Sump Pump Keeps Running

How To Stop A Sump Pump That Keeps Running

There are a variety of factors that could cause your sump pump to run continuously, but regardless of the reason, a sump pump that runs without stop will burn out more quickly than a sump pump that runs intermittently. In other words, fixing a continuously sump pump is critical. In the majority of cases, the problem originates with the sump pump float switch, and can be fixed by the homeowner.

Sump Pump Float Switch Issues

The sump pump float switch is a mechanical float that controls the power to the sump pump. When the float is tilted upward, the switch inside the float turns on, thus draining the tank. When the tank empties, the float tilts downward. When this happens, the switch inside turns off, and the tank begins to fill with water again.

There are many things that can go wrong with the float switch that could cause the sump pump to run without stop. In some cases, the switch will become tangled with or pinned to the edge of the liner by the sump pump itself. When this occurs, the floating switch may not be able to rise and fall with the water, which can cause it to become stuck in the “on” position. In other cases, the switch may break while in the “on” position. All of these problems will cause the sump pump to run continuously.

Fixing the Float Switch

Fortunately, you can fix this problem yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Open up the sump pump.
  2. Examine the floating switch. Check that the switch is not tangled or pinned against the liner, and that it is able to move with the water level. If the floating switch is hindered in such a way that it cannot move with the water level, untangle or free up the switch so that it will be able to turn the pump on and off with the water level. If the floating switch can move with the water line, then it is probably broken and in need of replacement. In this case, proceed to the next step.
  3. Purchase a new sump pump float switch. Sump pump float switches are sold at home improvement centers, hardware stores and online.
  4. Unplug the old sump pump float switch and remove it.
  5. Plug in the new sump pump float switch.
  6. Tether the sump pump float switch to a stationary object, like the sump pump itself, to ensure that the float switch will float upward and downward with the water levels. Use a plastic tie or another durable rot-resistant tether to do this.

To see for yourself how this is done, check out this helpful YouTube video:

You can also check out this helpful and entertaining tutorial with video.

Other Reasons Your Sump Pump Won’t Turn Off

There are other problems that can cause your sump pump to run continuously. The sump pump check valve could be defective. Your sump pump could be too small, or the pit could be too large. There could also be a sewer leak under your house, or your sump pump could be poorly located in  a location just below the water table.

In general, these are problems that require help from a professional. If you’ve replaced your sump pump float switch and your sump pump is still running, contact a professional. For more answers to your sump pump problems, residents of the Pittsburgh area can contact Terry’s Plumbing.

3 thoughts on “How To Stop A Sump Pump That Keeps Running”

  1. Orville Fender says:

    My neighbors sump pump won’t stop running.. I go outside to check the drainage pipe and I notice it is underneath the ground… From what I know I understand that the pipe should be debris free with no blockage so is my assumption right that the water is backing up into the pump and keeping it running?

  2. Donna Stafford Moses says:

    I just had my check vale replaced. Would this make my sub pump still run all the time. ??

  3. Doug says:

    Check that the float is able to go all the way down and not catch on the sump pump base.
    If not, bend it slightly out so it won’t catch on the base.

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