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What to Do if Your Sump Pump Stops Working

flooded basement from sump pump not working

June 29, 2022

A sump pump protects your home from flooding and water damage. Sump pump failure can lead to a flooded basement, mold growth and damage. This is why it’s important to make sure your sump pump is working correctly and take the proper steps to protect your home if it fails.

Why Has My Sump Pump Stopped Working?

Common causes of sump pump failure include the following:

  • The sump pump was installed incorrectly: Since a sump pump has multiple parts, even the smallest installation errors can cause complications over time. 
  • The machine is too old to function properly: Sump pumps can last for up to a decade and may stop working correctly after this time. 
  • A power outage causes the machine to stop working: Unless you have a battery-operated backup pump, it will stop working when it loses power access. 
  • The machine becomes clogged: If any part of the machine is clogged, the sump pump will not be able to effectively move water out of your basement. 
  • The switch becomes stuck: If the switch that detects water and controls the sump pump becomes stuck, it will not be able to rise and activate the machine when the water level rises. 

What Happens When a Sump Pump Fails?

When a sump pump malfunctions or stops working, it will fail to remove water from your basement. Water will accumulate in your basement and increase the risk of flooding and mold. You may notice a musty smell in your basement, wet floors, damp walls, and damaged electronics or furniture. You should be able to shower if your sump pump is not working. 

How Do I Know if My Sump Pump Is Not Working?

If you notice water collecting in your basement, you can assume your sump pump system is not working. It may be completely powered off, clogged, leaking or not working properly. While flooding is a sure sign your sump pump is not working, there are ways to tell if it’s not working before it leads to flooding. 

To test your sump pump, dump some water into the machine’s sump pit. It should immediately start working when the float switch rises and activates it. If it does not turn on, something is causing it to malfunction. If you have a crawl space instead of a basement in your home, you can tell if your sump pump is not working correctly by checking the crawl space for humidity or a musty smell. 

What to Do if Your Sump Pump Stops Working

What to Do if Your Sump Pump Stops Working

If your sump pump is not working and your basement is flooded, make sure you shut off any electricity to the area before walking or touching wet surfaces. Once you know your basement floor is safe to walk on, you can take steps toward fixing your sump pump — removing excess water from your basement and preventing mold growth.

Fix Your Sump Pump

If your sump pump fails, there are some steps you should take to protect your basement. First, try to reset your sump pump system. If you’re not sure how to reset a sump pump, you only need to unplug it and wait a few seconds before plugging it back in. If that does not work, check your machine to determine why it’s not working with the following steps:

1. Check the Power Source

Feel your sump pump for vibrations to check if it has power. If there are no vibrations, the pump may be turned off or disconnected from power. Even if a power outage hasn’t occurred, you may need to address electrical problems causing your pump to fail by examining the circuits or fuses. 

2. Examine the Float and Float Switch

A float switch moves up and down to activate and deactivate the sump pump’s functioning. It’s possible for a float switch to become lodged in the side of the pump or against other parts of the pump. Check your sump pump’s float switch to make sure it has enough range of motion to work properly. 

Your sump pump’s float can also malfunction or wear out over time, so it’s essential to check if it’s working after making sure it’s not stuck. To check if it’s working properly, fill the sump pit with water and observe if the pump operates. If it does not operate on its own, your machine may need a new float.

3. Look for Blockages and Leaks

If your sump pump is on and operating, but the water level is not going down, there may be a blockage. Lift the pump lid and remove any foreign objects you find. Next, check to see if the drain pipes are clogged. If you find any debris, you can remove it and check if the pump resumes its proper functioning. 

Your sump pump’s weep hole and impeller can also become clogged. If your pump has a weep hole, it will be located between the pump and the check valve. Clear the hole with a toothpick or another narrow object, but make sure not to break any pieces off into the hole. 

Your sump pump’s impeller is a small filter that can become clogged and cause the machine to stop working. To fix this complication, you will need to replace or clean the impeller.

Examine your sump pump’s discharge pipe for any leaks because leaks can also cause water to back up in your basement. Check the spot where the discharge pipe exits your house’s foundation for signs of water.

What to Do if Your Sump Pump Stops Working

Remove Excess Water

After you determine what is causing your sump pump to malfunction, it’s important to remove any excess water that has been collected in your basement as soon as possible. You can remove the water using the following materials and equipment:

  • Towels and a mop
  • Battery-operated sump pump
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Hand pump
  • Trash-water pump

If you do not own any of the equipment listed above, you can rent the necessary equipment or hire a water removal specialist to help. 

Prevent Mold Growth

A flooded basement can lead to mold growth even after removing the water from your basement floor. To prevent mold growth, you can use dehumidifiers and fans to dry your basement. It’s also important to remove and replace any carpeting and drywall in your basement that was affected by the excess water. This will help you keep your basement free from potentially hazardous mold

What to Do if Your Sump Pump Stops Working

Replace Your Sump Pump With Enduric Plumbing Services Inc.

Make sure your sump pump operates properly to protect your home from flooding, water damage and mold. Prevent your sump pump from malfunctioning by checking on it regularly and replacing it when you need to. Enduric Plumbing Services will install a new sump pump in your home quickly and efficiently.

The technicians at Enduric Plumbing will offer quality service backed by years of experience. We offer friendly and professional service, upfront options and prices and a guarantee that we will leave your house cleaner than when we enter it. Contact us to learn more about how we can professionally install a sump pump in your home.