Why Does My Sump Pump Run Constantly?

411 plumb A sump pump constantly running can be a good thing or, a bad thing depending on whether it is pumping water. Of course even if it is pumping water, constantly running is an indicator that the pump capacity is very closely matched to the flow of the ground water, and that should be a cause for concern. A slight increase in ground water flowing into the pit may overwhelm the pump and flood your basement or, a pump failure will as well. There are a few things you should check when you find a sump pump running constantly just to be sure that you are not close to being flooded.

One of the first checks that should be made on a constantly running sump pump is if the pump is indeed pumping water and operating close to its full capacity. There are sometimes things that can happen which can affect the pumping ability of a sump pump and it should be checked for proper operation. Often sand and silt flows into a sump pit carried in by the water, which then erodes the impeller vanes as it is pumped out with the water causing the pump to become ineffective. Sometimes impellers are made out of a metal that may corrode, which results in an impeller that has no vanes left to pump the water. A discharge pipe or hose can become clogged, broken underground or, in cold areas if it doesn’t drain dry after each pump cycle can freeze. When the discharge is blocked the sump pump deadheads and runs constantly usually with the water in the pit becoming warm or, even hot. Another common cause is the discharge pipe or hose coming loose from the pump in this case you will see water circulating in the pit. One of the requirements for installing a sump pump with many pumps is a 3/16” hole to be drilled in the discharge pipe a short distance above the pump before the check valve. When a sump pump pit goes dry during a period of drought it may dry out. When the pit refills with water the hole is needed to allow the air to get out of the pump allowing the pump to prime. If the pump is air bound because of water above the check valve holding air in the pump, water cannot reach the impeller so the pump will run constantly without pumping. In any case if you can see the water discharging from the pump it is a good indicator that the pump is operating properly.

If your sump pump is constantly running and you have found that the pump is pumping correctly you next should consider the ground water level, the ground water volume, and the pumping capacity. Sometimes the best thing to do is add pumping capacity and or, back up pumps, while other times simply raising the pump a few inches can allow the ground water to reach its own level without constant pumping being needed. During the dry period of the year is a good time to play with the pump level if the pump is running constantly even then. Shut off the pump and see how high the water gets in the pit. Naturally if the water comes up and is going to overflow into the basement, you have a very high water level and the pump is needed. However, frequently the water will rise to a certain level in the pit without flooding the basement or even reaching the bottom of the concrete slab. If the water level stops rising you should consider raising the level at which the pump turns on and allow the water level to remain at that level in the pit with the pump only turning on when it gets higher. You can also stretch this check into wetter periods of the year to fine tune the point at which the pump turns on. Sometimes people find that the pump was just set too deep into the water table causing it to pump water that didn’t really need to be pumped and when the pump was raised the running became infrequent and almost never ran constantly.

If your pump is running constantly and any time the pump is shut off the pit overflows then additional capacity and backup is something that you should strongly consider. The volume of ground water is too closely matched to your pumping capacity and any increase in ground water volume or, a pump failure as virtually guaranteed to cause a flooded basement. Back up pumps and power is strongly recommended, and the capacity of the back up pumping should be high enough to meet your needs.

You may want to consider other basement water proofing options as well such as curtain drains, regrading your property to divert water away from your home and installing drains for gutters and storm water to carry the water away from your home. Passive measures are always better than relying on a pump to get rid of the water.

Damage from a flooded basement can be very costly especially when appliances such as boilers, furnaces, HVAC air handlers, and water heaters can be severely damaged and often require replacement from flooding. The costs of using the services of an expert are trivial when you consider the cost of damage from flooding.

Posted in plumbing questions, Sump Pumps & Sewage Ejectors Tagged with:
106 comments on “Why Does My Sump Pump Run Constantly?
  1. Karen says:

    I live a half mile from a lake. I have water constantly coming in the sump crock. Lots of water ! Like a hose it on. The pump is working but how do I know if this is normal water entering they the ground pipe. Bought the house last October and the pump did not run every fifteen minutes. Seems to have started in February March

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Karen,
      It’s complex to say, but rule out things like leaking water supply lines, which are underground by checking your water meter is moving or, if the well pump is running, without water being used. This time of year I’d suspect melting snow, and rain being contributing factors, and that the water level in the lake is probably quite high. This may be a seasonal norm for your home, ask neighbors if they are having the same experience as you.

