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Is Your Sump Pump Not Working? Here’s What You Need to Know

A sump pump is a vital piece of equipment for preventing flood damage to your home. The system removes groundwater by pumping it out of a building’s crawlspace or basement. The chance of a flooded basement, however, increases if your sump pump is malfunctioning. We will go over the warning signs of a malfunctioning sump pump, the most typical reasons for that failure, and provide you with detailed advice on how to fix it. We’ll also cover some preventative measures you may take to extend the life of your sump pump.

Symptoms of a failing sump pump

In the event of a sump pump malfunction, a critical issue may arise: the basement may be inundated by water due to inadequate drainage, resulting in considerable water damage. Thus, it is crucial to be aware of the tell-tale signs of a sump pump’s failure to take swift and appropriate measures before the situation spirals out of control.

Distinguishing a Failing Sump Pump: 4 Common Symptoms

When it comes to detecting a failing sump pump, certain symptoms are typically encountered. Such signs include visible water accumulation around the sump pump, a clamorous sound emanating from the sump pump, and an unpleasant odor emanating from the sump pump.

In addition, the following 4 signs may indicate a sump pump in distress:

  1. The sump pump may exhibit an inability to activate.
  2. The sump pump may be continuously running without interruption.
  3. The sump pump may produce unfamiliar noises that are a departure from its usual operating sounds.
  4. Water may be pooling in your basement or crawlspace, a telltale sign of a sump pump malfunction.

Additional Signs That Your Sump Pump is Failingsump pump use in house

  • Wet or damp basement: A sump pump’s failure can lead to a wet or damp basement because its primary function is to remove excess groundwater from the area above ground.
  • Gurgling noises: A gurgling sound coming from the sump pit may indicate that the pump is working hard to get rid of the water.
  • Overflowing sump pit: If water is overflowing from the sump pit, the pump may be clogged or not functioning properly.
  • A constantly running pump: a sump pump should activate only when the pit fills with water. If the pump is always on, it could be because the pit is too shallow or the float switch is broken.
  • Lack of water in the pit: A clue that the sump pump needs attention is the low water levels in the sump pit, which may indicate that the pump is not recirculating water effectively.
  • Unpleasant Smell Coming From the Sump Pump: Any unpleasant odors originating from the sump pump should be investigated further, as this could be a sign of failing equipment. A clog of stones or mud inside the sump pump could be to blame for this problem.
  • High Utility Bills: If you have noticed an increase in your water bill, it may be a sign that your sump pump is not working properly. For the simple reason that using an inefficient sump pump can drive up your monthly energy costs.
  • Warning signs: Overheating or a burning odor are both cautionary indications.

Reasons why the sump pump is not working

Having a reliable sump pump is critical for protecting your basement or crawl space from flooding. Failure of a sump pump is a common problem that, if left unchecked, can lead to substantial and expensive water damage.

The top 4 reasons your sump pump may stop working

Power outages, blocked intake screens, and broken check valves are typical reasons for a sump pump to stop working. The failure of a sump pump can also be caused by improper installation or maintenance. Homeowners can prevent the failure of their sump pump by avoiding the most prevalent reasons for failure and taking preventative measures.

  1. There seems to be a problem with the float switch.
  2. There is debris in the impeller.
  3. Frozen or stopped up, the discharge pipe
  4. The electricity is out.

Table: Other causes of sump pump failure

Cause Description
Float switch failure The failure of the sump pump could be caused by the float switch, which is responsible for turning the pump on and off, becoming stuck, or otherwise malfunctioning.
Impeller clogging Debris can accumulate in the impeller, which is responsible for pumping water out of the sump pit, and reduce its efficiency.
Discharge pipe clogging Backups in the sump pit can also be caused by debris blocking the discharge line that takes water away from the foundation.
power supply failure The sump pump might not activate if the electricity isn’t flowing properly due to a blown fuse or a broken plug.
Mechanical failure Eventually, the sump pump’s mechanical parts will wear out, and it will stop working.
Lack of maintenance Because of a lack of upkeep, sump pumps can wear out and break down if not checked regularly.

Sump Pump Not Working: Troubleshooting Steps

Sump pump troubleshooting can be stressful for homeowners. The problem may be a broken pump, a leak, or flooding. It’s crucial to quickly detect and fix the issue.

Stepbystep sump pump troubleshooting process

A step-by-step strategy may help you troubleshoot your sump pump. From power supply evaluation through valve and pipe inspection, this process encompasses many steps. By following these measures, you can ensure your sump pump works and protect your home from nature:

  1. Check the power supply: Checking the power supply is the first step in troubleshooting. It’s crucial to connect the sump pump and check the output.
  2. Check the float switch: After this initial stage, assess the float switch. It’s vital to check the float switch, which controls the sump pump’s automated operation, for entanglement.
  3. Check the impeller: Checking the impeller follows inspecting the float switch. To check for debris, the impeller must be examined. The sump pump’s performance could be affected by impeller issues.
  4. Check the discharge pipe: Examining the discharge pipe concludes sump pump troubleshooting. The discharge pipe’s blockage status is determined by this procedure. It’s also important to make sure the discharge pipe isn’t frozen, which could impair the sump pump.

