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“If the pit continues to fill up (with water) and the pump doesn’t come on, then you have a pump issue,” Collier says.

Homeowners should also check that their sump pits are clear and that the water discharged is flowing away from the home and not reentering the ground at the same point, only to be pumped back out again.

If it appears you do have a problem with the pump, first check to make sure it’s plugged in and that it hasn’t tripped a circuit. Typically, it’s more cost effective to replace a pump than to fix one.

Another way to make your pump last longer is to install a check valve on the discharge pipe that exits the pump. A check valve, which costs only a few dollars, will prevent water that the pump has already pushed out from reentering the sump pit.

“Every time it’s pumping the same water, it’s doing more work that it doesn’t have to do,” Mitchell says. “A check valve will stop that from happening. The water stays in the pipe and never comes back into the pit.”

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care.

© 2013, http://www.angieslist.com/
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