      Next I would play with the height of the pump in the sump, and or, the float switch positions as I have outlined in this article to find the optimum settings for your home, to provide the longest pumping time, and fewest number of on/off cycles, while still affording adequate protection from the ground water for your home.

      Hope this helps,

  2. Paul says:

    In follow-up:

    This Thanksgiving I cleaned out the sump pit and ended up lowering the 1/3 HP Liberty pump back to the bottom of the pit (it was on 3 blocks, see previous picture). I cable clamped the Liberty float like you suggested and added a tethered piggy back type float this Spring. That worked very well. I was able to pump out about 9″ of water per cycle instead of about 4″ before. Now that I have lowered the pump it is currently activating at about the 16″ level in the pit and running till about 3 1/2″. Tonight, I timed this and it takes about 30 seconds to displace that much water. From what I can gather it is usually a good thing to not have your sump pump “short cycle” and that you want a fairly long run time (less cycling, longer life, don’t have to hear it so much, etc.)

    Is this too much of a good thing? The water table is just reaching the 16″ level about now so I am starting the sump pump season (after 4 months of silence). Personally I would rather hear it less often. I did insulate the pipes which helped somewhat with the noise.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Paul,
      It sounds like you have made some progress, I would have the pump at least on 1 thin block or piece of slate, so you don’t suck in any debris off the sump bottom into the pump. You could probably get even a little lower than 3 1/2″ on where the pump shuts off at the end of the cycle as well. Play it by ear and make sure it shuts off before drawing air. As far as the upper level where it kicks on as long as you are below where tiles come into the pit and at a level where water isn’t a problem in the basement or, crawlspace you are in good shape. Depending on how well the sump is sealed, with a fully sealed sump only draining ground water to a level where the tiles are, and a leaking sump pit draining the ground water in a cone shaped area surrounding the pit to the lowest leak in the pit you’ll have variations with how much ground water is under the basement or, crawlspace floor. The width and steepness of the cone depends on the drainage ability of the soil as well.

      The drainage cone extending towards a second sump pump adds to the mix that you’ll have to work towards synchronizing the water levels where they run so that both pumps are sharing the work load vs. one doing all the work. You are on track with what you are doing and the tethered float switch gives you the added control where you can observe the operation throughout several seasons tweaking the settings as you go until you become satisfied with them. The longer run time and longer off time is going to reward you with longer pump life.

      Nice Job So Far,

  3. paul murray says:

    I wondered about the water softener discharge going into the pit. I had read that was not good for the sump pump. From what I can gather, most water softeners can pump 6 to 8′ upward. I’ll have a different plumber than the original to take a look at it. It is always worth it to get a second opinion.

    I like the idea of the variable switch. Would the Switch-mate work with the Big dog sump pump with battery back-up because the battery back up pump would go off and run off the battery. From previous posts I realize you’re not fond of that sump pump but it’s what I got and is only a year old. I live in relatively new development and the power has not gone off once in that past year. When I’ve asked neighbors how often do you lose power they give me a blank stare.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Paul,
      The switch works as is on any pump that plugs directly into a 120-VAC power using a NEMA 5-15P configured plug.
      If the float switch is configured another way you would have to cut the plug off and wire in the 2 leads for the switch.
      As for the Big Dog Pump it’s what you have, it’s working, and it’s paid for.
      Upgrading can always be done when you need to replace it.
      My recommendation would be the Zoeller BN-53 with the Zoeller 10-0034 Switch-Mate Variable Level Float Switch sold above.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for sending the e-mail with the pictures, I’ve included it below.


