Your sump pump has been keeping your basement dry for months, but all of a sudden it started cycling on and off every few minutes. You've tried to turn it off, but it just keeps coming back on. What's going on?
There are a few possibilities as to why your sump pump keeps cycling.
1. The Float Switch Is Stuck
Your sump pump's float switch is what tells it when to turn on and off. If the float switch is stuck in the "on" position, then your sump pump will keep running. It is also possible for the float switch to become stuck in the "off" position, which would prevent your sump pump from turning on at all.
A stuck float switch often results from:
- A build-up of debris such as mud, sand, or stones around the float
- A problem with the switch itself
To fix a stuck float switch, you'll need to clean any debris around it and check for damage. If the switch itself is damaged, you'll need to replace it.
2. The Sump Pump Is Overworked
Your sump pump might be overworked if it's constantly running or if it turns on and off more frequently than usual. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as:
- A clogged intake screen
- A leaking pipe
- Heavy rainfall
- Melting snow
If your sump pump is overworked, you'll need to figure out what's causing the problem. If the intake screen is clogged, you can clean it yourself. If there's a leak in the system, you'll need to call a plumber. And if the weather is to blame, there's not much you can do except wait for it to pass.
3. The Pump Is Wearing Out
Like all mechanical devices, sump pumps have a limited lifespan. If your pump is old enough, it might be starting to wear out. This can cause the pump to run less efficiently and eventually fail completely.
If your sump pump is starting to fail, you'll need to replace it. This is a job best left to a professional.
4. The Discharge Pipe Is Frozen
Another reason your sump pump might be misbehaving is if the discharge pipe is frozen. This can happen if the pipe is exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time.
If your discharge pipe is frozen, you'll need to thaw it out. You can do this by pouring hot water over the frozen section of pipe or using a hairdryer. Once the pipe is thawed, you should wrap it in insulation to prevent it from freezing again.
5. There's a Power Problem
If your sump pump is plugged into an outlet, a power outage can cause the pump to cycle on and off. This is because the pump will turn on when the power comes back on, but then turn off again when the power goes out.
If there's a power problem, you'll need to wait for it to be fixed. In the meantime, you can use a backup sump pump or battery-operated sump pump to keep your basement dry.
Tips to Maintain Your Sump Pump
To prevent your sump pump from cycling on and off, or to avoid problems with your sump pump altogether, there are a few things you can do:
- Clean the intake screen regularly to prevent it from becoming clogged
- Check for leaks in the system and repair them promptly
- Wrap the discharge pipe in insulation to prevent it from freezing
- Have your sump pump serviced by a professional every few years
- Invest in a backup sump pump or battery-operated sump pump in case of a power outage
By following these tips, you can keep your sump pump running smoothly for years to come.
When to Call a Professional
There are some problems with your sump pump that you won't be able to fix yourself. If your sump pump is overworked, worn out, or frozen, you'll need to call a professional for help.
A professional will be able to assess the problem and make the necessary repairs. They can also help you choose a new sump pump if yours needs to be replaced.
Calling a professional can be expensive, but it's worth it to ensure that your sump pump is running properly. If you need help with plumbing, contact us!