How Often Should A Sump Pump Run?

Sump pumps are vital moisture management systems designed to prevent moisture-related issues in homes. An understanding of how these pumps work as well as their maintenance is crucial to keeping them functional.

This article takes a look at the running frequency of sump pumps.

If you just installed a sump pump, you may be curious to know how often this pump should run. Sometimes, the need to know simply arises from the desire to ensure the sump pump isn’t malfunctioning.

Of course, sump pumps aren’t designed to run indefinitely. As you read on, you’ll find answers to the question asked and even more.

Basic Functioning of Sump Pumps

One of the ways to have a better understanding of sump pumps is by looking at their basic functioning principles. By their design, sump pumps are built to remove flood or unwanted water from certain spaces such as basements.

Two major components make up the pump system; the sump pit, and the pump itself.

The sump pit is designed to serve as a holding basin for seeping, leaking, or flood water. The pump is installed in such a way that it’s automatically triggered when the water rises to a certain level.

The sensor triggering the sump pump on and off is attached to the float switch.

From the name, it’s clear what the float switch does. This floats on the rising water until it reaches a predetermined level. At this level, a signal is sent to the pump to empty the water.

After the water has been pumped to an extent, the float switch again sends a signal for it to turn off.

A Sump Pump Never Runs Indefinitely Unless when there are Issues

One fact that needs stating is that a sump pump isn’t made to run indefinitely. Based on its design, the pump should stop whenever water levels drop appreciably.

So, in situations where the pump still runs without a cause or explanation, it’s clearly not working right and has to be manually switched off and examined.

Continuous or indefinite running is a sign of a problem. Under normal working conditions, the sump pump should run at intervals after water collects in the sump pit.

As long as there’s no water in the sump pit, there’s absolutely no reason why a sump pump should run.

A Sump Pump should only run as often as it’s needed

It will be unreasonable to state the number of times a sump pump should come on in a single day because water moisture conditions vary from one location to another.

Also, one homeowner’s moisture problems may be different from the next homeowner’s.

This is the reason why a sump pump should only run as often as it’s needed. So, what does this really mean? You only need to refer back to the earlier example made.

We said a sump pump is only triggered by the float switch when water levels reach a predetermined level in the sump pit.

This level is set during sump pump installation. As the sump pit receives or gathers water, the float switch is there to gauge the water level to prevent it from overflowing.

At the desired point, it signals the sump pump to turn on and evacuate the water. Everything happens automatically.

So, depending on how frequently your basement gets flooded, a sump pump might be turned on as frequently as 3 to 5 times a day. Homes located in flood-prone areas tend to have the most challenge.

For such, sump pumps tend to run more frequently. The pump may be turned on as many as 8 times a day or more.

When Sump Pumps Run More Frequently than Necessary

How do you determine when a sump pump runs too frequently than necessary?

One of the ways to know is by comparing yours to your neighbor’s. You might notice your neighbor’s sump pump running less often than yours. If so, there are possible reasons why.

Such reasons may include a spring of water situated beneath your house, the nature of grading around your home, as well as broken water pipes around the vicinity of your home.

Under such circumstances, water seepage into your basement tends to be higher hence the increased work burden on your sump pump.

  • Water Spring

Your sump pump is bound to run more often when a water spring is beneath your home.

This is worsened during the rainy season when the water table rises. This is mostly a seasonal problem that requires adequate waterproofing preparations on your part before the wet season sets in.

  • Nature of Grading

The nature of grading around your home is likely to affect how often your sump pump runs.

Negative ground-grade situations should be avoided. This is a situation where the ground slopes inward and not away from the house. So, during, and after a rain, water collects around the house.

This easily seeps through the soil and aggravates your moisture issues. With water trapped around the home, it ends up making your sump pump work more than necessary to get rid of the water.

A simple solution will be to make adjustments to the grading of your surroundings. It should slope gently away from your house to prevent water from collecting.

  • Broken Water Pipes

When there are broken or faulty plumbing systems, it could aggravate moisture presence around your home. Your sump pump will work more frequently than necessary to get rid of excess water.

When Sump Pump Runs Continuously Without Water being Present

There are times when you may notice your sump pump running indefinitely even when there’s no water.

This is a clear sign of malfunction that needs to be addressed. Under such situations, sump pumps may burn out when it goes on for a long. You’ll need to have a technician come around to fix the problem.

Many issues could cause this type of malfunction. A thorough assessment by a licensed technician will help determine the problem.

The running frequency of a sump pump is largely determined by the water condition within your surroundings.  We’ve said a sump pump should only run as often as necessary.

If you notice something out of the ordinary, consider having it checked and fixed.

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