      I attached a few pictures of the pipe configuration. The Liberty pump pipe is to the right and the Big dog to the left. I have a 1/2 basement and 1/2 crawlspace so you are seeing the pipes come together and exit the crawlspace (they exit maybe 60′ from the house). Unfortunately much of it cannot be seen due to insulation. I think the gushing water sound is likely due to the configuration and fact that the insulation is not between the pipe and overlying floor. I might be able to move the insulation between the two or do something else to dampen the noise. I’ll have to look at it closer.

      Sump Pump Piping

      I failed to mention that they put the Liberty pump on about 5 inches of concrete block and the Big Dog on about 6 inches of concrete block so actually the Liberty has been the only one running (about every 3 minutes or so lately) without the Big Dog running at all. The liberty seems to come on at about 10.5 – 11 inches of water. About 4 hours ago I shut off the liberty pump and the water has stopped at around 12 inches in both pits with neither going off. The water is right at the bottom of the float cage of the Big Dog so I’m guessing it would have to come up an inch or so before activating. I’ve heard of people claiming that their pumps go off every 10 or 15 minutes or so. In my experience, mine have always went off in the 2.5 to 6-7 minute range or not at all. I think I’ll end up getting one of those variable float switches for the liberty pump so it is more in line with the Big Dog one.

      Liberty Sump Pump Installation

      I emailed my contractor about the water softener issue. The liberty pump is really looking corroded (you can probably see in the picture). I live in Pennsylvania. I really wonder if it passes code or not. Anyway, I’m going to see if the discharge can be sent to my septic tank/fields. I Googled the issue and it seems like that it shouldn’t be a problem to have the discharge go to the septic. Do you know of any reason why they would have wanted it sent to the sump pit?

      Thanks again for everything, especially bringing the softener discharge to my attention.

      Thanks, Paul

      The sump pump pipes look like they were correctly installed, in one of the other pictures that I didn’t include I saw the check valve was immediately above the pit in the proper location. The pipes drain by gravity from immediately above the pit where it turns and runs across the basement/crawlspace ceiling which is proper, so there is a lot of empty pipe which will fill creating noise when the pump kicks on. I suspect most of the noise is created at the point where the line turns downward then turns out through the wall. I believe the best option is probably to insulate the pipes with a pre-slit foam pipe insulation, which you can slide over the pipes and then tape closed. The insulation will help deaden the sound.

      Looking at the picture of the pump in the pit I see a lot of room for changing the height the pump turns on at to increase the run time when the pump is needed, and allowing the ground water in the area to rise slightly higher decreasing the times the pump the pump is needed. If you are able to set the run level above the 12″ level where the water doesn’t seem to rise the pump will probably run very seldom. The variable level float switch will accomplish this quite easily, not running at all will certainly deaden the noise.

      In years past softener discharge to septic systems wasn’t recommended because of a reaction to the concrete used in the tanks, however, today’s tanks should be constructed with a different mix that is resistant to the effects of the salt brine. There are two camps on the discharge with claims on each side that the brine discharge into the leaching fields are harmful or, beneficial. I’m not knowledgeable on the subject to stake a claim either way. In Connecticut where I live discharging the softener into a septic system is prohibited yet in other states it is allowed. I do not know the laws in your location so you would have to research that and comply with whatever they allow.

      Sounds like you are on track,

  4. paul murray says:

    I have 2 questions. First: I have two sump pumps with 2 standard (24″ deep) sump pits. A Big dog with battery back-up and a liberty pump. The liberty pump makes a loud gurgling or rushing water noise every time it runs for a few seconds after it activates. Based on an internet search this is not normal. The house is about 1 year old and the contractor’s foreman installed the pumps. While I think he is quite knowledgeable, he is not a plumber. I was thinking of having a plumber come out and look at it. The noise is really annoying. Any thoughts as to what is causing this?

