Sump Pump Repair – Common Problems With Sump Pumps

If your sump pump runs erratically during storms, you may need to have it checked by a professional. Make sure it is plugged in and if a GFCI is present, that it’s not tripped.

Sump Pumps

Open the basin lid and remove the pump for evaluation. Check that the float switch is not stuck and the inlet screen is not obstructed. Visit for more information.

If your sump pump is leaking, you’ll want to get that fixed quickly to prevent basement flooding. Leaking can occur for a variety of reasons. It may be because the float switch is stuck, there’s an issue with the hose, or something else. To see what the problem is, it’s helpful to test your sump pump by pouring water into the pit and watching to see how it reacts. If the float rises, it triggers the pump to turn on and remove the water, then shuts off when all the water is gone. If you see that this isn’t happening, the switch is probably faulty and needs to be replaced.

A clogged discharge line is another common problem that can cause your sump pump to stop working properly. The line moves the water from the pit to your storm drain or yard area and away from your house, but if it becomes clogged with debris such as dirt, pebbles, rodent droppings, or tennis balls, then the pump will become overwhelmed by this sediment and start to overwork. The solution to this is to clean out the discharge line, but if you’re not comfortable handling this yourself, it’s best to enlist a waterproofing contractor in your area.

It’s also important to make sure your sump pump has a functioning check valve in its discharge line. This valve is essential to prevent one-third to two-thirds of the water that’s pumped out from the pit from flowing back into the pit before it makes its way out your home. Fortunately, these check valves are fairly easy to replace, and it doesn’t cost much to do so. However, if your pump is old and already starting to develop problems, you should probably just have it replaced altogether with a new one.

Failure to Turn On

When a sump pump isn’t turning on, it can leave you with a flooded basement. This is especially a problem when it happens during a storm or other high water event. There are a few reasons why a sump pump won’t turn on. The most common is that it has a power issue. It is important to check that it has power by checking the breaker and making sure that it hasn’t been flipped.

Another possibility is that it has a clog. If the sump pump is plugged in and has power but still doesn’t turn on, then it could have a clog in the impeller or other parts of the motor. If this is the case, then you may need to disassemble and clean your sump pump.

Other common issues that can cause a sump pump to fail to turn on include a float switch or float arm issue. This is a mechanical problem that occurs when debris jams the float sensor or the pump shifts and moves inside of the basin. This can be avoided by using vertical float switches and checking the pump periodically for debris.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that the discharge line is pointed DOWNSTREAM and not UPSTREAM. This will prevent backflow that can lead to flooding in your home. If you are having trouble with your sump pump, it’s best to leave the repairs to a professional. They will have the tools and expertise needed to fix your pump as quickly as possible. This will prevent your home from being flooded and save you from expensive repairs in the future. They can even install a backup battery system to keep your sump pump running in the event of a power outage during a storm.

Failure to Cycle Off

If your sump pump fails to activate at all or keeps running nonstop, there is most likely a mechanical problem. This could be a clog in the pump or discharge line, a motor issue, or a stuck float switch. Often, simply clearing the pump of debris and cleaning the discharge line can solve the problem.

Float switches hook on to something in the pit or to debris and become forced into an “on” position, forcing the sump pump to continue running. Bypassing the float switch temporarily may be an option, but you should have a professional take a look at your system to determine why it’s doing so and whether or not replacing the switch is needed.

It’s also possible that the discharge line is pointing UPSTREAM and is creating a backflow of water every time the sump pump turns off. This means that when the pump turns off, the water flows back into the basin and fills it up again. This can be fixed by having the pump point downwards to ensure the water is properly draining away from your home.

You can also check to make sure the electrical outlet that powers the pump is working correctly. Plug another device into the outlet receptacle to test its functionality and see if it’s giving off voltage. If you use an extension cord to power your sump pump, consider getting a dedicated one that will provide consistent and reliable power. Finally, it’s important to have a professional calculate the size of your pump and weight capacity needs against horsepower to ensure your sump is the right fit for your house. A sump that is too small can cause damage to your basement and lead to a lot of wasted energy.

Motor Issues

The motor that drives your pump can experience a number of problems. If the motor burns out, your sump pump will no longer work. This can occur for a variety of reasons including excessive use, electrical issues and even a lack of proper maintenance.

An easy way to check on this is to simply look at the pump itself. If the motor is black, it’s likely burned out and needs to be replaced.

You may also notice that the pump is making strange noises when it’s in use. A rattling noise can indicate that the impeller has been damaged or is out of balance. An imbalanced impeller will put extra strain on the motor, shortening its lifespan and increasing the risk of future problems.

A sump pump that’s spitting water back into the basement instead of draining away from the home is another sign of a motor problem. This typically happens because the check valve (the device that prevents water from flowing back into the basement) is broken. The float switch, which is used to trigger the working cycle, can become stuck in the “on” position, or clogged. Cheap plastic models are more prone to this problem than higher-quality pumps.

The hose that drains water away from the pump can ice up in the winter. When this occurs, the pump can’t send water out of your home and will start running non-stop. This puts a lot of unnecessary stress on the motor and can cause it to burn out. If you’re noticing this issue, it’s time to call for professional sump pump repair. You’ll also want to inspect the discharge line to ensure that it’s not clogged.

No Water in the Pit

If your sump pump appears to be working but isn’t removing any water from the pit, this could be due to an issue with the discharge line. This line should be directing water away from your home, rather than back in through your basement, which could damage your foundation. A plumber can examine and reroute the pipes exiting your sump pit to create a more direct route for the water.

A clogged sump pump can cause the float switch to become stuck or tangled in debris. If this is the case, your float switch will need to be cleaned.

In many cases, a sump pump that is constantly running but not draining any water from the pit can be the result of an overworked motor. The longer this problem goes on, the more overworked your pump will be and the faster it will wear out. It is best to call a plumbing professional to diagnose and fix this problem as soon as it occurs.

Other common problems include a broken check valve, a damaged impeller, or a leaking discharge line. The check valve is designed to prevent the pump from accidentally reversing the direction of water flow, which can lead to flooding in your basement. If your check valve is broken or missing, this will also cause your sump to run continuously and may cause the motor to burn out quickly.

Unplug your sump pump and check the intake screen to make sure it is clear and unobstructed. Also, remove any gravel or dirt from the bottom of your sump basin, as this can impede the flow of water. You can also test your sump pump by pouring five gallons of water into the pit to see if it engages and shuts off properly.