Sump Pump Troubleshooting

A sump pump problem can lead to expensive flood damage in your basement. It’s therefore important to recognize the signs that you need sump pump repair. Acting sooner rather than later can allow a technician to fix the problem before there’s more damage. In this sump pump troubleshooting guide, we’ll discuss a few common problems, potential ways you can fix them, and when to call a professional.

Common Sump Pump Problems

As a mechanical system, a sump pump is prone to developing issues over time. The most common symptoms of something wrong include:

  1. Sump Pump Won’t Turn On: There could be a problem with the switch or the pump’s float activator, which can get stuck. The pump then won’t respond to rising water levels. A faulty pressure sensor can also prevent the system from running. It’s also possible the pump could be burnt out.
  2. Doesn’t Remove Water: You hear the pump running but the sump basin doesn’t drain. The pump might not be removing water because the impeller might be damaged, the check valve malfunctioned, or the discharge line is leaking. Another reason can be a clog in the suction intake screen or discharge pipe.
  3. Sump Pump Is Clogged: If a submersible pump is not elevated with a sump pump pedestal, debris can build up and clog the system. In addition to raising the pump, cover the pit with a sealed lid to prevent objects and debris from falling in, and to protect children and pets.
  4. Shuts Off Prematurely: When the pump shuts off before enough water is removed from the basin, the float switch may be damaged or need to be adjusted. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to adjust the switch if the system turns off before it returns to the off position.
  5. Running Non-Stop: A stuck switch can cause a sump pump to not turn off. Other reasons include the pump being undersized or not strong enough to drain the sump pit efficiently, or there could be a missing or damaged check valve. A high water table can also cause the pump to run continuously.
  6. Pump Burn Out: The pump can eventually burn out if it runs continuously and is overworked. It’s therefore important to choose the right sized pump. Address stuck switches and other mechanical issues quickly to avoid further damage. Overheating is another possible reason, and can be caused by a power supply issue.

How to Troubleshoot Your Sump Pump

Here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot a sump pump and spot issues you can resolve on your own.

  1. Check for Clogs: Examine the pump to see if it’s blocked by any debris. Also check the impeller by first unplugging the pump and removing the bottom screen. If there’s debris blocking the impeller, remove the material so it can rotate freely. Check the discharge line as well and remove any debris you find to restore drainage.
  2. Check Valve: Inspect the check valve to see if it is broken, which will cause water to flow back in. This can eventually cause the pump to burn out. The check valve prevents discharged water from returning, so look for signs of backflow. It may need to be replaced if it’s not working properly.
  3. Make Sure Power Is On: If your sump pump is electric powered, an outage can disable it. Also check whether the pump has been accidentally unplugged or the circuit breaker has tripped or been accidentally flipped. There’s always a chance a sump pump can stop working, which is why a battery-operated backup pump should be installed in case this happens when you’re not home.
  4. Let Black Hills Handle the Difficult Repairs: Call a professional if there isn’t a simple solution to the problem. Attempting to fix it yourself can cause more damage to the pump and your home. Our technicians are trained to repair different sump pump models and brands and carry the tools and equipment to do the job safely and effectively. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee while members of our Silver Club maintenance program receive special discounts.

Contact Black Hills Inc.

If you’ve followed our sump pump troubleshooting tips and haven’t been able to resolve the problem, contact us right away. We provide expert sump pump, electrical, and AC and heating services (including heat pump installation/repair) in Olympia, Tacoma, and Puyallup, WA. To schedule a visit, request service online or call 888-978-2917.