?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    950
    Be sure and replace the check valve in the discharge line too. They're cheap and tend to wear out, making the pump work more often. You can also buy a higher-end sump called a "grinder" pump for applications that have more solids in them. I would use that if your sink discharges there.

    They are simple to replace, some PVC tube (check the sizes, as they all don't use the same) and rubber sleeves with pipe clamps.

    I would also go for a cast-iron model. I bought one of the new models out of plastic that look like a coffee thermos. thing lasted a week before I smelled burned plastic. Luckily I found it before it flooded the basement. Also note these things don't last more than 5-yrs or so. Once they get that old, I would check frequently or replace.

  14. #14
    Hey Russ,
    One thing to add. You should not worry about the flooded basement, with 2 sumps if one stops the other should turn on before the water level gets to the basement floor.

    You could be as "Lucky" as me. Our sump is a special kind of pedastal pump the opening in the floor is all of about 2". The pump is made locally and cost about $300. Its 28 years old and still going, Hope it does not go out. Fortunetly with the addition and a deeper basement over there I hope the old pump will not get any water and it will all flow to the new pump.

    Dave

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •