How to Repair a Sump Pump

A sump pump is generally installed in a crawl space, cellar, or basement to pump out stormwater. If you want to know how to fix a sewage ejector pump that pumps sewage up from a basement bathroom, go here.

what would cause a sump pump to stop working?

Here are some basic things to check before calling a plumber to fix your sump pump:

  1. Make sure it hasn’t come unplugged. You don’t know how many times I’ve been called out to investigate a sump pump not working and it was only unplugged, especially in a crawl space. Maybe another contractor was working down there and inadvertently hit the cord and it came loose.
  2. Check the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn’t tripped.
  3. Check the pit to make sure it’s not filled with debris. Maintenance cleaning is a must to prevent premature failure of your sump pump.
  4. Check the pump to make sure it’s not clogged with debris or mud.
  5. Check the float switch to make sure it’s not hung up on something.
  6. Check the check valve to make sure it’s not letting water back into the pit. This could cause the pump to run continuously and burn out the pump motor prematurely.
  7. Check the discharge pipe outlet to make sure it’s not clogged with dirt, roots, etc.
  8. How old is the sump pump? Things do die of old age, you know.
  9. Is the pump still under warranty? If you have the serial number, which should be on a tag on the cord, you can find out how old it is. If it’s under warranty, you may be able to get a replacement for free. That’s for the pump, not the labor to install it.

If nothing works after all this, you need to replace the sump pump. If you don’t feel qualified to size the replacement pump correctly or don’t want the hassle of investigating the things above, it’s time to call a professional.

Plumb Smart Inc specializes in all residential plumbing including sump pumps. The most common problem we find regarding sump pumps is the pit is crudely constructed, typically a bucket with holes cut in the bottom, set in a dug out dirt pit. Common sense tells us that this won’t last very long because the bucket and pump will clog with mud.

A proper pit should be constructed of concrete and designed to not let mud into the pit. Even so, the pit should be periodically cleaned especially after a big storm where some dirt and debris is bound to get in. Constructing a proper pit is hard work and not cheap, but will provide peace of mind in the long run.

What’s a better solution? Keep water from getting in in the first place. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and free from clogs. Add flexible corrugated storm drain pipe to your downspouts to keep rainwater away from your house. Make sure your grading slopes away from the house. If you can do this, you won’t need a sump pump at all. You want to keep your crawl space, cellar, or basement free from water intrusion because moisture can cause other problems such as mold and mildew.

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