You count on your sump pump to protect your home from water damage when the weather outside is frightful. And discovering that your sump pump is not working as it should—or at all—can be cause for alarm.

Your friends at AP Plumbing are here to help you troubleshoot five common sump pump problems. Whether your pump is not turning on or not removing water, follow these tips to fix your unit and restore order to your home. 

Sump Pump Not Turning On

If your sump pump fails to turn on, you could be dealing with a power failure, defective float switch, or overheating pump. Let’s see how we can DIY troubleshoot, and fix these sump pump problems. 

Power Failure

First thing’s first, make sure the unit is receiving enough power. This is often the most common cause of a sump pump not turning on and a really easy fix that doesn’t require the help of a plumber. 

Check to see that your sump pump is plugged in and the outlet is not faulty. Try plugging something else into the outlet to make sure it’s working properly. 

Remember that sump pumps need electricity to operate. If it loses power at any point, the system will stop working! That’s why it’s a good idea to install a battery backup, especially if you live in an area prone to power outages during storm season.

Defective Float Switch

Most sump pump systems utilize a float switch that automatically activates that pump when the sump pit fills with the designated amount of water. If the float switch stops working, your sump pump stops working—it’s that simple. 

How do you know if a defective float switch is the reason your sump pump is not turning on? Do a visual inspection of the sump pump and see if there is any debris stuck in the pit. It’s not uncommon for foreign objects to end up in the basin and cause the float switch to jam. 

Sump pump maintenance is one easy way to prevent this problem in the future. Regular cleaning of the pump, motor, and pit will ensure your unit stays in the best condition possible.

Overheating Pump

Almost all types of sump pumps are equipped with thermal protection, a safety mechanism that causes the sump pump to shut down when the motor starts overheating. Although this is designed to prevent sump pump failure, it won’t do you any favors if the sump pump is not turning on while a storm is brewing outdoors. 

Avoid overheating the pump by:

If none of these reasons can explain why your sump pump is not working, it may be time to bring in the pros. An experienced plumber can determine the exact cause behind your sump pump problems and offer an appropriate solution. Perhaps your sump pump has simply reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced!

Sump Pump Not Removing Water

Does your sump pump run fine one minute but not the next? If your sump pump runs but doesn’t remove water, you might have a blockage in the discharge pipe. You can also try the age-old trick of turning your system off then restarting it to see if that fixes the problem.

Blockage in Discharge Pipes

All sorts of debris can gather in the discharge pipe and causes a clog that prevents your sump pump from functioning properly. 

Start by checking the inlet screen—this is the opening in your sump pit where water enters the pump. Turn off the unit first so you can not only get a better look but also keep yourself safe. If the inlet screen is clogged or dirty with sludge, clean it carefully. If not, find the discharge pipe (located outside your house) and check to see if leaves, dirt, or other rubbish is stuck in the pipe opening. 

Once the discharge line is clean from top to bottom, the sump pump should resume working properly.

Incorrect Installation

Do you have a new sump pump that’s not working? You might need a professional to make sure the unit was installed correctly in your basement or crawl space. Incorrect installation can cause tons of issues with your unit.

Schedule a Sump Pump Service With AP Plumbing

Don’t wait to find out your sump pump is not working by the time the next big storm rolls around. Make sure your home is protected from water damage by scheduling a service with AP Plumbing, Rochester’s most trusted plumber. 

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