Why Is My Sump Pump Not Working?

Monday, August 26, 2019


Sump pump next to basement wall
All homes with basements are vulnerable when it comes to heavy rains. Foundation cracks, old windows, stormwater backup, and leaky pipes all bring moisture to a basement. Sadly, even a little bit of water can do thousands of dollars of damage. Whether it’s to protect the investment of a finished basement, cherished belongings, or both, learn more about sump pumps and maintenance. Avoid the stressful discovery of your sump pump not working.


How A Sump Pump Works

A sump pump keeps your basement dry by pumping excess water away from your home. Installed in the lowest part of your basement, a sump pump is housed within a sump pit. A sump pit is a small container underneath the basement surface where unwanted water collects. As the pit fills with water, the pump turns on. Most turn on as a response to a pressure sensor or float activator arm.

The float activator is similar to the one in your toilet tank. When the water level rises to a certain mark, the pump kicks on. It starts pumping water through pipes to a place where it can drain away from the building. Typically, the pipe has a one-way valve called a check valve at the pump. This prevents water from flowing backward toward the pit.

Sump pumps keep unwanted water out before you even know it’s there and pushes it far away to prevent water damage. It’s a good idea to have a backup sump pump as well. If you have a finished basement or use it for storage, it’s worth the investment. The expense of time, money, and stress after water damage for restoration is much more than the cost of a couple of sump pumps.

The vast majority of Kansas City homes have basements, and many of these homes are older. Stormwater backups, leaky pipes, appliance failures, cracks in the foundation, gutter problems, and old windows can all bring moisture to a basement. It doesn’t take much water to create thousands of dollars worth of damage. The job of a sump pump is to solve this problem. 


I'd Like an Inspection of My Sump Pump or a Free Estimate on a New One.

How to check a sump pump

It is important to test your sump pump on a regular basis to ensure it works properly when you need it. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes to test and doesn’t require professional skills.

  1. Locate the exit pipe. This is the pipe that drains water from the sump pump to an exterior location. Inspect the pipe and clear any dirt and debris. If it is clogged, remove everything that could cause the blockage.
  2. Trace the two electrical cords to the back of the pump and unplug them. Wait 30 seconds before plugging them back in.
  3. To test how well the sump pump is working, slowly pour three gallons of water into the pump pit until the float piece rises. The pump should automatically turn on and start pumping the water out of the pit. If it doesn’t do this, call A.B. May and a professional licensed plumber will help. 



  • Dirt and Debris The water in the sump put filters through the soil surrounding your home's foundation. When it arrives in the pit, it still has dirt and debris in it. Over time, this causes clogs and blockages within the pipes.
  • Improper Installation A trained professional must install the sump pump to ensure it works properly. A mistake in the installation process often leads to a sump pump not working and to serious water damage. Call us today to schedule a diagnostic appointment with an A.B. May plumber.
  • Lack of Maintenance Proper maintenance is vital for the longevity and capability of your sump pump. Regular maintenance is crucial. Most sump pumps last around 10 years. If you're unsure of your pump's age or capacity, get it checked out.


Trust A.B. May to Repair a Sump Pump Not Working in Kansas City

A sump pump is a great tool to remove excess water before it can damage your home. There are simple ways to test it. When the heavy rains come you want to relax. You don’t need to worry about your sump pump not working. Call Kansas City plumbing experts A.B. May for sump pump maintenance, repairs, and installation.

If you find your sump pump not working - call A.B. May for repairs. A sump pump not working is an emergency service - so please call us right away. Waiting until morning often makes the damage so much worse. Whether you have an A.B. May Home Warranty or not, we’re available to solve your plumbing problems.