Sump Pump Won’t Stop Running: 6 Causes And Solutions

If your sump pump keeps running and you have no idea what to do, then you’re reading the right article.

Stay with me, as I’ll be discussing the possible reasons why your sump pump refuses to stop pumping, and what you can do to fix it.

Let’s go!

Sump Pump Keeps Running No Rain

Do you know why your sump pump runs all the time?

As far as getting rid of standing water in the basement is concerned, sump pumps have been a blessing. They are automatically triggered by a sensor and begin to pump water away into the main sewer system.

These useful gadgets have saved thousands of basements from what would have been disastrous flooding, but what happens when these machines begin to malfunction?

Yes, sometimes sump pumps just refuse to stop pumping, and this has adverse effects down the line. Not only will it begin to heat up, but it will also pile up your electricity bills.

Why Does My Sump Pump Keep Running?

If you find that your sump pump is always running and yet it struggles to pump out any water, then it may have one of the following issues.

Why is my sump pump running so much? Find out.

  • It is undersized
  • The inlet screen is clogged
  • The discharge line is leaking
  • The check valve is faulty
  • The impeller is faulty

Sump Pump Is Running Continuously

The case may be that your sump pump continues to run even when there is no water. This can be most likely attributed to a stuck float switch.

The recommended solution here is to have a technician come over and take a look at it. The problem is minor though, and you can actually loosen up the float switch if you have prior experience.

Here’s what you can do if your pump keeps running but struggles to pump out any water.

Problem 1: Undersized sump pump

Sump pumps come in different sizes and the one you bought may be too small to handle the volumes of water that can fill up your basement.

If this is the case, then the diminutive pump will be overwhelmed by the water, and it won’t be able to pump it out as fast as it is coming into the pit.

This causes your sump pump to run for longer periods than it should, and this can cause a breakdown.

In case you didn’t know, sump pumps are sized by the number of gallons of water per hour (GPH) they can pump away from the sump pit.

You guessed right, the higher the GPH, the faster it can pump out water.

What you can do: You have to first be sure if indeed your sump pump is too small. There are two ways by which you can find out.

First of all, you can calculate the capacity needs of your sump pump.

If you find that the GPH you calculated is greater than the GPH of the sump pump itself, then you will have no choice but to buy a sump pump with a higher GPH capacity.

Calculating your sump pump GPH isn’t so difficult, but I recommend that you have a professional do it for you for more accurate results.

If you insist on doing it yourself, then you can wait for a rainy day and run your pump until the water reaches the turnoff level. Wait for a minute with the pump turned off, then measure how high up the water is.

An inch of water in the sump pit is about a gallon.

Now multiply the number of inches by which the water rose in the minute by 60. The figure you get as your answer represents the amount of water that will enter the sump pit within an hour of continuous rainfall.

Now multiply the resulting figure by a 1.5 safety factor to determine the GPH capacity sump pump you need to buy.

As a second approach, you can visually observe how well your sump pump performs.

If you find that the water in the sump pit isn’t rising and falling regularly, then you can call a professional to determine if the pump is of a suitable size.

Problem 2: Clogged inlet screen

As soon as the sump pump is turned on, the motor will suck water into the pump. Most sump pumps have what is called an inlet screen, which is responsible for prevention debris from clogging the motor.

Unfortunately, the inlet screen itself can get clogged too, and in turn, stop the sump pump from sucking in and pumping out water as it should.

Sadly, the motor doesn’t go off when the inlet screen is clogged, it will keep running and struggling to pump out the water.

What you can do: You can manually turn off the sump pump and pull it out of the sump pit for inspection.

A flashlight will come in handy for better visuals, especially if your basement is dark.

Brush off all the problematic debris that’s clogging the inlet screen to open it back up. You can use a toothbrush for this. A small hose and water can also be used to blast off the blockage.

Now plug the pump back in and place it back into the sump pit. If a clogged inlet was truly the problem, then it should work perfectly after unclogging.

If it doesn’t, call a professional technician to take a look.

Problem 3: Leaking discharge pipes

The discharge pipe is a component of the sump pump that is meant to channel water away from your basement.

These pipes can be made with PVC material, which of course will suffer from wear and tear over time and cause leaks.

The leaks will grow bigger as time passes and water will no longer be able to flow all the way out. Instead, some of it will flow out of the leaks and back into the sump pit, causing the machine to keep running in vain.

What you can do: Take a close look at the discharge line (or pipe) to find out if it is leaking. If the leaks are identified, they have the discharge pipe replaced.

Problem 4: Faulty check valve

The check valve is a sump pump component that makes sure water doesn’t flow back into the sump pit.

However, if the valve is broken or clogged, then water will flow back into the pit and the pump will be continually forced to keep trying to pump it back out.

What you can do: This is pretty much an easy fox for someone that has some handy work experience. All you need to do is grab a screwdriver and use it to take off the pipe over the check valve.

Now inspect the valve and clean off any debris that is blocking the valve.

If the problem persists after doing this, then call for professional advice. You may need to buy a new valve altogether.

Problem 5: Faulty impeller

The impeller is a motorized fan that sucks water into the pump when it spins rapidly. The spinning motion doesn’t just suck in water, it also pushes the water through the discharge pipe.

In a case where the impeller is clogged or broken, it won’t be able to perform this action and the water will not be discharged through the pipe. Hence the sump pump keeps running to no avail.

What you can do: The impeller is a more complicated component than a valve or discharge pipe, so it needs to be handled with better expertise.

A technician should come and take a look at it to see if it needs to be replaced.

Chances are it can still be repaired, so don’t be too quick to write it off.

Problem 6: A Stuck Float Switch

The sump pump has a component called a float switch.

This part is responsible for turning the pump on and off, as it floats up as the water level rises and comes back down when it drops.

The float switch is connected to a lever that turns the pump on and off.

However, the switch might get stuck in the “ON” position when the water level rises, and this will keep the machine running, even when there is no water to pump.

What you can do: First unplug the machine from the power outlet to turn it off, then do a quick inspection.

Now rid the sump pit of all rocks, dirt, and any form of debris, as all these particles can stop the float switch from lowering.

You can confirm if the float switch is free by moving it up and down with your hands.

An extra tip here is to move your sump pump to the middle of the sump pit. Vibration can cause the machine to shift and pin the float switch against the sump pump liner.

Plug back the sump pump to see if it works fine. If it doesn’t, then call on a professional to come and handle the problem.

It could be that the switch needs to be replaced with a new one.

Sump Pump Constantly Running: Fix

There you go, follow these tips if your sump pump keeps running.

Remember to unplug the pump from the power outlet before you handle it, as this can save you from an electric shock.

If these fixes don’t work, then you need to call a professional to take a look.

Good luck!

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