My Sump Pump Is Not Pumping Out Water

Sump Pump Diagram

Your sump pump can be a complicated piece of machinery and its a piece of equipment that needs its fair share of routine maintenance. Taking the time to make sure your sump pump works properly during the time of little usage can save your home from a disaster in the future. Disasters include the appearance of mold, and basement flooding for your home during rainy months. Routine maintenance on your sump pump, meaning every 2-3 months can extend the life of your sump pump. 

The life expectancy of a basement sump pump is anywhere from 3-10 years. With routine maintenance and care the life expectancy of a sump pump becomes 10-15 years and in some cases even 20 years.

Here are some reasons to explain why your sump pump might be malfunctioning or having troubleshooting issues 

Your Sump Pump Is Not The Right Size

Improper sizing of your sump pump is usually accompanied by an improper installation. Your sump pump needs to be installed exactly to instructions so that it will function properly. 

If your sump pump is too big: Your will have to work harder to pump out water and if your sump pump over exerts itself, it is most likely going to reduce its life expectancy and not work efficiently. 

If your sump pump is too small: Your sump pump being too small will result in failure to pump out water. 

Your Sump Pump Was Installed Incorrectly

As mentioned before your sump pump being installed incorrectly can be the cause of your sump pumps troubleshooting issues. 

Places to check for improper installation of your sump pump. 

Discharge Pipe: The discharge pipe must be the right diameter. A small air relief hole should be in the discharge line so that the sump pump can overcome air pressure. If your sump pump was installed in an area where dirt or gravel is present, your discharge pipe might have debris in it which can disturb the sump pump’s float arm. 

Check Valve: It is almost always required for a check valve to be installed on the discharge line. If one is not installed, it could cause a backflow of water which can disrupt your impeller by making it rotate backward, and thus unscrewing the motor shaft.

This is a common issue for a frequently asked question about why our customer’s sump pumps are running but not pumping any water. 

Your Sump Pump Is Experiencing A Switch Problem

Your sump pump relies on the switch and the float arm to operate effectively. 

Check to see if float arm is stuck on anything: If you notice an object is in the way of the float ball, remove the object and continue to reposition the sump pump or switch to prevent this from happening again. 

The float switch is broken: This is not uncommon if you find that your float switch is broken you will need to replace it as soon as possible. 

The float switch needs to be adjusted:  Turn off your pump and see if the pump shuts off before the float ball is all the way down. If the pump is shutting down too early then readjust the float switch.

Overdue Maintenance: Checklist

As we mentioned in the start of this post, routine maintenance can make the difference between a fully operational sump pump during the months you need it, and a plumbing disaster waiting to happen. Our checklist will also act as a summary of the issues we have talked about so far. 

  • Test sump pump – Check outside to see if the sump pump is discharge water properly
  • Make sure the impeller is not disengaged 
  • Check valve is not installed backward
  • Float Arm and Ball is not being blocked 
  • Airhole is in discharge line
  • Is your sump pump making weird noises?
  • Replace battery on backup pump every 2-3 years

D.I.Y Sump Pump Maintenance

  • Run vinegar solution though sump pump to clean it, the solution should clear the sump pump of any debris. 
  • Clean vents and air holes
  • Make sure the float arm is not being blocked

For assistance with your basement sump pump call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Eastern Iowa.  We offer years of experience with sump pump repairs, installations and maintenance. Call us today and we can evaluate your sump pump and provide you with tips, and guides on how to maintain your sump pump. 

(319) 332-5859