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RockWood610 09-07-2009 08:33 AM

Sump Pump issue - New home owner
Hello everyone,

I am new to being a home owner and new to this forum, so please bare with me. I know not much at all about tools, home improvement, ect. Hence why I came here to post.

We just bought a house a year ago. From what I know of the history, it was an old barn converted into a home. The older gentleman we bought it from lived here for 46 years, and did a lot of the work/upgrades himself.

My g/f's dad owns a reality company and deals with plenty of this stuff, so he's been there to help along the way, but this week they all went away on vacation and I had to stay here for work related reasons.

Last night, I noticed a continuing hum coming from the basement, and it sounded like water was swooshing around with it. I figured it was the sump pump and didn't think much of it at first, as we live off a hill/bank.

A couple hours later, I heard it running still. Usually, its a quick on and off or a short run. But this hadn't stopped at all. So I went down and saw that the pump was running, but pretty much to tossing the water around in the sump. The pipe/hose on the side of the house where it is suppose to drain from didn't have any water coming out of it.

It was rather moist in the basement because the pump had seemed pretty warm from running, and it was causing the water to steam up.

The only thing I know about sump pumps is their overall purpose. That's about it. And I wasn't sure what to do last night, so I found the plug for the pump and unplugged it. Its not hardwired into the breaker box.

From what I could see after checking the pump itself, it appears to have a floating ball much like a toilet tank. That's really all I can tell about it. I have not tried to plug it back in this morning yet, as I am not sure what the issue is or how to fix it.

Any ideas, suggestions would be awesome.

Thanks everyone. Hope someone can help gide me in the right direction here.


majakdragon 09-07-2009 08:50 AM

The floating ball is a switch thatturns the pump on when the water in the sump reaches a certain level. These can go bad, and make the pump run contiuously, or not at all. Sounds like yours forced the pumps to run with no water in the sump and the pump "may" be burnt up. Try filling the sump with water and plug the pump in to see if it still works properly. Replace the float, or if it is attached to the pump internally, buy a sepate one. The separate type plug into the electrical outlet and the pump plug is plugged into it.

Termite 09-07-2009 08:55 AM

Sounds like something's awry. As you suspected, the float on your pump should cause the pump to run as the water level rises in the pit and raises the float. When the float drops the pump should shut off.

What strikes me as strange is that the pump was tossing the water around in the pit. That shouldn't be happening, and indicates to me that the pump might not be fully connected to its discharge pipe and is just discharging its water back to the pit. Perhaps the discharge pipe broke or has somehow become clogged, although a clog would be kind of unusual. Normally the discharge is PVC pipe and is threaded to the pump in one way or another. This is a very easy fix and doesn't require much in the way of tools or skills.

Make sure your pit is reasonably clean and silt-free. Might help to put a couple inches of gravel in the bottom if needed.

The pump shouldn't be hardwired. The cord and plug you have is the correct installation. Just be sure the plug is GFCI protected for safety's sake.

Check out the connection to the discharge and let us know what you find. Might help to use a garden hose or bucket of water to get the pump to cycle.

RockWood610 09-07-2009 09:04 AM

Hey guys thanks for the replies. In direct re;ply to the first reply, there is already water in the sump. It seems to be just kicking that water around, and the motor was getting warm and causing some steaming issues in the basement.

I'll be sure to check this out in a bit. If there is an issue with the pump itself, how long can I go as far as getting it taken care of? With today being labor day and all, I'm not finacialy prepaird to pay extra $$$ for a plub,er to come out on his day off.

It has not been raining much recently, although today looks a bit different and cloudy. I just get paranoid when it comes to water/flooding of any kinda.

majakdragon 09-07-2009 10:00 AM

Disconnect the piping and pull the pump out of the pit. I believe you will find something tangled in the impellor of the pump. My original thought was that there was only a small amount of water in the sump and that the impellor was 'slinging" it around. Thats what I get for "thinking". LOL

plumber Jim 09-07-2009 11:47 AM

the pump can be bad too. maybe the impeller is broken. is this a submersible or pedestal pump? i am guessing submersible. If the basement isn't flooding you could get by till tomorrow and get a plumber to look at it if your not comfortable with messing with it.

RockWood610 09-07-2009 12:03 PM

First of all, thanks guys for donating some time for the advice.

I have descovered that the PVC pipe that is connected to the pump itself isn't tightened down onto the pump. I don't know if it came loose some how of if its stripped or what.

I went down this morning, plugged it in to soo what it would do. Of course, it was kicking the water around again. So I walked over and noticed the floater was up making it run. I pushed it down to kick it off, and notice the amount of water in the sump wasn't much at all. When I switched it back on, the pump sprayed water all over. This is when I noticed the PVC pipe wasn't tighten to the pump.

I didn't want to mess with it to much, but I pushed down on the pipe a bit so it was some what tightened to the pump, and it sucked the water right out. I went outside to the side of the house where the hose is, and noticed the hose on the inside was wet from where it appeared to pump the water out.

I got help coming over later today to see if the pipe just came loose, or if it needs a new fitting on it. Either way, it seems to still be wroking, lucky for me I caught it in a decent amount of time before it burned out.

CyFree 09-08-2009 09:26 AM

If after you have the discharge line reconnected,the sump seems to still be churning around, the check valve might be to blame.

It is located a but above the pump in the discharge line, and it is supposed to keep the pumped water from flowing back into the pit. When it is broken, the water keeps coming back, and makes the pump run constantly.

RockWood610 09-08-2009 12:21 PM

Thanks. I am not sure if it is just one problem, or a couple. Right now, I can't seem to get the PVC pipe attatched to the pump correctly. I think there is an issue with that. Either the seal is broken or just needs to be re-tighten down, but I have failed to get it to tighten.

We have had a bit of rain as of yesterday and today, and the sump was almost 100% full when I check this morning. When I plugged the pump in, it didn't even kick on. I had to manual flip the switch while pushing down on the PVC pipe to get it to pump it out, and after wards some of it came back into the sump. Not a whole lot, but some.

I am going to try to survive the week buy draining it manualy until I can get someone over to look at it who knows more. If they can't seem to help, then we'll call someone.

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