Why Is My Sump Pump Not Working?

Why Is My Sump Pump Not Working?

You’re probably asking this question because you’ve experienced some water in your basement during or after a heavy rain. There are a number of steps you can take to diagnose and fix the problem before the next storm hits.

sump pump

What are the main causes for a sump pump to fail & how do I fix them?

  1. The sump pump is not getting power.

  • Check to make sure the electrical outlet the pump is plugged into is working. Plug something else into the outlet & if it’s not working, then check to see if the circuit breaker has been tripped.
  • Sump pumps require a lot of electricity, so you want it to be on its own circuit breaker.
  • If you have to use an extension cord, make sure you’re using one that can handle the voltage.
  1. There is a problem with the float switch.

    • Before checking anything inside the pump, be sure to unplug it from the power source.
    • The float switch on your sump pump operates in a similar way to the float switch in your toilet. If it can’t engage properly, the pump will not turn on or off.
    • The pump may have shifted inside the basin, causing the float switch to lodge against its side. Check to make sure it’s in the proper position.
    • Debris may also be a factor in preventing the switch from operating freely, so clear away any that you see.
  2. The screen inside the pump is blocked.

    • Sump pumps have an intake screen at the bottom through which the water flows into the pump. Check to make sure that it hasn’t been plugged by debris and that water can flow freely.
  1. The discharge line has become clogged.

    • Sump pumps typically expel water out of your basement and away from your foundation through a discharge pipe. If water can’t exit your home, the system will not work.
    • The end of the pipe will be outside your house, with the drain pipe on a downslope leading away from the house.
    • Inspect the end of the pipe to make sure there isn’t any debris blocking the water flow. Be sure to shine a flashlight into the pipe to see if something is farther inside. Clear away any debris you find.

I think I fixed the problem but how do I test my sump pump to make sure it’s working?

First, make sure the sump pump is plugged back into the electrical outlet. Then dump enough clean water into the pump to raise the float switch and listen for it to start up. If you can, have someone outside to make sure the water comes out of the drainage pipe.

If you couldn’t find the problem or your sump pump is still not working after you test it, then it could be the pump motor is broken, the sump pump itself is defective, or there is a clog in the drainage line that you can’t access. In that case, just give us a call at (804) 358-9333 and one of experienced plumbers will be right out to make sure your sump pump is working before the next heavy rain comes! Learn more about us at www.jamesriverair.com.