How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?

Sump pumps are designed to remove water from your basement or crawlspace, and they typically run automatically when the sump pit water level reaches a specific point. But how often should a sump pump run?

In some cases, sump pumps will come on frequently because the water level in the sump pit is high. Other times, a sump pump will seem to run constantly because it's faulty or something wrong with the drainage around your home.

Many people are perplexed by a sump pump's operation, especially if it seems to be working too much. However, if your sump pump appears to be running too much, there are a few things you can check.

A Quick Overview of a Sump Pump

You almost certainly have a sump pump if you have a basement in your house. This simple component is critical for any basement water system. We'll go through how a sump pump works before diving into how long a sump pump should run.

Sump pumps are submersible pumps installed in a pit at the lowest end of your crawlspace or basement. When water enters the pit, usually from rain or groundwater, the float switch on the sump pump activates and turns on the pump.

The sump pump then sends the water out of your home through a discharge pipe. The water is typically discharged into a storm drain or dry well. A small pit (or sump) will have to be dug up at the lowest part of the basement to house the pump, which is common across all types.

When the sump pit water level reaches a particular height, the float switch is activated, and the pump is switched on. The pump will drain out any water that remains in the sump after it has been emptied, which will then be safely removed from the basement. This will prevent the ground floor from being inundated.

Running a sump pump continuously is not recommended. The sump pump activates when water enters your basement and begins removing it. However, if your sump pump is on, there might be a problem.

How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?

A sump pump should run only when water is in the sump pit to minimize wear and tear. However, if the water level in your sump pit is high, the sump pump may need to run more frequently.

A sump pump should run whenever the water table reaches the float switch. It's not unusual for your sump pump to turn on once or twice a day, but it depends on where you live. If your sump pump runs continuously, it might signal a problem with the sump pump.

If you notice that your sump pump is running more frequently than usual, there are a few things you can check.

Why Does My Sump Pump Run Continuously?

Ideally, a sump pump should only turn on when water enters the sump pit. However, if your sump pump is running continuously, it might indicate a problem.

There are several reasons why your sump pump might constantly be running, including:

Increase in groundwater

If there's been a significant increase in groundwater, your sump pump will have to work harder. This is especially common during the rainy season. Groundwater can come from various sources, including leaking pipes, lakes or rivers nearby, and construction. Snowmelt can also lead to an increase in groundwater. It seeps into the ground as the snow melts and raises the water table. This can cause your sump pump to run more frequently.

Faulty float switch

A faulty float switch is one of the most common reasons a sump pump runs continuously. The float switch signals to the pump when to turn on and off. If the float switch is stuck in the “on” position, the pump will run continuously, even if there's no water in the sump pit.

Clogged discharge pipe

If the discharge pipe becomes clogged, water will back up into the sump pit and cause the pump to run continuously. Therefore, the discharge pipe should be checked regularly to make sure it is clear of debris.

Clogged switch or pump

A clogged sump pump or float switch can also cause the pump to run continuously. If the pump is clogged, it won't be able to move water out of the sump pit effectively. This will cause water to back up and trigger the float switch, causing the pump to run continuously.

Improperly sized sump pump

If your sump pump is too small for your basement or crawlspace, it will have to run continuously to keep up with the water. This is why it's crucial to choose the right size sump pump for your home.

Broken check valve

A check valve is installed in the discharge pipe to prevent water from flowing back into the sump pit. If the check valve is broken, water will flow back into the pit and cause the pump to run continuously.

Conclusion

Sump pumps remove water from your basement or crawlspace to prevent flooding. Selecting the right size for your home and needs is essential when choosing a sump pump.

It's also important to regularly check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly. You should clean the pit and remove any debris that has accumulated. The discharge pipe should be checked regularly to make sure it is clear of obstructions.

Most importantly, if your sump pump seems to be running too much, there might be a problem. First, check the float switch and make sure it is working correctly. If the float switch is stuck in the “on” position, the pump will run continuously, even if there's no water in the sump pit.

When it rains, a sump pump operates every 15-20 seconds on average; depending on the level of the water table, other elements are taken into consideration. Examine the above factors and troubleshoot if you believe the machine isn't operating perfectly.

Call in a professional if you're having difficulties or the problem persists so they can properly diagnose the issue. Remember, a sump pump is there to protect your basement from flooding, which may lead to water damage and costly repairs.

Sump Pump Advisor
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