How Often Should a Sump Pump Run?

November 16, 2021

Sump pumps are an important part of the waterproofing system. If you have a basement in your property, then it is more than likely that you will have a sump pump fitted as part of a waterproofing system. The simple explanation of what a sump pump does is that it helps protect your basement from flooding to help ensure that you don’t have any costly repairs as a result of flooding.

Sump pumps are most often used during periods of heavy rainfall and during the dry periods the sump pump will hardly need to run at all. This leads to the question: how often should a sump pump run for? We answer this question in our latest article as well as detailing how to get the optimum efficiency from a sump pump.

A Quick Overview of a Sump Pump

Before looking into how long a sump pump runs for, we are going to quickly discuss how a sump pump works. There are different types of sump pumps that can be used within your basement. One thing that is common with all the different types of sump pumps is that they are submersible. When they are submersible, it means that a small pit (or sump) will need to be dug up at the lowest point of the basement to house the pump.

Sump pumps should not be running constantly and if they are then it is more than likely that there is a problem. If water starts to enter your basement, then this is when the sump pump kicks into life and starts the process or removing water from the basement.

When the water level in the sump reaches a certain depth it will activate the float switch and the pump will be turned on. When the pump is turned on it will pump out the water that is in the sump which will then be safely removed away from the basement. By doing this it will prevent the ground floor from being flooded.

How Often Should a Sump Pump Run For?

The sump pump system should only be operational when it is needed. The pump should only be working when the water reaches a certain level and the float switch has activated. It is not uncommon for a sump pump to run once or twice a day but it will depend on many factors such as where your property is located e.g. is wet weather common in your area.

If the sump pump is running continuously then this will indicate that potentially there is a problem with the sump pump.

Why Does My Sump Pump Run Continuously?

Constant running of the sump pump does not always mean though that there is a problem. When there is heavy rainfall, for example, the water table in the sump pit will rise meaning that the pump will keep on running. However, the list below gives some potential reasons for there being a problem with your sump pump.

Broken Sump Pump Valve

If your sump pump is running constantly then this could be down to having a broken check valve. The check valve works by stopping water from being pumped out of the sump and back into the discharge pipe. When a check valve is overworked, it will begin to wear out and may stick in an open position.

When the sump pump check valve is left open, the water will flow back into the sump pump. When this happens the sump pump will have to work harder to try and move the water out.

This would mean that the sump pump would be working continually. If this is occurring within your sump pump system, then the check valve should be removed and checked and if necessary, replaced.

Frozen or Clogged Discharge Line

When the discharge line becomes clogged or frozen this will block the path for the water to flow through and the water will return back into the basement. This will again result in the sump pump continuously running. This can be cleared out yourself, however, it is best to call a service engineer to clean out the sump pump to make sure it is working at optimum capacity.

The Pump Can Become Clogged

If the sump pump lid is not secured properly or if there is not one in place, then it is common for the chamber to collect too much waste material, and this is when problems start to occur. If there is too much dirt in the sump for the sump pump to handle, then it can lead to it becoming clogged.

As the pump is located at the bottom of the sump chamber then the intake holes of the pump could also be blocked with debris and not allow the water to enter. Once this happens it is difficult for the pump to pump the water out.

To deal with the pump clogging issue, the sump pump should be cleaned regularly, and a cover fitted to the sump pump chamber.

Should My Sump Pump Be Running Continuously During Heavy Rainfall?

When there is heavy rainfall then you would expect your sump pump to run constantly. As the water enters through the sump pump, the water should be pumped out of the property to prevent flooding problems within the basement.

You should only be worried if the sump pump is running when there is no water present in the sump pit.

Taking Care of Your Sump Pump

The length of time your sump pump should be running does depend on varying factors as highlighted above. The main factor is how much rainfall occurs in your area. If there are problems with your sump pump, e.g. the pump is clogged or a broken sump pump valve, then this will need to be rectified as soon as possible.

Here at The Basement Sump and Pump Co, we have a number of highly qualified engineers who can carry out replacements, repairs and cleaning services for sump pumps. You can get in touch with us by calling 0800 288 8660 or contacting us online.


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how often should your sump pump run