Troubleshooting Your Sump Pump: A Friendly Guide to Common Problems

By: Alex | Date Posted: February 1, 2024

Hey there! So, you’ve got a sump pump, huh? It’s that trusty little machine tucked away in your basement or crawl space, quietly doing its job until it throws a little tantrum one day. Don’t worry, though! We’ve got your back with some friendly troubleshooting tips to get that sump pump back on track.

Problem 1: Noisy Operation

Is your sump pump suddenly making more noise than a hyperactive raccoon in a trash can? It might be attributable to a few factors. Initially, inspect whether fragments or small stones are lodged within the pump’s impeller. It’s like giving your pump a little dental cleaning. Just turn it off, unplug it (safety first!), and fish out any gunk causing the racket.

If that’s not the case, it could be because air is trapped in the pump- like when you’ve got a bubble in your straw. Try priming your pump by pouring water into the sump pit until it reaches the normal operating level. This should kick out the air bubbles and bring peace back.

Problem 2: Pump Running Continuously

Uh-oh, is your sump pump pulling a marathon and running non-stop? That’s not normal. First things first, check if the float switch is stuck. It’s like the conductor of this watery orchestra, and if it’s jammed, your pump won’t know when to take a break. Give it a gentle nudge to see if it frees up. If that doesn’t do the trick, it might be time to adjust the switch settings or replace it altogether. Remember, safety first – always unplug the pump before tinkering with anything.

Problem 3: Pump Not Turning On

So, your sump pump is chilling there, refusing to wake up and do its job? It’s like calling in sick on a Monday morning. First off, check the power supply. Is it plugged in? Is the outlet functioning properly? Occasionally, it’s the most basic issues that lead to significant frustrations. If the power’s all good, it might be a float switch issue again. Try giving it a gentle shake to see if that prompts your pump to start working. If not, there might be an issue with the pump, such as a blown fuse or a faulty motor. In that case, it might be time to call in the pros.

Problem 4: Pump Overheating

Is your sump pump feeling a bit too hot to handle? It’s like it’s got a fever or something. Check if the pump is properly submerged in water – if exposed, it can overheat faster than a teenager at a beach party. Also, make sure the pump’s vents are clear of any obstructions. Just like fresh air, your pump needs proper ventilation to stay cool.

Problem 5: Strange Odors

Has your sump pump started emitting odors reminiscent of a swamp? It’s not just your imagination – there could be a buildup of stagnant water or debris in the pump or pit. Give everything a good clean and flush it with water and mild detergent. If the smell persists, it might be time to call a plumber to inspect for potential pump or drainage system issues.

Problem 6: Check Valve Malfunction

The check valve is like a one-way street for water, ensuring it flows in the right direction. If it’s not working correctly, water might start flowing back into the pit after the pump shuts off, causing it to cycle unnecessarily. Check for any obstructions or damage to the valve; if needed, a plumber can replace it to restore proper function.

Problem 7: Power Outages

During a storm or power outage, your sump pump is left twiddling its thumbs without electricity. Consider installing a backup battery or a water-powered backup pump to ensure continuous operation during emergencies. An experienced plumber can help you select and install the best backup system.

Problem 8: Frozen Discharge Pipe

In cold climates, the discharge pipe leading water away from your home can freeze during winter, causing water to back up into the sump pit. The pipe can be insulated or installed with a special discharge line antifreeze device to prevent freezing. A plumber can safely thaw the pipe out to restore proper drainage if it is frozen.

Problem 9: Pump Size Mismatch

Sometimes, a sump pump might not be sized properly for the volume of water it needs to handle, leading to frequent cycling or inadequate drainage. A plumbing technician can assess your basement’s needs and recommend the right size and type of pump for optimal performance.

Final Thoughts

Ah, the humble sump pump – often overlooked until it’s desperately needed. But fear not! By staying proactive and addressing any issues as soon as they arise, you can ensure your sump pump remains a reliable guardian against basement floods.

Sump Pump Maintenance

Keep in mind that consistent maintenance is crucial. Make it a habit to inspect your sump pump regularly, particularly before the onset of the rainy season or following a significant downpour. Clear out debris, test the float switch, and give it a little TLC to keep it in tip-top shape. We get it – not everyone’s a DIY guru. That’s where the plumbers swoop in like superheroes. Whether a mysterious odor wafting from your sump pit or a check valve went rogue, plumbers have the skills and know-how to diagnose and fix even the trickiest of sump pump problems. And let’s not forget about preventive measures. Investing in a backup battery or water-powered pump can provide peace of mind during power outages or severe weather events. Plus, proper insulation and maintenance of the discharge pipe can prevent nasty surprises when winter rolls around. So, whether you’re a hands-on DIY enthusiast or prefer to leave it to the pros, staying proactive and attentive to your sump pump’s needs is important. With a little help from you and your friendly neighborhood plumber, your basement will remain dry, and your sump pump will continue to be the unsung hero of your home.

Thank you for reading!


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