Clogged Sump Pump Systems: How Does It Happen?

A diagram of a water-powered sump pump system.

Basement drain systems that are installed in the "mud zone" are much more susceptible to clogs.

Ask each company where they plan to install your drain system before signing a contract.

Once you've installed a sump pump system in your home, you're going to count on it to work the way it was meant to.

If the system fails even once, then your basement floods, and everything in there that you counted on to stay dry is now damaged or ruined. And what happens if you've already finished the space?

Clogged Sump Pump Failure Is Caused By:

  • Clogged Sump Pumps And Drain Systems
  • Frozen Discharge Lines
  • Float Switch Failure
  • Iron Ochre Clogs The System

Basement Systems has designed award-winning systems that address all these causes of clogging, as well as a laundry list of other potential sump pump problems. We want you to be able to count on your basement as dry, usable space -- all the time!

free quote to install a sump pump systemWe are the experts when it comes to basement waterproofing! Our sump pump systems are designed to resist all common causes of failure -- including clogging in the system.

Your locally owned and operated Basement Systems dealer is standing by to help you! Contact us today for a free sump pump installation quote!

Four Ways That Sump Pump Systems Clog

We've seen thousands upon thousands of clogged waterproofing systems across our network -- and solved each one. Basement waterproofing systems that have clogged are easy to solve, and they're even easier to avoid.

Below, we've listed the four most common causes of clogs in sump pump systems:

A clogged sump pump system filled with mud.

Clogs In Pumps & Perimeter Drains

A complete sump pump system is typically installed with a drainage system along the perimeter, which is designed to collect water from the walls and floor before it floods into your basement.

These drains are sometimes wide-open gaps that run even with the floor. In this case, the gap may collect debris from the basement floor, which can then clog your drain or sump pump system.

Other drains are installed directly in the mud beneath your basement floor, in an area known as the "mud zone". In these cases, this mud will begin to seep into the drain system over time, clogging your system. Once clogged, these systems cannot be accessed for service without jackhammering the floor open again.

How We Solve The Problem

At Basement Systems, we install our drainage systems on top of the foundation footer and well away from the "mud zone". A unique, open design to our drainage system resists clogging for a lifetime of functionality -- warrantied!

Our drainage system includes a gap so that it can collect water from the basement walls, but it also includes a 3/8" wall flange that extends upwards to prevent debris from entering the system. Several "ports" are installed to provide easy access for service workers, so you never need to jackhammer the floor again.


A sump pump installed in a small five gallon bucket.

Clogging Sump Pump Float Switches

How does a sump pump know when to turn on and off? Most sump pump systems operate based on a floating device known as a "float switch".

When the water rises in the sump pit, this switch floats upwards. When it floats high enough, it turns the sump pump on. The water level lowers, which causes the float switch to turn the system off again.

Dirt and obstacles in your sump pit can cause the float switch to become stuck in either the "on" or "off" position, which will wreak havoc on your pump's operation. Pumps that run nonstop burn out and fail, while pumps that can't turn on will never operate in the first place.

How We Solve The Problem

At Basement Systems, we provide sump pump float switches that rest on a fixed metal rod, which protects the float switch and guides it up and down on a fixed route. We also place our sump pumps in durable, perforated plastic liners with an airtight lid. This protects the system from debris from the basement floor and keeps your system free of obstructions.


A pedestal sump pump system installed in a basement.

Ice Or Debris In The Discharge Line

Sometimes, a sump pump system is clog-free and running properly, the drain system is pristine, and the system still doesn't seem to be pumping water out of your basement.

One common cause of this is a frozen of clogged discharge line outside of your home. Simply put, if your sump pump can't send the water away from your home, it can't help you.

How We Solve The Problem

Our installers include a grated opening, known as an IceGuard® Outlet, outside your home at the beginning of each discharge line. This opening gives floodwaters a second way out of your basement, preventing a flood.


A sump pump system clogged with iron ochre

Iron Ochre Clogs Your System

Iron ochre is a rust-colored, gelatinous ooze that's caused by iron bacteria. This microscopic organism survives by oxidizing ferrous iron, and sometimes manganese and is found all over the world.

While there are no known health affects from iron ochre, it's known to smell. cause stains on anything it touches, and it can foul the taste of water. This thick, gelatinous ooze will also clog drainage systems and cause a basement flood.

How We Solve The Problem

We use the specialized WaterGuard® IOS System in homes that have iron bacteria problems. This system includes a removable lid, so any clogs can be easily cleaned out.

Install Our Award-Winning Sump Pump Systems In Your Home!

We'd like to meet with you to show how we can install a drainage system in your home that includes a lifetime transferable written warranty. Our sump pump and drainage systems have successfully waterproofed hundreds of thousands of basements and crawl spaces across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom for more than 20 years, and we're confident they can help you too.

Your local Basement Systems Dealer would like to offer you a free, no-obligation sump pump system quotes. Our free quotes include an on-site professional consultation, a customized written cost quote, and a complimentary copy of our full-color waterproofing book. To get started, schedule your appointment by calling or e-mailing us today!

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