    The house was built in an area with a high water table. In hind sight I would have either done a crawl space or raised the basement (it’s unfinished and we will use only for storage) up about 1 foot but it is what it is. All of the utilities are at least 12 inches off of the floor. Everything grades away from the house, the house has very wide eaves and all the the gutters exit 30 to 50+ feet away from the house so I get essentially zero direct water towards the basement; it is all ground water coming up. (Before hurricane Sandy I had about 2 inches in the bottom of the pit, during the hurricane it came up only about 2 inches and eventually came up about 8 inches which took around 3-4 days.) Right now the pump activates at around 11 inches. It did not run once from early June to December 20 of last year. Since then the cycle is about 3-6 minutes (lately probably less than 3 minutes). I am wondering whether it made any sense to raise it so it activates at around 17 inches. At around 17-18 inches in the pit are pipes for water from water softener recycle and so on. I thought it would run less that way lengthening its life and I would not be really losing anything in terms of safety. What are your thoughts?

    By the way, I totally commend you for this website. A year ago I knew nothing about sump pumps.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Paul,
      I’m not sure what would be causing the gurgling or, rushing water noise. It may be a failed check valve allowing the pipe to empty so you hear the pipes refilling when the pump starts. I would start by looking to see if water comes rushing back out of the pump when the pump shuts off at the end of the pumping cycle. It may also be caused by the configuration of the pipes in which case it would be normal without much you can do about it. The check valve should also be placed just above the pump or, the pump pit. I may have some insight if you want to e-mail me some pictures showing the configuration of the pump and pipes that are installed. (I’ll send you an e-mail so you’ll have my e-mail address in case you want to send pictures)

      The mention of the water softener backwash going to the sump pump pit may not be permitted by the plumbing code, it is prohibited in many areas, which is something you may want to check on. At the least the salt brine may significantly reduce the service life of the sump pump causing corrosion of the pump components, not to mention a “Dead Zone” where the brine discharge will kill vegetation where the pipe discharges.

      I would consider attempting to change the level where the pump turns on using a switch like the Zoeller 10-0034 Switch-Mate Variable Level Float Switch sold above on this page. With a switch like that you could use a zip tie to secure the existing float switch in the run position, then use the variable float switch secured at different heights and cord lengths to adjust for a maximum run cycle, as long as you don’t go too high where pipes draining into the pit flood or, the water level becomes a problem in the basement.

      I’m glad you found 411Plumb useful,

  5. Annie says:

    We had heavy rain and power failure yesterday and the backup battery died, so our basement was flooded. After the power came back mid-day yesterday, the sump pump has been working non-stop, and we shop-vac’ed the water out.

    When I got home today, I noticed the pump was pumping louder than yesterday, and the water level in the pit much lower. I am not sure whether this means that it’s dry pumping, but when I go out and I see water coming out. At this point, I realized that out of panic and exhaustion yesterday, after the power came back on yesterday, the Dual Float Controller was not plugged in, so I guess the pump just kept pumping whatever amount of water that came in the pit.

    Now I plugged in the Dual Float Controller, the water level comes up higher than before, and kicks in the pump for 10 seconds and then I hear water trickling sound for 10 seconds (coming from the PVC pipe going up), then it’s all quiet for 10 seconds before the pump kicks in again. All this time water is still being discharged into the storm drain 10 yards from the back of the house at the end of our slight downward slope backyard.

    I suspect that our check valve may not be functioning, but at this late hour 12:15am) what are my option, except for disconnecting the Controller and let the water rise till I can see it a few inches below the pit cover and manually plug in the pump and unplug it when there’s little water in the pit? It’s going to be a sleepless night if that’s my only option. I have seen your previous post at early am hours, so I am just trying my luck here.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Annie,
      It certainly does sound like the check valve might have failed. The key thing to look at to verify the failure of the check valve would be if the water comes pouring back out of the pump when it shuts off and refills the pit to turn the pump back on quickly. If this is happening then you do indeed have a failed check valve and it requires replacement.

      If the water is not coming back through the pump when it shuts off but rather from the ground surrounding the pit then the check valve is okay and you have very high ground water, which needs to be pumped away. In which case you may want to examine the float switch setting for longer cycle times.