When a sump pump breaks, what should I do?

First, make sure there is electricity available. Verify that the pump has power and that the fuse or circuit breaker has not tripped.

Then, double-check float switches to prevent the pump from starting if the “on” position is stuck.

Third, examine the sewage pipe and pump for obstructions. It’s possible that the pump is overloaded and turning off because of this.

Fourth, make sure the check valve is working correctly. If it isn’t, water won’t be able to leave the house through the drain connected to the pump.

5. Inspect the impeller blades; they won’t be able to propel water if they’re damaged or worn. If step 6 doesn’t fix the problem, it may be time to replace the pump.

How to Repair a Sump Pump

what does a sump pump doThere are a few essential measures that may need to be taken while repairing a broken sump pump to get it working again. Depending on the nature of the problem, you may need to clean and repair existing parts or replace them entirely. Standard procedures for fixing a sump pump include the following:

Replace the float switch: If the sump pump is not operating automatically, it could be due to a faulty float switch, which must be changed if the problem persists. In most cases, this can be resolved by removing the existing switch and replacing it with a new one.

Clean the impeller: The performance of the sump pump can suffer if the impeller accumulates debris over time. To eliminate debris and guarantee the impeller can spin freely, a stiff brush can be used for cleaning.

Unclog the discharge pipe: Cleaning up the clog in the discharge line is another precaution you should take if your sump pump stops working. If this is the case, you can get the pump working again by using a plumbing snake to remove the blockage.

Replace the sump pump: In the event that your sump pump is damaged beyond repair, you should consider replacing it. Depending on the condition of the pump (ancient, broken, or past its prime), this may be essential.

Preventative Maintenance for Your Sump Pump

In order for your sump pump to function successfully and efficiently, it is imperative that you maintain it. You can increase the lifespan of your sump pump and prevent any problems from developing by paying attention to these suggestions.

Keep the sump pump area clean.

The sump pump area needs to be kept clean first and foremost. In order to prevent the sump pump’s operation from being impeded, make sure to clear away any debris that may gather in the vicinity. The sump pump will operate at its best if regular cleaning keeps any obstacles at bay.

Test the sump pump regularly:

Second, it’s a good idea to test the sump pump frequently. To do this, fill the sump pit with water, and then make sure the sump pump activates and correctly drains the water. To check that the sump pump is in good operating order, perform this quick test once every few months.

Check the discharge pipe:

Lastly, it is crucial to make sure the discharge pipe is appropriately diverting water away from your foundation. As these conditions can hinder the sump pump’s function, check to make sure the discharge pipe is not blocked or frozen.

Replace the sump pump every 5–7 years:

Be aware that sump pumps normally last 5-7 years, which brings us to our fourth point. As a result, it is advised that if your sump pump has been in use for that long, you replace it. You can guarantee your sump pump’s efficient and dependable operation by doing this.

Consider a battery-backed sump pump:

To ensure that your sump pump keeps working even when there is a power outage, think about adding a battery backup sump pump. Your home will be protected further and won’t sustain any water damage if you have a battery-backed sump pump.


What exactly is a sump pump used for?
In order to prevent flooding, a sump pump is a device that is put in a basement or crawl space. Its main function is to drain the water away from the house and remove it from the sump pit.

How can I tell if my sump pump is malfunctioning?
Strange noises, a constantly running motor, and the presence of water in the sump pit are a few indicators of a broken sump pump.

Can I fix my sump pump by myself?
Sure, you can troubleshoot your sump pump by performing tasks like checking the power supply, looking at the float switch, and cleaning the pump and pit.

When should I have my sump pump repaired or replaced?
It is advised to replace your sump pump if it is outdated or beyond repair. It could be possible to fix a minor problem, like a damaged float switch, though.

How should my sump pump be maintained?
Regular pump and pit cleaning, monthly testing, and yearly expert maintenance are all parts of proper maintenance.

Can I put up a sump pump on my own?
To ensure that a sump pump installation is done properly and in accordance with the code, it is advised to hire a professional.

Can you shower if your sump pump is not working?

If your sump pump isn’t working, don’t take a shower—it could flood your basement. The sump pump removes water from the basement and prevents water damage, so if it fails, water can accumulate and harm the foundation and other areas of your home. If the sump pump doesn’t operate and water is in the basement, it may be contaminated and unsafe for showering. Fix the sump pump before having a shower.

Why is the sump pump not working fast enough?

Undersized sump pumps are the main cause of slow operation. The sump pump may not be able to pump out the water flowing in. Poor drainage, congested pipes, and poorly maintained pumps are further causes.


If you want to keep your home dry and safe from flooding, you need a sump pump. In the event that your sump pump stops operating, you must act promptly to avoid a flooded basement. Safeguard your house by learning the signs of a malfunctioning sump pump, the most common reasons for failure, and the best methods for troubleshooting and repairing your sump pump. The failure of your sump pump can be avoided and its useful life extended if you take care of it as recommended in this article.

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