Why Does My Sump Pump Keep Running?

A sump pump is designed to protect your basement from the risk of flooding by draining water that accumulates in a sump pit. If the pump runs continuously, however, this usually indicates that there’s a plumbing problem. Here are a few reasons why this might occur.

When a sump pump runs continuously or too often, regardless of the weather conditions or season, it’s a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed immediately, before the overworked pump burns out. Here are the most common causes of a sump pump on overdrive:

Stuck Float Switch

When water enters the sump pit it begins to fill, and when it reaches a certain level the float switch triggers to turn the pump up and drain the water. When the water returns to the appropriate level, the pump turns off. However, when the float switch malfunctions it will continue to run as it is incorrectly signaling that there is still water.

Sump Pump/Liner Size – Short Cycling

When a sump pump is not powerful enough to handle the water coming in it needs to run continuously to keep up. On the flip side, if the sump pit is too small. Even if the sump pump is powerful enough the small pit will fill up too fast and constantly trigger the sump pump to keep working.

Underground Water Leak

Underground water leaks can be caused by roof runoff from a damaged gutter, a leaking drain line from a sprinkler, or a burst pipe below ground. When any of these should occur it can cause water to seep into the sump pit. The sump pump will continue to push the water out, however, the underlying issue of the leak remains unresolved. If this goes unnoticed the water can damage your home’s foundation and potentially burn out the sump pump.

High Water Table

A high water table can cause your sump pump to run continuously. It will run to prevent the basement from flooding and heavy rainfall or snowmelt can provoke or worsen this problem.

Check Valve Failure

A check valve inside the discharge pipe prevents water from flowing back into the sump pit. The discharge line carries water from the sump pump pit to the end of a pipe that drains safely away from your home’s foundation. If the check valve fails, the water will flow back into the sump pit and the sump pump will continuously run.

Is My Sump Pump Running an Issue?

When your sump pump runs constantly there are many possible concerns besides just the electricity bill.  If it continues to run there is a risk it burns out and your basement floods. Whatever the reason your sump pump is running, it is best to have a professional come out and evaluate before the problem worsens. 


If your sump pump is not running properly or needs an upgrade, contact us for a free Sump Pump evaluation from ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing.