A Thorough Guide to Sump Pump Repair and Maintenance

July 31, 2023

Sump pumps are used to protect your home from heavy rains and rising waters that if not taken care of can result in serious infrastructural repairs. These pumps do not work the whole year but actively work in the rainy season. Ensuring they are working at their 100% efficiency is extremely necessary and knowing how to repair your sump pump is really important. 

Not every model of it requires monthly maintenance, some of them are high quality and require once a year and some of them might require a monthly inspection and maintenance. The high-quality pumps require less maintenance than an outdated and old pump to keep its working efficiency up to the mark. In general, it is recommended by the manufacturers that these must be serviced once a year for their smooth operation.  

Fortunately, this repair does not require an extensive time frame or finance to process. Instead, it requires a minimum effort to repair it on your own. Following are some methods to check and fix things: 

Check the Float

The float is an important part of a sump pump and it is enclosed in a waterproof case within the pump. It detects water in the pump itself and rises its level with the increased water level. It turns on and off the pump relative to the increased water level in the tank. The float rises with the water level in the pump and prompts it to start pulling water out of the pit. Checking float is not that tough, it can be done with one easy and repetitive technique. First of all, you need to put some water into the pit. If the float rises with the water level and the pump performs it and then shuts off when the water has been removed. It means float is alright and performing alright. Repeat this test after every few months. 

Clean the Sump Pit

A sump pit is a pit constructed to store water temporarily and for pumping water into a suitable discharge area. It is recommended by the manufacturers that it must also be cleaned regularly for the effective and smooth operation of the pump. You can use wet or dry vacuuming to remove standing water from it. Open the pit and remove any debris or any kind of dirt present in it. 

Clean the Impeller

An impeller is inside the sump pump and is a rotor kind of part used to increase both the pressure and flow of a fluid. Debris and dirt inside the pump have to be removed for the smooth operation of the impeller. It is a must to do part of the repair procedure. The debris in the pump gets through the screen and jams the impeller. As a result, the impeller stops working. To find out if the impeller is chocked by debris or dirt you first need to unplug the pump, then disconnect it from the piping, and using mechanical hand tools remove the pump from the pit. After that you have to disassemble the pump to access the screen and the impeller. Clean the debris thoroughly reassemble the pump, and then reinstall it. 

Test the Check Valve

Another important factor in sump pump repair is testing the check valve. The check valve is a one-way valve that is placed within the discharge line. The purpose of this check valve is to ensure water does not flow back into the pump and flows in one direction. Therefore it is also known as a one way valve. Testing the check valve includes simple steps; pour some water into the sump pit and closely observe it if water remains in it and is not repelled by the check valve in a direction you have to change the check valve. 

Check the Electricity

Check the electric connections of the pump if it is not operating. Ensure that the pump is plugged in properly and the circuit breaker is working properly. Also, have a look at the GFCI if the pump is connected to one. Checking these circuit breakers is essential because these can trip easily. In case the circuit breakers are tripped, reset the button on the GFCI and see if it is working or not. If the electrical connections seem alright and the pump is still not working, you have to hire an electrician who will repair it, if still it does not work or works with lower efficiency, there are fine chances that you have to change the pump with a new one! 


1) Can a sump pump be fixed?

A sump pump can definitely be fixed using some of the easiest troubleshooting methods. Using the methods mentioned above the issues can be fixed, if there are electrical issues that are not fixed even by hiring a trained electrician you might have to replace the pump.

2) How can I tell if my sump pump is clogged?

The easiest way to find out if your pump is clogged is to check whether it is performing all right and is removing excess water from your home. Checking this is very simple, in the rainy season if there is no water in your basement it means it is removed and conversely if there is water standing there it shows that it is partially or fully clogged.

3) What is the common reason for sump pump failure?

A sump pump can fail from multiple causes like being clogged, due to electrical failure, lack of maintenance and repair, or old age or installation errors. Mechanical failure is most common when the switch becomes stuck between the ON or OFF position. The pump becomes continuously running or not working at all. 

4) How do you service a sump pump?

Servicing a sump pump is not that difficult. It requires the following simple steps:

  • Unplug the pump and electrically isolate it, and remove it from the basin for examination. Examine if there is any rust or corrosion. Clean the pump’s inlet screen. 
  • Check the manufacturer’s manual for lubrication needs. If it requires lubrication lubricate it with the recommended oil or grease. The sump pumps having sealed bearing does not require lubrication.
  • Clean the debris and dirt from the impeller and the pit.
  • Reinstall the pump back and plug it into the power outlet. 
  • Pour 5-6 gallons of water into the basin and check whether the float switch is rising with the rising water level. Confirm that it moves perfectly and turns the pump on and off properly on time.
  • Thoroughly inspect the condition of the pump discharge pipe. Ensure it is not clogged by any dirt or debris. Also, make sure that it drains fully and that there is no residual water in them that may freeze in winter resulting in pipe rupture.

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