How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?
If you have a basement in your home, you probably have a sump pump. This simple part is fundamental to any basement water system. It protects it from flooding, which then saves you from paying for costly repairs in your home.
Despite the importance of the sump pump, most people are mystified as to how it works. Most notably, people are clueless about how often it should be running. If you need to know how often a sump pump should run, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at how sump pumps should be running for maximum efficiency. Let’s take a look.
Sump Pump Overview
Before looking at how long a sump pump should run, let’s talk about what a sump pump is and how it works. Simply put, a sump pump is a small device that you will plug into the lowest point of your house. This will likely be in your basement or crawl space.
There are a variety of sump pumps to choose from. All are submersible, meaning that you will dig a small pit at the lowest point of your home and put the sump pump within it. Some may have above-ground parts, but there will always be an element submersed into a pit.
How It Works
How a sump pump works is straightforward. On a regular day, your sump pump should be on standby. This means that your sump pump should not be running nonstop. Only whenever your home begins to flood will the sump pump activate.
Sump pumps will come with a type of float switch. This float switch can be activated by water, and it turns on the pump. This part will be submerged within the pit. As your house becomes over-saturated, water will build up in the pit. This activates the float switch and turns on the pump.
Whenever the pump is turned on, water will be drained from the pit and taken safely away from your home to a drain, dry well, detention pond, or another area. This prevents the groundwater from flooding your entire floor.
How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?
Now to the actual question of this article: How often should a sump pump run? To answer the question simply, a sump pump should only run whenever it is needed. In other words, it should only run whenever a certain water level is met. Though this isn’t a very direct answer, it is the most accurate one.
If you live in an area that rains a lot, your sump pump should kick on pretty often. Some homes require a sump pump to turn on a few times a day. In contrast, areas that see less rainfall will likely use a sump pump less.
Why Is My Sump Pump Constantly Running?
If you notice that your sump pump is running constantly or excessively, there are a number of possible reasons why. Elemental factors, such as the ground grade around your home, could be one contributing factor, but it could also be a sign that part of your sump pump is broken. Here are the most common reasons why your sump pump is constantly running:
Elemental factors often cause a sump pump to run frequently, but it will rarely run constantly. Still, you might notice your sump pump running even when it is not raining.
A Broken Sump Pump Part
If your sump pump is constantly running, even when there is no water within the pump, there is something likely wrong with the sump pump. Given that sump pumps are exposed to so much water, this appliance breaks frequently.
Whenever you notice that your sump pump is acting up, it is important to treat the issue right away. If not, you could be jeopardizing your basement and home. Here is a list of commonly broken parts that lead to the sump pump running constantly. You will need to fix the pump part yourself, hire a plumber, or buy a new sump pump entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should my sump pump constantly run during heavy rainfall?
Sump pumps should run whenever excess water builds up in the pit. This is most likely to happen during heavy rain. As a result, it is completely normal for your sump pump to run constantly during heavy rainfall. This ensures that the water is being effectively pumped out of your home.
You should be worried that the only time you should be worried is if the sump pump is running whenever there is no water in the pit. During heavy rainfall, water will often seep into the home, causing it to build up in the pit. This can cause your sump pump to run constantly, even for a couple of days, until the water is gone.
Should sump pumps run in the winter?
It is normal for sump pumps to run during the winter. Depending on your location, the winter may be when the local water table is at its highest point. This causes the ground to be saturated and requires the need for a sump pump. Other locations have seasonal underground springs that only run in the winter. This is another instance of a common reason for the sump pump to run in the winter.
However, the winter can also cause the discharge line to freeze, making it impossible for the water to exit the home. This causes the sump pump to run constantly, and it should be fixed. Follow the steps above for fixing this issue.
Why is my sump pump not turning on?
Sump pumps see a lot of wear and tear, meaning that they break easily. If your sump pump is not turning on, there is likely an issue with the sump pump itself.
You may be able to diagnose and repair the breakage yourself. If you are not comfortable inspecting the sump pump on your own, contact a local plumber instead.
How do you take care of a sump pump?
Since sump pumps see a lot of water, taking the time to maintain them can expand their lives dramatically. Here are some tips for maintaining your sump pump based on frequency:
Sump pumps are an important part of keeping your basement dry and mildew free. Your sump pump’s exact runtime will depend on where you live and the factors around your home. It should only run when there is excess water in the pit. If you notice that your sump pump is running too much or too little, you should fix the problem right away. This will save you a lot of money down the line.
Luckily, fixing a sump pump is relatively easy and inexpensive. If you don’t feel comfortable fixing the sump pump yourself, contact a professional plumber instead. Since the sump pump can save you so much time and money, it is always a great idea to contact a professional for its maintenance and repairs!
Featured image credit: J Gillispie, Shutterstock
- 1 Sump Pump Overview
- 2 How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?
- 3 Why Is My Sump Pump Constantly Running?
- 4 A Broken Sump Pump Part
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Final Thoughts