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What to Do If Your Sump Pump Overflows

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Terry Kobatskyi

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First, the installation of the sump pump should be done in a proper way so that in the future it will not overflow. Aquatech Waterproofing is the best  in sump pump installation Toronto 

One of the best ways to prevent your basement from flooding is with a reliable sump pump. However, if your sump pump stops working or can’t respond quickly enough to the amount of water rushing into the pit, then you might end up with a lot of water in your basement. Having water in your basement can lead to structural damage, mold, and even fire. Therefore, it’s important to know what to do if your sump pump ever overflows.

What To Do If Your Sump Pump Overflows

Sump Pump Overflow Protection Tips

  • The water running through sump pump debris the filter of the impeller, So make sure you keep checking and clean the filter timely
  • Always check the valve it prevents the pumped out water from returning back into the sump pump
  • Cleaning the weep hole is a mandatory process to protect it from sump pump overflow drain

Power outages are one of the biggest causes of overflowing sump pumps.

Since heavy storms can often trigger power outages, it’s highly probable that your basement will flood when the pump goes out. One way to prevent this from happening is to have your sump pump on a backup battery. However, this won’t help if the sump pump breaks or has some other particular fail. By knowing how to troubleshoot your sump pump, you can help protect your basement from flooding.

What to Do When Your Sump Pump Overflows

1. Ensure Power Supply

The leading cause of sump pump overflow is power outages. Confirm that your home has electricity, and check if the sump pump fuse is intact or if a tripped circuit is causing the issue. If uncertain, consult an expert. Installing a battery backup pump ensures continuous operation during power outages.

2. Restart the Sump Pump

Try unplugging the sump pump for a few minutes and then plugging it back in; this simple step might resolve the problem temporarily. Nevertheless, consult an expert for a thorough inspection. Some cities, like Toronto, Mississauga, Burlington, and Oakville, offer sump pump rebates.

3. Restart the Motor

If the sump pump isn’t turning on, there might be a mechanical problem. Disconnect the pump from power and attempt to pull the float switch upwards. If restarting the pump and motor doesn’t work, it could signify a mechanical issue requiring professional attention.

4. Check the Overflow Valve (Check Valve)

Inspect the check valve, which prevents pumped-out water from re-entering the sump basin. Debris could block it, affecting its function. Sometimes, it’s the pipe above the valve that’s clogged. Clear any obstructions to ensure proper functioning.

5. Examine the Float Switch

Ensure the float switch moves freely and isn’t obstructed by debris. A stuck float switch won’t activate the pump. Clear any blockages to enable unrestricted movement.

6. Clear the Weeping Hole

Sump pumps have a small hole on the discharge pipe to release air and prevent equipment lockup. If this weeping hole is blocked, clear it to maintain proper airflow and pump function.

7. Inspect the Impeller & Basin

Always disconnect the sump pump from power before maintenance. Lift the pump to access the impeller. If it’s blocked by debris, remove the obstruction to restore efficient operation between the pump and discharge line.

8. Clean the Sump Pump Discharge Line

Unplug the pump and remove it from the sump basin to access the discharge line. Use a snake to clear blockages from inside. Additionally, check the discharge line outside your home; it might be clogged with leaves, debris, or even frozen. Clear any obstructions to ensure proper water drainage away from your house.

Remember, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing these tasks, consult a professional to avoid mishaps and ensure the efficient functioning of your sump pump.

 Common causes of sump pump overflows

  • Power Outages: Sump pumps rely on electricity and can overflow during power outages without backup power.
  • Mechanical Failure: Worn-out components like the float switch or motor can cause pump malfunction and overflows.
  • Clogged Pipes: Debris can block intake or discharge pipes, hindering the pump’s effectiveness.
  • Improper Sump Pit Size: An undersized pit may not hold enough water, leading to overflows.
  • High Water Table: Areas with high water tables may overwhelm the pump during heavy rainfall.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Neglecting pump maintenance can result in issues and overflows.
  • Frozen Discharge Line: In cold climates, frozen discharge lines can prevent water removal.
  • Improper Installation: Incorrect installation can lead to activation problems or inefficient pumping.
  • Heavy Rainfall or Snowmelt: Extreme weather can overwhelm the pump.
  • Blocked Drainage: Poor drainage around your home can flood the sump pit faster than the pump can handle.
  • To prevent overflows, maintain your pump, invest in backup power, and ensure proper installation and sizing. Monitoring for issues is also crucial.

How to Prevent Sump Pump Overflow

To prevent sump pump overflows, consider these three essential tips:

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule routine maintenance for your sump pump. This includes cleaning the pump and pit, checking the float switch, testing the system, and ensuring that all components are in good working condition. Regular maintenance helps identify and address issues before they lead to overflows.
  • Backup Power Source: Install a reliable backup power source for your sump pump, such as a battery backup system or a generator. Power outages can leave your pump inoperable, so having a backup ensures continuous operation during storms and outages, preventing potential overflows.
  • Proper Sizing and Installation: Ensure that your sump pump and sump pit are correctly sized for your specific needs and local conditions. Proper installation is crucial to its effectiveness. The pump should be set at the right height within the pit, and discharge lines should be clear and adequately sloped for water to flow away from your home. Proper installation and sizing prevent overflows by allowing the pump to handle water volumes effectively.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of sump pump overflows and better protect your home from water damage.


Watch Video: How to Reset your Sump Pump

By checking and cleaning your sump pump twice per year, you can help make sure it will work when you most need it.