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Is Your Sump Pump Working Too Hard?

Sump PumpA sump pump should not be running continuously.  Usually, a sump pump will turn on and off only as needed.  If your pump is running too much it is working too hard and the motor will wear out sooner. If you notice your sump pump running continuously it is usually a sign there is a problem with the pump.

The Switch

If your sump pump is running continuously the first thing to check is the switch.  Sump pumps turn on and off with a switch that triggers as the water level rises in the pit.  Sometimes that switch gets stuck in the on position.  It may be clogged, jammed, or tangled.  Sometimes the vibrations from the pump running cause it to move out of position and lean up against the sump pit or liner hindering the switch.

Not the Right Size Pump or Liner

Sometimes the sump pump is running too much and working too hard because it is not properly sized for the liner or the pit for the job.  Sometimes there is too much water on a regular basis for the size of the pump.  Sometimes the pit it too big for the pump.  It is important to have a professional waterproofing contractor assess your needs before you install the sump pump system.

If the pump is too small it is forced to run continuously to keep up with the job.  A smaller pump put into this situation will wear down sooner and work harder than necessary.

In the other case, when the pump is sufficient but the liner is too small the pump discharges water faster than the pump liner can fill.  This makes the pump turn on and off constantly and also will shorten its life.  Ultimately you don’t want you pump to be always on or constantly running in short cycles.

Problem with the Check Valve

The check valve is on the discharge line to stop the water that is being pumped out of the house from going back down into the sump pit.  If there is a problem with the check valve or if you don’t have a check valve on your system some of the water being pumped out will go back down into the pit and the pump will try to pump it out again resulting in a worn out pump that is working too hard.

Ultimately, in a well-designed system that aligns with the demand of the application your sump pump should not be running nonstop or constantly turning on and off all day and all night.  The best sump pump systems are sized right with the proper size pump and liner, have a proper check valve and receives regular maintenance to make sure the switch is in proper working order. Don’t make your sump pump work too hard or in the end it will cost you in energy bills to run the pump cycles and a new system when this one breaks sooner than its time.

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