Sump pumps pump water from below your home to outside. It’s part of an underground basin built beneath the basement to remove water when levels get high. This could happen during heavy rain or melting snow when water levels rise.

Sump pumps react automatically to these level and pressure changes. It uses an effluent line to drain water to a designated region outside your home. Thus, removing the risk of basement flooding or damage to your foundation.

If you notice your sump pump running when there’s no reason for it to be active, it could be a problem. There are many causes for a running sump pump, and not all of them require a plumber. Here, we’ll look at 5 common sump pump activation causes so you’re prepared.

1. Sump Pump is Too Small

Your sump pump is designed to handle a specific amount of water. Different sump pumps have different ratings to guarantee they can pump out the amount of water estimated beneath your home. These ratings consider variables like horsepower and basin depth.

If the pump is too small, it will run more frequently to remove water below your home. You can minimize the amount of work your sump pump takes on by installing one with an appropriate rating for your home.

A licensed plumber can help you determine whether your current sump pump is adequate and give you a quote on a new pump.

2. The Float Switch Is Broken

The float trigger tells the sump pump when to discharge liquid. A broken switch leaves the system unable to regulate itself. The most common reason for a float-related issue happens when the switch gets stuck in the “up” position. The pump will then continue running until the switch is fixed.

A stuck switch can be moved manually, but if it’s damaged, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. This is one of those times calling a professional is preferable to dealing with things yourself.

3. Rising Water Table

The water table is the area between the surface soil and the place groundwater lingers. In this area, the water and atmospheric pressure are the same. Changes in precipitation cause the water table to fluctuate. This could happen seasonally or with changes in the years.

If the water table rises, the sump pump begins running to counteract the rising water. The same way it does following heavy rain. There’s no reason to panic when it happens. But you might need to call your plumber if the sump pump can’t handle the load and you notice any leaks or flooding in the basement.

4. Sump Pump Isn’t Working

There’s a chance if your sump pump is running when it shouldn’t be, it’s time to replace it. Like any other component in your home, the sump pump has a shelf life. Standard sump pumps should be replaced every 7 to 10 years, depending on how well it’s continuing to run.

If you run your sump pump into the ground, it could be detrimental to your house. It’s better to replace sump pumps and ensure they run properly year-round.

Again, this is a fix for your plumber. They can manually test your pump to check on its accuracy and functionality. If it’s a goner, a plumber will help you obtain and install a new one.

5. Sump Pump Drain is Clogged

Finally, there’s a chance your sump pump is running because the drainage pipe is blocked. When it happens, water gets trapped and isn’t able to properly be expelled from the basin below your home.

Drain clogs are common. Through the years, more than water comes up through the basin and into your sump pump. Dirt and other debris get inside and build blockages. When the pipes are jammed, the sump pump works harder trying to drain the water it can’t expel.

There are some homeowners who clear drain blockages like this themselves. We don’t recommend it. It’s better to have someone professionally manage the blockage, rather than try to unclog it yourself and accidentally damage the pipe.

Contact PlumbPRO Services to Learn More

Interested in learning more about sump pumps and how to keep yours in tip top shape? Our team at PlumbPRO Services can help. We serve homeowners across Ambler and know what it takes to manage local sump pumps. Call today to talk to a licensed plumber or check out our plumbing services online.