What should you do if your sump pump fails?

A sump pump is a crucial component of any home’s waterproofing system, designed to prevent water accumulation in the basement or crawl space. It’s a silent guardian that works tirelessly to keep your home safe from flooding and water damage. However, like any mechanical device, sump pumps can fail unexpectedly, leaving your home vulnerable to water-related disasters. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind sump pump failure and provide you with a comprehensive guide on what to do if your sump pump fails.

Understanding Sump Pump Failure

Sump pump failure can occur due to a variety of reasons, ranging from mechanical issues to power outages. Some common causes of sump pump failure include:

Power Interruptions: Sump pumps rely on electricity to function. If a power outage occurs during heavy rainfall or flooding, the pump won’t be able to operate, leading to potential flooding.

Mechanical Malfunctions: Over time, sump pumps can experience mechanical issues such as a jammed float switch, clogged discharge lines, or a malfunctioning motor. Regular maintenance can help prevent these problems.

Lack of Maintenance: Neglecting routine maintenance, such as cleaning the pump and pit, can lead to clogs and decreased performance. Regular maintenance with them can prolong the life of your sump pump.

Pump Size and Capacity: If the sump pump is not properly sized for the amount of water it needs to handle, it may struggle to keep up with heavy rainfall, leading to failure.

Age of the Pump: Like any mechanical device, sump pumps have a limited lifespan. An older pump is more likely to fail and should be replaced before it reaches its end.

What to Do When Your Sump Pump Fails

Discovering a failed sump pump can be a stressful situation, but it’s important to act promptly to minimize potential damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do:

1. Assess the Situation

Upon discovering that your sump pump has failed, assess the extent of the problem. Check if there’s standing water in the basement or crawl space and determine whether the water is rising.

2. Safety First

Before attempting any actions, prioritize your safety. If the water level is high or there’s a risk of electrical shock, avoid entering the affected area.

3. Check for Power Issues

If the pump appears non-functional, check if there’s a power outage. If that’s the case, address the power issue by ensuring the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and that the pump is properly connected to a power source.

4. Backup Systems

If you have a backup sump pump system or a battery-powered backup, these should kick in when the primary pump fails. These systems provide temporary relief until the primary pump is repaired or replaced.

5. Remove Water

If the water level is rising, you’ll need to remove it manually. Use a wet/dry vacuum, buckets, or a pump to remove the water and prevent further damage.

6. Inspect the Pump

If the power is restored and the pump still isn’t working, inspect the pump for any visible issues. Check for clogs, debris, or obstructions in the pump or the discharge lines. Clearing these blockages might resolve the problem.

7. Consider Professional Help

If you’re unable to identify the cause of the pump failure or if the pump is damaged, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. A qualified plumber or technician can diagnose the issue accurately, and if you live in the Indiana area, we recommend this Indianapolis sump pump repair company.

8. Preventive Measures

Once the immediate issue is resolved, take steps to prevent future sump pump failures:

Regular Maintenance: Create a maintenance refer this excellent site to schedule to clean the sump pump, pit, and discharge lines. Inspect the pump for signs of wear and tear.

Battery Backup: Invest in a battery-powered backup sump pump system to ensure continued functionality during power outages.

Pump Sizing: When replacing a sump pump, ensure that the new pump is properly sized for your needs.

Waterproofing: Consider additional waterproofing measures for your basement or crawl space, such as sealing cracks and improving drainage.


A failed sump pump can lead to significant water damage and costly repairs. By understanding the common causes of sump pump failure and knowing how to respond when it occurs, you can minimize the potential consequences. Regular maintenance, having backup systems in place, and seeking professional assistance when needed are key strategies to keep your home protected from flooding and water-related disasters. Remember, acting swiftly and effectively can make all the difference in preserving the integrity and safety of your living space.

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