      I wouldn’t recommend loosing sleep over it, but I would go and take whatever measures are needed to fix what is wrong in the morning.
      I hope this got to you in time to salvage some of your sleep tonight,

      • Annie says:

        Dear Redwood,
        I really appreciate your prompt reply – in fact I really wasn’t sure you would even see this post before morning.
        Anyway, at 2am, I decided to go to sleep with an alarm set for every two hours so I can wake up and check on things – with the Controller plugged in and pump going every 30 seconds. I just got up from my 4am alarm and saw your reply. I feel much better and the rest of the alarms can be cancelled. Also the cycle time has increased to 35 seconds now. So I may have a combination of a failed check valve and a very high level of ground water. I will leave it be and call for help in the morning. I guess I was just concerned whether this overly frequent cycle would be harmful to the pump, which seems to be some sort of a life line now.
        Again thank you for being there at the time of need for people like me.

        • Redwood says:

          Hi Annie,
          I don’t always see midnight comments, it depends on whether I’m awake or, if I wake up, and if I check to see if I have any comments. This time it worked out nicely.

          While the frequent starts may overheat the pump motor and cause the thermal switch inside to shut it off while it cools, the real damage usually comes from long term operation under these conditions and is one where the pump instead of lasting 15 years is lucky if it makes it a year. Which is why I say not to loose sleep over it, but do be concerned about it. I had no doubt that the pumps going off in a power failure allowed the ground water table to rise quite high in the area of the pumps while they were off.

          I’m not sure if the battery on your backup pump has failed or, just ran until it was dead, but recently I wrote this article on 411Plumb, which may be helpful if you are going to buy a new battery for the battery backup pump, “Sump Pump Battery Backup Buyers Guide.” If the power failure length was long enough that a good battery was drained there are a couple of things you can do, immediately to get things going again you can use a set of booster cables connected to your running car to get the battery backup pump running again and charge the battery. If you have frequent lengthy power disruptions you can set up a bank of multiple batteries for additional battery capacity, there is a comment here somewhere on that subject. If you are interested in that information I can either find the comment or, repost it. Heck it might just have to hit my articles to write list!

          Another thing to consider is if you frequently get a high water table which causes a frequent cycling of the pump, you may be able to adjust the pumping cycle length better with the use of switches similar to the Zoeller 10-0034 Switch-Mate Variable Level Float Switch for sale on this page. You may also wish to consider setting up an “Alternating Duplex Sump Pump System” which you can read about in this article I wrote on 411Plumb, “Duplex Sump Pumps For A Dry Basement.”

          In addition since you are going to be buying a new check valve I’ll mention one additional article here on 411plumb, “Eliminate Check Valve Noise from your Sump or Sewage Ejector Pump.”

          Hopefully some of that information proves useful to you, this obsession with sump pumps was the result of my having a basement bedroom which frequently flooded as a child. Hmmm, I guess I have issues there.

          Stay Dry,

  6. Lindsey says:

    Hi Redwood,
    Thanks for the prompt reply. One thing to clarify from my original question. When I turn off the pump and let the water rise about three inches above the float it takes a few hours to get there. However, when I turn the pump on and let it pump down and immediately unplug it again, the water rises to three inches above the float in less than a minute, a height that took hours before. If you turn the pump back on it will cycle on and off every 30 seconds for an hour until it gradually gets longer between cycles, culminating at about 4 minutes a cycle. Could this be from water pressure? Maybe when the water is deeper in the pit and you suddenly drain it the sudden drop in pressure could cause the water to spring up faster than when there was less water in the pit? Does that make sense? It’s a very weird situation.

    Or, another answer could be the longer the pump is shut off, the more time it gives for water to rush into the soil that was just cleared. So when the pump runs and fills again, more water is readily available to immediately rush quickly into the crock?
    Thank you for all your expertise!

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Lindsey,
      I would say the last part is the best answer.

