How to Stop a Sump Pump that Keeps Running | Expert Guide


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Many factors can cause your sump pump to run continuously, but for some reason, a continuously operating sump pump will burn faster than an intermittent sump pump. In other words, it is very important to have a submersible pump installed. The problem is most of the time with the sump pump float switch and can be fixed by the owner. In this guide, I will discuss how to stop a sump pump that keeps running.

How to Stop a Sump Pump That Keeps Running

how to stop a sump pump that keeps running

The sump pump float switch is a mechanical float that controls the performance of the sump pump. When the float tips up, a switch in the float switches on and empties the container. When the tank is empty, the float tilts down. In this case, the internal switch is switched off, and the container begins to fill with water.

Many things can go wrong with a float switch that will cause the sump pump to run continuously. In some cases, the switch will get tangled up by the sump pump itself or stick to the edge of the tarp. In this case, the float switch may not move up and down with the water. It can cause it to lock in the on position. In other cases, the switch can break in the on position. All of these problems result in the sump pump running all the time.

Fortunately, you can fix this problem yourself. See how:
  • Open the crankcase pump.
  • Check the float switch. Make sure that the key is not tangled or stuck on the housing and that it cannot move with the water level if the float switch is locked so it cannot move with the water level, open or release the switch so it can start and stop the pump with the water level. If the float switch moves with the water pipe, it is likely broken and needs to be replaced. If so, go to the next step.
  • Buy a new float switch for the sump pump. Cartridge pump float switches are sold in hardware stores, hardware stores, and online.
  • Disconnect and remove the old sump pump group key.
  • Connect a new sump pump switch.
  • Attach the float switch to a stationary object, such as the sump pump itself, to float switch floats up and down with the water level. Use a plastic clamp or other rot-resistant anchors to do this.

These are usually issues that require professional help. If you have replaced the sump pump float switch and the sump pump is still working, contact a technician.

Why is the Sump Pump Constantly Running?

how to stop a sump pump that keeps running

The sump pump is intended to shield your storm cellar from the danger of flooding by appropriately depleting the water that accumulates in the sump. However, if the pump runs continuously, it usually indicates a problem with the water supply. Here are a few reasons why this might have occurred.

Unlock float switch

Normally, when the sump water reaches a certain level, the float switch activates the pump to start and empty the sump. When the water level is low enough, the pump will stop. However, if the float switch is faulty or the water stop that measures the water level is blocked, the pump can signal non-stop.

Underground drainage

An explosive sewer pipe or drain pipe leaking from a float sump pump or sprinkler system can cause water to drain into a sewer drain. After adding the acid, the battery will be charged 80% to 90% within 15 minutes. This causes the sump pump to run more often. While a running pump indicates that the unit is doing its job, the underlying plumbing problem must be resolved as soon as possible before water can damage your home’s foundation or overload your sump pump. Not recommended 48 hours Emergency 100 hours 50 hours 80 hours based on a 10% duty cycle.

Check valve for damage

A drain pipe carries water from a sewer well to the end of a pipe that runs safely from the foundation of your home. However, because the sump pump is underground, the first or two feet of the drain line go straight up. Not recommended 48 hours Combo 100 hours 50 hours 80 hours * Based on a 10% duty cycle. A check valve in the pipe prevents water from flowing back into the well. If this valve is defective, the pump will not empty the well and will continue to run unnecessarily.

High groundwater level

If your home is built too close to a water line or underground source, the sump pump must run continuously to prevent basement flooding. Heavy rain or melting snow can cause or exacerbate this problem. Since you can’t move your house, consider installing a second sump pump to protect your basement if the first one fails. 

Why is this problem?

A constantly running sump pump wears out quickly and is more prone to failure. Running the pump constantly when there is no water in the well also increases the risk of overheating. Any sump pump failure leaves your basement vulnerable to flooding and major water damage.

Common Causes and Solutions for Sump Pump

how to stop a sump pump that keeps running

Sump pumps are often inexpensive due to their relatively simple design. There are several possible reasons why the pump continues to run. Failure to do so may shorten the pump’s life, requiring the entire pump to be replaced.

