A Guide To Trouble-Shooting Problems With Your Sump Pump


If your basement has a tendency to flood during heavy rain, you probably have a sump pump that helps prevent water damage. Just a few inches of rainwater can cause thousands of dollars of damage, so it’s important to troubleshoot any problems that your sump pump may have before the next storm hits.

Here are a few troubleshooting tips that you can follow if your sump pump isn't working properly:

  • If your pump fails to turn on, your system could be experiencing a switching problem, which is a common issue that occurs when the pump inside the sump basin shifts. Make sure the float arm and pump switch move without difficulty. If they don't, you may need to call a professional plumber.
  • If the pump vibrates, it probably has an air lock, which means air has gotten into the discharge line and is preventing water from leaving the pump. Make sure that there’s a vent hole in the side of the discharge pipe so the air can vent. If a vent hole already exists, ensure that it isn't clogged.
  • If your sump pump can’t keep up with the amount of flooding, then your basin may be too small. Using a five-gallon bucket as a sump basin likely will be inadequate. Your basin should be at least 18 inches in diameter and 22 inches deep.

Additionally, some other tips with regards to selecting and using a sump pump include:

  • Look for pumps with high quality iron or other heavy-metal housings, which dissipate heat more efficiently than plastic and thin metal. A pump's price often indicates its quality, so don’t settle for the least expensive pump you can find.
  • Consider having a backup power system for your pump, in case your electricity goes out during a storm. Your options include battery-powered sump pumps and those that operate on water pressure. Keep in mind that pumps with more horsepower will move more water.

Contact the professionals at Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating to work with a sump pump technician who can help you troubleshoot your equipment. They have been proudly serving the Mid-Ohio area since 1965.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about sump pumps and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area.

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