Sump pump repair and maintenance

Submersible pumps are a special kind of pump. They operate by working when the entire pump is immersed or submersed in water or whatever liquid it is that you wish to pump. The motors that run submersible or submergible pumps are sealed shut in such a way that they are airtight and do not allow free passage of air either into, or from the motor engine. They are also quite versatile in use and functionality. Some of them may be used at home and employed for domestic uses. Some bigger pumps are used industrially for oil prospecting, used in drilling rigs, or used in offshore drilling. Depending on what function they are utilized for, pumps vary in size to accommodate the full extent of the functions they are expected to perform. A small motor engine of a pump cannot be used in such heavy duty functions as prospecting for oil. A large motor engine of a pump would be severely under-utilized in a domestic setting. Pumps used for domestic purposes are always smaller in size and motor engine, as well as less complicated and limited in functionality than heavy duty pumps. They are also adapted in power to household duties as they do not consume nearly half as much power as heavy duty pumps do. They may be used in homes for getting rid of too much water in the garden, yard, room or even, especially the basement. These pumps are referred to as sump pumps because their functionality is limited to use in domestic and household settings.

Zoeller M57
Sump pump

Getting a sump pump is not nearly as difficult as maintaining one or even repairing it. As with any electrical or electronic device, it is important that a sump pump is properly maintained or it may fail when it is needed for use; which may result in consequences of serious and dire proportions. Sump pumps may sit quietly or lie fallow for several months while awaiting use. But when they are needed, they are needed immediately and they need to be made ready at a moment’s notice.

Luckily, much money or time is not required in fixing or maintaining a sump pump. A few tips will help in knowing what to check and when:

The Float

One of the most important parts of the sump pump is the float. It is also one of the most defenceless and weakest links in the sump pump. When the water level in the sump pit increases and the water level rises, the float rises with it. The rising of the float prompts the sump pump to begin extracting water from the sump pit. In order to check for the functionality of the float, pour a large quantity of water very slowly into the pit. If with the pouring of the water, the float rises as the water level rises; and if the rising of the water prompts the pump to activate; and if the pump shuts off after the water has been removed from the pit, the float is in proper working condition. This float check should be repeated at least once every couple of months. If the float does not rise with the water level, then the most likely problem is that the float switch is obstructed in some way. If you have checked and that is not the issue, then you have a faulty float switch, in which case you may have to change it. You may change it personally at home, but this poses some risk. If you do not change it correctly, the pump may not seal up properly and thereby lose its water-tight quality which may in turn pose some extra troubles for your sump pump. If you find you are not able to change the float switch yourself, please call in for professional and/or authorized help.

Sump Pit

Because the sump pit is a pit, obviously, you may have some debris or trash in it. These debris may cause real problems for your sump pump. Even when it is working perfectly, when it keeps up picking debris instead of just plain old water, the moving parts may become clogged up; in which case, your sump pump may develop some problems. You should therefore make it a force of habit to clean the pump pit regularly. Remove any loosely hanging items in the pump pit so that they do not constitute problems for your sump pump later on.

installing a sump pump

Check Valve

The Check Valve is something you should check simultaneously with the float. When you pour water into the sump pit, the water should flow out of the sump pump outside. When it doesn’t and finds its way back to the pit, instead of triggering the pump to remove it; the check valve probably needs to be replaced, if you have checked that the float is not the problem.


As earlier stated, it is important that you keep your sump pit free from debris and garbage; and by extension, keep your sump pump away from debris. After all the cleaning of the sump pit however, some piece of debris may find its way past the pump sump screen to jam your impeller. The impeller in your sump pump spins in such a way as to literally push out water through the pipe. So even if your sump pump sucks in water and the impeller does not work, the water goes nowhere. To check for this, unplug your sump pump first, then disconnect the piping and get the pump out of the pit. Take the pump apart to gain access to the screen and the impeller. If there is any debris, remove them; reassemble the pump and put it back in place. Again, if you feel you cannot disassemble the impeller, get professional help.


When your sump pump seems not to be working at all, you need to check the electrical and power connections. Ensure that the sump pump is properly plugged in. Also, examine the circuit breaker. If your sump pump is connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter, do check that out too. Ground fault circuit interrupters are prone to tripping so push the reset button if you need to.

If after checking all these, they seem fine, and your sump pump still does not work, it may be time to invest in an altogether new one of the best sump pumps.