Broken Sump Pump?

We are currently having extremely heavy rains along with melting snow; so there are flood warnings. Just for the heck of it I checked my sump and found there was water in it. I pulled the float up, but nothing happened. Hmmm.
The house, and pump, are 22 years old; I bought it 12 years ago. Right after I bought it I tested the pump. It turned on by running water into the sump with a garden hose, but it didn't pump. I found it was the kind that needs a small hole drilled in the pipe to let it start. I drilled the hole, and it pumped fine. Apparently it hadn't been operational for 10 years, but didn't matter.
So, tonight I was surprised to find water in the sump because I had never seen any there before. I was even more surprised to find the pump did not work. because it had 12 years ago.
Two questions... 1) As I recall (assuming I can recall from 12 years ago) I turned the pump on by running water in with a hose. Tonight I simply pulled up on the float, as I wasn't about to put water in the sump. Would that matter? I am thinking, without knowing much about pumps, that maybe water pressure turns it on, but the float turns it off: becasue when I pull up on the float, it doesn't seem to trip a switch that i can see. 2) Is it likely the pump broke by not being used in 12 (or 22) years? 3) If is is broken, is a fix possible; or is is a replace. Shame, it is brass 1/2hp. Not that I need a 1/2hp,but that is what the builder put in. Hopefully I don't need anythign; this weekend mgiht be the acid test. (I am on a hill with a walkout basement. Apparently the water is content to flow around the house on its way down the hill.)
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If it does nothing and no sound be sure outlet is hot, plug is good or pump switch is bad. If it makes noise but doesnt run it is frozen either the impeller or motor. You can free up pumps, a switch may be special order. New pumps are cheap and can give you a back up. If your in no flood danger work on it, pull it out to find where it is binding . You didn`t say you heard anything so it is likely electrical as you would hear it straining to move, humming. Usualy an easy fix but since it hasn`t run in a long time you can`t know till you try.
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The plug has been sitting in the same socket for years, it could even be a bad plug, a wire just came loose . You need to trace to where there is no power, It could be the motor but usualy you hear it humming trying to start If plug is good it is the switch you could bypass the float switch and run it by plugging it in. The higher the pump, the less ft in height it has to pump the more gpm it will pump, lower would just drain more water out of the soil, but if basement is always dry I dought it matters. If you never use it a 40 $ replacement will do but you will probably fix it
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If it's the type that has a "piggy-back" plug for the float, try pluging in the second plug to see if it's just the float that's bad.
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Toller -
Replace the pump...... 22 years puts the pump past it's prime.
You could attempt to repair it; I'm guessing the connections are corroded or the trigger switch is bad.
OTOH, the impeller could be rusted, or the windings open.
Bottom liine is you don't want to be without a sump pump when you need one; and trust me - when you need one it will be at about 2:00 AM and this will obviously mean a VERY expensive replacement - and thenm hopefully they get it replaced before your basement floods.
Even if you're pretty sure the pit will never fill - don't take a chance on this. IMO - it's critical you keep it in good working order.
It's an easy job, as I'm sure you know. I'd recc a Zoeller pump; the design of this pump hasn't changed in 40 years.
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The outlet is good, and it makes no noise at all. So it is the switch? Any advice on fixing it, or am I best just to replace it? I guess a $70 1/4hp would be fine, since the I can't remember the creeks ever being this high, and my water is still 10" from the top of the sump. Speaking of which, the sump pump is on a cinder block in the sump, but is still about 20" from the top. Should I have it lower, or is 20" plenty?
I could probably just forget about it, cause if it doesn't need it today, it ain't ever gonna need it; but I tend to be obsessive.
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Michelle,
a 22 year old pump is not worth the time to mess with. Even if youdo manage to get it running, it will likely fail under load.
As far as PJ goes, other than my efforts to get a new group formed, I've not spoken a word to him
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Matt did you ever work on a sump pump, I dought it since you say the Impellor could be Rusted. He said his is brass . Impellors are brass or now alot are plastic they can`t rust. Sumps are easy to work on and diagnose. Unless the motor is fried it is worth finding the cause of the failure.
And Matt Quit post your crusade for alt Hvac, you sure are screwing this place up bozo. In your own way you are as bad as pjm
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Ok, you have a point there. Old is sometimes better. I'm often amazed ate complete crap that passes fro quality merchandise these days.
It's just my opinion, in the case of a pump needed to protect yourself from a flood, new is always better.
Also, Zoeller is hardly HD crap.
I also disagree that old doesn't mean anything in motors or pumps; especially ones that are submerged. Bearings seize, windings rot. Connecting wires corrode, etc etc ect.
Also, if you are suggesting that high quality pumps were being spit out of the factories 22 years ago, I disagree there as well. 1985 was hardly the height of quality workmanship.
The OP stated it was in the house when he bought it. What does that mean? A builder grade pump.
I just think it would be easier, and less expensive to replace rather than repair.
On the off chance the pump is of such high quality it is worth salvaging, I would take it to a rebuild shop for a complete tear down and cleanup though.
Toller can decide from these choices for himself, and meantime, we will just have to agree to disagree.
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Matt I have 10 or so 40- 60 year old brass base pedistal pumps, They are built better then anything new today unless you consider commercial units, not HD 49.95 but 300-400$ units. Old doesnt mean anything in a motor or pump. Switches fail, so what, a cheap fix. If you lived with flooding and quality pumps not HD crap you would know. Plenty of houses in my area and mine have 80 yrs old system pumps that run like new and today would cost thousands to replace. Old equipment was commonly overbuilt even by todays commercial standards, Consumer crap didn`t exist then, it was all pro stuff everywhere.
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Matt where did I say 22 years ago, I made refrence to 40- 60 yrs and 80yrs.
Checking the switch is a 5 min job, always worth it.
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Matt did I say Zoeller is Crap, no. Learn to read
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