Can Blocked Drains and Pipes Damage Your Sump Pump?

Flooded basement

May 31, 2022

As anyone who owns a property knows, maintaining a healthy home is a full time job. Making sure that your house is tidy, that the amenities are working well, and that the building isn’t in immediate danger of a flood or other property care peril can take up a lot of time – and this is made even more difficult if you own a basement that relies on a sump pump.

Making sure that your basement’s sump pump is safely draining is important – its not just keeping your property safe from water ingress and leaks, but it’s a sign of a healthy, working sump pump, and that your basement waterproofing system is protected.

So, as a property owner, how can you be sure that your properties pipes and drains are all in working order, and that your properties plumbing isn’t going to put your sump pump and basement in jeopardy.

Why Your Pipes and Drains Need to Remain Clear

basement-that-has-been-flooded

As a company that deals with the consequences of unwanted water and the prevention of leaks daily, we know all to well the importance of having fully functioning plumbing in your home.

Lets start with how a blocked drain might affect your basement, and the running of your sump pump on a daily basis if it isn’t cleared.

So, imagine if the drain connected to your properties guttering becomes blocked. Any long or short period of rain (which, here in the UK is pretty common) is going to pool around the drain instead of disappearing safely down the drainpipe.

How can this effect your basement though? If that same water that isn’t draining seeps into the ground directly next to your property instead of draining then there is every chance that same liquid could enter your properties – or basement – walls.

If your basement is unprotected by a waterproofing system then the main problem you are going to face here is damp, black mould, and potential property damage. But, as you have a sump pump, lets assume that the property in this hypothetical situation has a fully functioning Type C Waterproofing Cavity Drainage Membrane installed.

If the water seeping into the walls isn’t alleviated, it will obviously spread or turn into a bonafide leak. In either instance your Type C Waterproofing system will collect the leaking water, and channel it towards your sump pump.

This is where problems can begin. A constant leak means your sump pump will have to process a lot more water much more frequently. This means that your sump pump could be working near constantly, which can have a chaotic effect on its inner mechanisms and motors.

If left running, any moving part of your sump pump can break, meaning that whilst you think your sump pump is protecting your basement and channelling floodwater away from your property, it might actually be running a broken motor and doing nothing, stuck in an off position, or not be able to turn itself off leading to a power failure.

Obviously for this reason its important that your property keeps its drains clear. Similar problems with burst or leaking pipes on your properties internal plumbing means that even in the warmer and drier months improperly maintained drains can have a harsh effect on your properties sump pump.

How to Spot Blocked Drains

sewage-pumping-station-blocked

Blocked drains are usually fairly easy to spot, no matter what kind of drain it is. Interior or exterior, the first thing you will notice when it comes to a blocked drain is that your drain might not be draining as quickly, or at all, as it usually would.

This is a pretty clear indicator of a blocked drain – but sometimes you might be so used to it draining slowly that you might not realise that there is cause for concern. In these instances you might notice that your drains make a sound as they drain, a kind of gurgling.

This gurgling is actually a sign that there is a clog within the drain, and the liquid travelling down the pipe is having to navigate its way past that block. What if you can’t hear a gurgling, and you haven’t noticed that your drains are emptying any slower though?

Another indicator of blocked drains is the smell that can emanate from them. The smell, depending on what drain it is and the wastewater travelling into it, can vary, but the common theme is a nasty smell that you wouldn’t usually notice coming from your drains.

Any of these signs mean that you are potentially facing a blocked drain, and that you need to learn why that drain is blocked – and clear it – to keep your property safe from water ingress.

How to Spot Blocked Pipes

A blocked pipe might initially be harder to spot than a blocked drain. Whilst a blocked pipe might lead to a blocked drain, if its far enough into your plumbing you might not realise that the pipe is blocked at all as you never see it.

It’s much easier to notice when the direct consequence of a blocked pipe occurs – a burst pipe. A burst pipe usually leads to a few different features in your property that are easily noticeable.

The first noticeable aspect of a burst pipe is a sudden onset of damp, or liquid, within a wall where it wasn’t previously. Basically, the water that should be travelling through the pipe begins to leak through either the connecting points within the plumbing, or through newly created cracks within the pipes themselves.

If you start to see damp patches on your wall, and they aren’t the product of either damp or condensation, you could well have a burst pipe on your hands. In this instance its vital to call a plumber who can clear your pipes quickly, rather than have your property suffer from the various knock on effects of blocked pipes.

What if Your Property Has or Had Blocked Drains?

If your property has suffered from blocked pipes then you need to make sure that any excess moisture that might have entered your property, either via damp or through straight up flooding hasn’t had an effect on the viability and day to day effectiveness of your sump pump.

Make sure that you get in touch with our team, who can help you organise a maintenance schedule that will keep your sump pump reliable, in working order, and free from the detrimental consequences of blocked drains.

Either book a visit online here or arrange a maintenance call with our team over the phone by calling 0800 019 9949 today.

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