Damaged or missing safety valve

Sump pumps are designed to stop automatically when they run out. The pump check valve is an important component that prevents water from flowing back into the reservoir when the pump is turned off. If your pump does not have a working pump check valve, one-third to two-thirds of the pumped water will return to the drain tank as soon as the motor stops, reactivating it. Common signs of a pump check valve problem include a visible missing valve or stalled and frequent engine restarts.

Rotor damaged

Perhaps the most important part of a sump pump, the impeller creates a suction that pumps water out of the sump. Sand and other debris can wear down the blades, especially in pedestal sump pumps. Some models have corroded metal blades. Because of its importance, damage to the impeller often means replacing the entire pump.

Wrong pump/ liner

One of the reasons the pump runs constantly or resets frequently is the wrong size. When the gasket is too small, the pump usually empties the reservoir faster than it can fill, causing the engine to stop and restart. On the other hand, if the pump is too small, it will run non-stop and not allow the water to pump faster than it enters the reservoir. In either case, the best solution is to replace the part with one of the correct sizes for the job.

Pump key locked

Blocking of switches can occur for various reasons, such as clogging or entanglement. Due to widespread use, Vibration is also known to cause the device to tip over, affecting the switch. In such cases, it is best to seek professional repairs.

Water levels

Sometimes natural groundwater can cause the pump to run continuously. Sump pumps are usually located under the basement to prevent flooding. In some cases, it may be placed low enough to be affected by the local water table. If groundwater is not a temporary result of recent storms, raising the pump to a higher position, which will further protect your basement, is the primary solution. Adding a replacement or temporary pump to the existing one will help if the mass is too high due to a storm, outside discharge pipes, or damaged sewers.

How to Stop a Sump Pump That Keeps Running: FAQs 

Why does the sump pump run frequently?

When the sump pump constantly runs or too often, regardless of whether or seasonal conditions, it is a sign of a problem that must be corrected immediately before the overloaded pump burns out. Blocked cartridge pump switches – especially on cheaper models, the float switch may be clogged. 

It is normal for the sump pump to off.

It is only allowed to turn off the sump pump for a short time during checking or cleaning. Low temperatures and a constantly running sump pump are no reasons to switch off the sump pump. Finally, never disconnect the pump from the mains more than is strictly necessary to solve the problem.

How long can a sump pump run continuously?

As long as you have a good quality sump pump, the right environmental settings, and maintenance, the sump pump can run continuously and can remove flood water from your home for up to 22 hours?

Is it okay if the sump pump runs every minute?

It is not normal for the sump pump to run continuously. If the sump pump is running every minute and you are not experiencing a major rise in the water level in your area, this indicates that there is something wrong with the pump. If the sump pump continues to run, it will wear out faster and cost more over time.

Is it okay if the sump pump runs every 15 minutes?

This is normal. The cartridge pump may burn out after a while.

How often should the sump pump be stopped?

When water enters the basement, the pump carries it from the basement to the drain, thus preventing the basement from being flooded. Cartridge pumps should be replaced every few years. The United States Department of Housing and Development estimates that the average life of a sump pump is ten years.

When should I stop the drain pump?

Some manufacturers recommend replacing the sump pumps every 5 years, especially if you live in an area with a lot of rain. However, other parts of the sump pump need to be replaced more often as they tend to break with excessive use. This includes a float switch and a check valve.

How often should the sump pump run after heavy rain?

In most cases, the sump pump runs continuously after heavy rainfall, usually for 2 or 3 consecutive days. During periods of heavy rain, a lot of water naturally falls to the bottom very quickly, and the water has to go somewhere.

Why does my sump pump always work?

The most common reason sump pumps keep running when there is no rain is the rising groundwater level. Groundwater can come from various sources, such as nearby rivers or lakes, broken pipes, or nearby buildings.


There is no alarm if the sump pump is faulty. We hope you know why your sump pump won’t stop working. You can also use our instructions to solve your problems.

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