      “Or, another answer could be the longer the pump is shut off, the more time it gives for water to rush into the soil that was just cleared. So when the pump runs and fills again, more water is readily available to immediately rush quickly into the crock?”

      With much more water having had time to flow into the area immediately surrounding the pit there is more water that will quickly flow to the pump so it will run longer.


  7. Lindsey says:

    I was hoping you could help with a question. I have a sump with a zoller submersible and a liberty back up water powered pump. I noticed in January that the pump was cycling every four minutes. I moved in in August so I’m not sure if this is always the case or I just noticed it. I thought about getting an 18″ vertical float to move out the on and off switches, but my strange situation is this: when I turn off the pump during normal operation it rises quickly for about even inches then very slowly crawls up milimeters at a time. Sounds good right? So you’d think if I just got a higher float I’d be golden. But if I turn on the pump again after a few hours it doesn’t drain to the normal point and then the water comes up at the same speed. No, it rises quickly to near the level it was when you just turned it on, getting to the high point in seconds what took hours the same day. The pump will then kick on continuously for an hour or so, until gradually the time between cycles lessens to about four minutes again. Any thoughts? Could it be the sudden removal of extra water pressure that causes the water under the slab to rise up faster? I should note that this water all comes from the bottom of the pit. I have a check valve and have double checked this is a water issue not a pump one by draining the pit with a shop vac and observing.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Lindsey,
      What you are seeing is quite normal as water going through soil travels slower. The true water level in the ground equaling the water in the pit takes some time to reach, initially coming in fast, then slowing until it reaches level. The pump in use would actually be pictured somewhat similar to trying to dig a hole in loose sand where the hole you are digging is the pump and the water is the loose sand around the hole that keeps falling in as you try to dig the hole deeper and deeper. The water just comes from further away to get into the hole than sand does.

      When you have a sump pit without drain tiles coming into the pit your pump in action creates a funnel shaped area of lower ground water the size of which depends on the speed that water percolates through the soil. Once you turn the pump off and allow the water to level it will take more time to recreate that area of lowered water underground. Drain tiles allow for faster water travel and allow the pump to draw from a much larger area under the foundation.

      You are on the right track with what you are doing playing with the float level, I’d suggest getting one of the “Piggyback Float Switches” sold on this page, then playing with the length of the wire from the tether point to the float, and the height of the tether point. Just use a zip tie to secure the existing float switch in the “On” position, and use the piggyback switch to turn the pump on and off. What you are trying to do is locate an “On” point which is just short of where the ground water presents a problem in your home, and the “Off” point being as deep as the pit can be pumped down without drawing air into the pump. This will ensure the pump doesn’t run unnecessarily trying to maintain the ground water level at a point much deeper than where you are affected by it, yet when the pump does run it runs for a maximum cycle time and removes a significant amount of water before shutting off.

      I hope this helps,

  8. Gail says:

    With recent crazy weather in WI this winter and some heavy rains in January I am having some sump pump woes. I have two separate sump pumps each with their own crocks- both are immersible pumps that have back up watchdogs. Both pumps pipe together and discharge from a PVC pipe outside my house that directs the water underground around my house and out to the street. I have owned the house for 2 years- previously the house had been flooded about 5-6years ago, thus the reason for the second sump pump. Two weeks ago I discovered the pipe underground has frozen and the water discharged had no where to go- we established a temporary outlet above ground with ten feet of PVC piping away from the house. Now last night my pump is running every 5 minutes or so with a steady stream of coming into the crock. It has since gotten colder and we haven’t had any recent rain- I am wondering if I have a bad check valve and am recycling the water? Why would my pump be running so much? ( single woman learning more about sump pumps than she would like to know 🙂 )
    Thanks for any insight!

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Gail,
      With the discharge only 10′ away from the house I suspect the discharge water is quickly recirculating into the sump. I’d try to get the discharge further away and pointed downhill away from the house if at all possible.

