Common Sump Pump Problems—And How To Troubleshoot Them

Common Sump Pump Problems—And How To Troubleshoot Them

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) reports that thousands of homeowners install sump pumps in their basements to prevent flood-related damage every year.

If installed properly, a sump pump acts as the first line of defense against water-related damage. It’s a useful tool to pump water away from the foundation of your home, as long as it is maintained and inspected regularly.

Sump pumps are fairly sophisticated mechanical devices—so when they fail, they cause a lot of damage in your home. Regular upkeep should help you detect the problem early on and resolve it before it escalates.

Here, we’ve outlined four common sump pump problems—followed by tips on how to troubleshoot them.

1. Overwhelmed sump pump

A single sump pump might not be able to handle too much water at one time. This means that it’s unable to pump out water at a faster rate than the rate at which it accumulates. The reason might be that your sump pump either isn’t powerful enough or that it’s a low-quality model that burns out over time.

To overcome this problem, its best to replace your current sump pump with a more reliable and powerful model that can manage more water at a time.

2. Sump pump not linked to the drainage system

If your sump pump seems to be working fine, but there’s no water in the sump pit, then there might be an issue with drainage. Make sure that the sump pump is connected securely to the drainage system—if you don’t have a drainage system, it’s best to get one installed as soon as possible.

For best results, make sure that the drain tile is installed internally along the walls of the basement. Get an experienced professional to install it to ensure that the pitch can divert water effectively.

3. Clogged sump pump and switches

We often recommend our customers keep their sump pumps covered with lids. This prevents dirt and debris from clogging the sump pump, which reduces its effectiveness over time—even causing it to stop working in many cases.

Clean out your sump pit and the mechanical parts of your sump pump. Check the switches to make sure they aren’t jammed. Make sure that you wear proper protective equipment when doing so.

4. Sump pump power failure

A power outage can happen at any time, causing your sump pump to stop working. This makes your basement vulnerable to water damage. During floods, power failures are even more common—and this is when you need your sump pump the most.

The solution is to prepare beforehand and buy a sump pump that has backup batteries. Some sump pump models come with alarms installed, that go off when there’s a power outage. That way, you’ll know exactly when your sump pump isn’t working.


Pro Serve Plumbing is a licensed plumbing service that has been operating in the industry for over 15 years. We specialize in sump pump installation and slab leak repair in Fort Worth, Texas.

We’ve established additional safety procedures and sanitization protocols during this time to ensure the safety of our customers and employees—so you can call us with complete peace of mind.

Call us at 1-817-244-0614 for all your plumbing needs.