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Sump Pump Constantly Running: Causes and Solutions

Do you find your sump pump constantly running for no apparent reason? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common problem that can stem from quite a few different factors.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of a faulty sump pump and some solutions that may help.

Float Switch Issues

All sump pumps come with a float switch, a component that tells the system when to turn on and off. When it changes position, gets stuck, or sustains damage, it can cause your pump to run continuously.
A quick way to test if it works properly is to lift it with your finger. If the pump turns off, then the switch functions as it should. All it needs is a little bit of readjustment. However, if the problem persists, it might be necessary to replace the float switch entirely.

Faulty Sump Pump Check Valve

A sump pump constantly running might stem from a broken check valve. This component is in charge of keeping the water from flowing back into the pit once the pump has finished its job. If it’s not working as it should, water will constantly flow back and trigger the pump to turn on again.s stuck, or sustains damage, it can cause your pump to run continuously.
If you have experience working with sump pumps, you can use a screwdriver to remove the pipe over the check valve. Then, you can inspect the check valve and clean it of any blockages. However, when it’s severely damaged, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.
sump pump replacement

Discharge Pipe Issues

If everything inside the pit seems to be in top shape, the problem might lie in the discharge pipe. This component takes water away from the system and releases it outside. If it becomes blocked or damaged, water will have nowhere to go but back into the pit, causing the pump to turn on again.
You can check for blockages by disconnecting the pipe from the pump and flushing it with water. When the blockage is too harsh, a drain snake might do the trick. Don’t try to use store-bought drain cleaner on the pipework, as this can damage them.
If you see any cracks or other signs of damage during your inspection, give us a call. A leaking pipe will not only cause your sump pump to run constantly but can also lead to costly water damage to your property over time.

Undersized Sump Pump

Is your sump pump system still new, but you’re still having trouble with it constantly running? The problem might not be with the unit itself but with its size. When a sump pump is too small, it will run much more frequently to keep up with the water.
There are three ways you can check if this is the issue:
  • Inspect your pump. Try to assess your sump pump’s performance. If you notice that it runs for shorter periods, but more frequently, you may need a bigger unit.
  • Measure the pit. Another way to check is to measure the pit and calculate how much water it can hold. You can then compare this number to your sump pump’s gallons per hour (GPH) rating. If the GPH is lower, you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger unit.
  • Call a professional. Our sump pump experts are more than happy to help you out. We’ll inspect your pump and make recommendations based on our findings.

Improperly Sized Sump Pit

In rare cases, the problem might not stem from your sump pump being too small but the sump pit being too big and deep. A pit that’s too large will allow water to build up in it before the pump has a chance to turn on.
The only way to fix this problem is to have the pit dug out and made shallower. This will require the help of a professional as you might inadvertently damage your property’s foundation.

Clogged inlet screen

Another common cause for a sump pump constantly running is a clogged inlet screen. When your system activates, it pulls water into the sump pump via a motor. Most units come with an inlet screen that catches debris that might damage the internal components.
Unfortunately, this screen can get clogged over time, causing your sump pump to work longer and harder than necessary. The good news is that this issue is easy to fix. Simply remove the screen and clean it with a brush or hose. Remember to turn off the system first before doing any work on it.
sump pump open

Plumbing Issues

A sump pump constantly running can be a side effect of a different plumbing problem. For example, if there’s a pipework leak beneath your basement floor, the added water in the sump pump can cause your system to activate more frequently. Another potential cause is a faulty sprinkler system that’s overwatering your lawn and flooding the pit.
Our team can assess your property’s plumbing and make the necessary repairs. We always aim to solve the problem at its source so that you can avoid more expensive issues in the future.

Unfortunate Location

The most challenging problem to solve is an unfortunate location. If your property lies just above the water level or water table, there’s not much you can do to stop your sump pump from running all the time. In this case, the best solution is to have us install a backup system to take over when the primary one fails.
A battery-operated pump is an excellent option as it can still function even during a power outage. This will give you some much-needed peace of mind, knowing that the lowest part of your property stays protected even when the worst happens. We’ll also recommend other solutions to avoid having your sump pump constantly running.

Avoid Flood Damage and Get Professional Assistance Today

Whether you have a sump pump constantly running or a pump turning on and off frequently throughout the day, MT Drains and Plumbing can help. Call us at (905) 761-5551 if you need quality plumbing services in Vaughan, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Markham, Newmarket, Etobicoke, ON, and the surrounding area.


Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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