Why Is My Sump Pump Constantly Running?

A sump pump is designed to protect your basement from the risk of flooding by draining water that accumulates in a sump pit. If the pump runs continuously, however, this usually indicates that there’s a plumbing problem. Here are a few reasons why a sump pump might keep running.


  • Jammed float switch

    Normally when water in the sump pit reaches a certain level, the float switch triggers the pump to turn on and drain the pit. Once the water level is low enough, the pump turns off. However, if the float switch malfunctions or the lightweight float stop that measures the water level gets stuck, the pump may continue running as it’s signaled to operate.

  • Underground leak

    A burst sewer pipe or leaky drain line from the pool or sprinkler system can cause water to seep into the sump pit. This forces the sump pump to operate more frequently. Although a running pump indicates that the device is doing its job, the underlying plumbing issue should be promptly addressed before water damages your home’s foundation or overwhelms the sump pump.

  • Check valve failure

    The discharge line carries water from the sump pit to the end of a pipe that drains safely away from your home’s foundation. However, since a basement sump pump is below ground, the first metre or two of the discharge line runs straight up. A check valve inside the pipe prevents water from flowing back down into the pit. If this valve malfunctions, the pump won’t be able to successfully drain the pit and will futilely keep running.

  • High water table

    If your house is built too close to the water table line or an underground spring, the sump pump must run constantly to prevent the basement from flooding. Heavy rainfall or snowmelt can provoke or worsen this problem. Since you can’t change the location of your house, consider installing a second sump pump to protect your basement in case the first one fails.


Why is a continuously running sump pump a problem?

A sump pump that runs constantly will wear out quickly and be more susceptible to malfunctions. If the pump continuously operates when there’s no water in the pit, it’s also more likely to overheat. Any type of sump pump failure leaves your basement vulnerable to flooding and extensive water damage.


Plumbing services in the GTA

At Black Forest Plumbing, we offer a wide range of plumbing services, from drain cleaning to sump pump repairs. You can also rely on our emergency plumbing services in the event of a basement flood. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today. We’re proud to serve our Ontario clients in Aurora, Newmarket and the Greater Toronto Area.


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