Why Your Sump Pump Isn't Working

Dealing with a malfunctioning sump pump can be a real headache, especially when you're relying on it to keep your basement dry, particularly during spring’s rainy season. If you've found yourself ankle-deep in water despite having a sump pump, fear not! Let's dive into some common reasons why your sump pump might not be doing its job and what you can do about it.

  1. Float Switch Problems: The float on a sump pump is one of the first components to go. Take a look at the number of cords coming from the sump pump basin, if you see two cords, your pump is likely operating on what is called a “Piggy-Back” plug. Go ahead and unplug the cords from the outlet and separate the plugs. Now, re-insert the smaller of the two plugs, this will be the plug that does not have the male and female sides. This plug directly operates the pump, bypassing the float. If you see and hear the pump working accordingly, you now know that you only have to replace the float switch. 

  2. Power Issues: The most obvious culprit is often the power source. Check to ensure that the pump is plugged in and that the outlet is working properly. If it's plugged in but still not working, be sure that the circuit breaker has not tripped in your electrical panel. It's also a good idea to have a battery backup in case of power failures.

  3. Pump Failure: Like any mechanical device, sump pumps can fail over time due to wear and tear. If you've ruled out other issues regarding the piggyback plug and power outlet and the pump still isn't working, it might be time for a replacement. Sump pumps typically have a lifespan of around 5-10 years, so if yours is approaching that age, it's worth considering an upgrade.

  4. Clogged Intake or Discharge Pipes: If you are familiar with how your pump works and can tell it’s trying to push water but cannot, debris like dirt, gravel, or small objects may have accumulated in the discharge pipe, causing a blockage. Consider hiring a professional to snake the discharge pipe as this sometimes requires the pipe to be cut and reconnected properly.

  5. Improper Installation: If your sump pump was installed incorrectly, it may not be positioned properly or have the appropriate fittings for a smooth operation. Double-check the installation instructions or consult with our professional team to ensure everything is set up correctly.

Remember, regular maintenance and periodic checks can go a long way in preventing sump pump problems. If your sump pump does not operate often, the propellers can become seized, causing the pump to malfunction. We recommend that you let your pump function at least once a month to keep it in prime shape for emergencies. It's always better to address issues sooner rather than later to avoid costly water damage to your home. If you're unsure about how to troubleshoot or fix your sump pump, don't hesitate to reach out to our professional plumbing services.