  9. Chris says:

    I believe I have a high water table during the winter months. Currently my sump pump is running every 1-2 minutes. I unplugged the pump and the water continued to rise up. The pump is getting rid of water and it is not a bad check valve. Can I raise the pump temporarily to ensure it does not run as often. Would there be any negatives in raising the pump slightly? What can I use to raise the pump?


    Eldridge, IA

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Chris,
      I’m afraid you are missing the point of raising the pump for less frequent operation. If the water continued to rise only slightly above the level where the pump turns on, then stopped without causing problems, raising the pump would then be okay. In your situation with the water continuing to rise you need to pump it out.

      You could probably switch over to a piggyback float switch if you don’t have one already, then set the float switch to allow longer run times, and longer off times, making better use of the capacity of the sump.


  10. Davd says:

    My back up sump pump started running constantly today, Feb 9, 2013. My main pump is not running, and has very little water in it. I can’t see in the back up pump hole because it has a bolted down cover on it. Any suggestions why it would be running constantly all of a sudden.

    David M.

    • Redwood says:

      Hi David,
      Are you sure this is a back up sump pump and not a sewage pump? Is it water powered, battery powered, or, plugged in? In any case you would have to open the cover to see what is going on. It could be any number of things, a failed switch, frozen discharge, to name a few possibilities. In any case I’d open it ASAP, because if it is dry running the pump will be damaged.

  11. Brittany says:

    All this is so helpful.. it ended up being a bad switch! And we have a watchdog now incase we loose power as back up! Thank you!

  12. Brittany says:

    Yes thank you
    I unplugged it for about an hour reading somewhere that it can get too hot from running constantly. That seemed to help but I’m going to pass all of this on to my husband when he gets home in the AM. Thanks!!!

    It worked normal for about an hour turning on and off like it should….Now its running constantly again….

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Brittany,
      Yes, the pump can get overheated from running dry as it relies on being submerged for cooling, but the bigger worry on the pump from dry running is seal damage, as pump seals actually use the water as a lubricant between the sealing surfaces where a very thin layer of water passes between the ceramic surfaces providing lubrication. This small amount of water never makes it completely past the seal surface so water cannot get into the motor, once the seal is bad water can leak past the seal into the motor and short it out.

  13. Brittany says:

    It is raining and melting snow really bad in Michigan right now. I live across from a lake. The water coming into the basin is trickling in pretty good. I woke up to the pump running constantly. I unplugged it..let it sit a min…plugged it back in and it went back to normal for a while, then goes back to running constantly. We have been here five yrs in April and this is the second pump to do this. The first had to be replaced. Now this ones doing it.
    The pump wont stop running, but it is pumping when I plug it in. I’m manually plugging it in through the night so my basement doesn’t flood. Any suggestions?

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Brittany,
      It sounds like the float or, diaphragm switch that turns the pump on and off has gone bad. It isn’t shutting the pump off once the pump has pumped down the pit, and is continuing to pump the pit down until the pump sucks in air and becomes airbound. Once you unplug the pump some water comes back into the pump and then it will pump again when you plug it back in.

      If your pump has a separate switch, that is not built into the pump but instead the switch has a piggyback plug, where the pump plug plugs into the float or, diaphragm switch plug, then the float or diaphragm switch plug, plugs into the wall outlet, then you can just replace the switch with the Zoeller 10-0034 Switch-Mate Variable Level Float Switch for sale above.

      If the pump has an integral switch built into the pump, then you may be able to contact the pump manufacturer and get a replacement switch for the pump but that may be a long process. If the pump uses a float switch you may be able to somehow secure the switch in the run position, then use the piggyback float switch for sale above. However, since the switch has already failed I would consider that to be unreliable and would recommend buying the Zoeller BN53 Mighty Mate Sump Pump W/ 15 Ft. Cord & Variable Level Pump Switch for sale above which does not use a built in switch and comes with the piggyback switch. I’d also consider keeping an extra piggyback float switch on hand as they are inexpensive and could save you from a night of pulling the plug and plugging the pump back in. Of course if you have an extra switch on hand the switch will never fail again, but the piece of mind will be priceless.

      I hope this helps,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *