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Sump pump won’t stop running

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  • Sump pump won’t stop running

    My sump pump will run and start to immediately fill again and run again several minutes later. Outside, the pipe comes out of the house, turns down into the ground, runs underground where it comes out a good 20 feet or so from the house. I’ve attached a picture, maybe that will help. What is happening now is that it doesn’t look like it’s going out into the yard, the water comes gushing out of that green cover there, drains back into the pit and then it runs again. It started about a week ago or so when it was really cold. I’m in the Chicago area and it has been really cold, could it be frozen right there and the ice is blocking it? Though I haven’t had that problem for the past eight years I’ve been here. The weather has been warming up a little so I don’t know if there is ice in there or maybe something else blocking it. I have scooped water out of the pit to get it to stop but I know that’s not the solution. I don’t know much about plumbing and would be afraid to try anything but the simplest solutions, hopefully I can avoid calling a plumber.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

    chewy 55
    Without seeing your problem it is hard to say for sure. Is it possible that the water is coming back into your sump pit back through the discharge pipe itself.
    If this is the case then your check valve needs to be replaced.


    • #3
      Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

      "What is happening now is that it doesn’t look like it’s going out into the yard, the water comes gushing out of that green cover there, drains back into the pit and then it runs again."

      I think you may have answered yourself. You might want to try removing the plug in the end of the Y fitting and attach a hose (maybe from your shop vac) and see if it works better. You'll want to try to block off the side of the Y aimed down into your drain.

      What I think the problem is comes from the backing up of your yard drain. With this very cold icy weather strange things are happening all over. One way or another you need to get the discharge water from your sump pump well away from the sump. You also (if you can) want to mound up dirt and stones so that water runs away from the sump and out into your yard.

      I can only take a guess not seeing all that you have there. Good luck and I have problems with my yard drain pipes that are underground about 2 feet being full of ice. You're not alone. You might try pouring pails of hot water into the drain (green cover) and leave the pump off about 1/2 hour. See if it will go down.

      I forgot something: Where is the sump pump located? Jay has a good point that if the check valve (normally right at the discharge of the pump) isn't working that would let water run backwards through the pump when not running and into your sump.


      • #4
        Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

        Thanks for the advice. But I was thinking of another possibility. The pump is about 8-1/2 years old and has to shoot the water up a good nine feet or so to get out of the house. Could be going bad and not have enough pressure to get it all the way out? Any thoughts? Thanks again.


        • #5
          Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

          Are you up to a little testing work? If yes, here's an idea.

          When the sump is full and the pump runs if you're outside, do you see lots of water trying to flow into your green yard drain? If yes, but it overflows, then your pump is working. I really think (would need to be there in person to be sure) that you may have frozen up underground drain lines.

          Please give this a try and tell what happens.

          1. Where your green yard drain (see yellow arrow in picture) is outside, pour several pails of water into it as fast as you can, but try not to slop much. Does it all go down and out to where the other end is like by the road curb or into a storm sewer? If not it most likely is frozen up.

          I'm having problems myself with frozen up underground pipe for my yard drains.

          2. I'm sure you have seen your pump in normal operation over the summer. Now when it runs what's changed if anything? Please try to post more info. The part about "overflowing" has me wondering if something is either frozen or plugged up.

          3. Try removing the plug where the red arrow points. Make sure your pump is unplugged or the circuit breaker (if hard wired) is off or you may get one nasty bath of icy cold water.

          4. Please see blue arrow. What happened there? It looks to me like the pipe just before the special Y fitting may have frozen and busted. If it's frozen there's just no way your pump can work. Please unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker.

          5. For what this is worth, I hope you have a good wet/dry vacuum cleaner in case you need to deal with flooding issues in your basement.

          I have a feeling you might do well to rig up a temporary drain hose (1-1/4" normally) to your sump pump and figure a way to run that outside or into some other drain that does flow. This has been a wild winter all over the east coast (and more) during the past 2 weeks. I'm guessing, but my feeling is that something is plugged up. Do check for a check valve which normally be screwed into your sump pump and then connected to the discharge pipe.

          Good luck with this and please do post more info as you find things out.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by Woussko; 02-20-2007, 05:34 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

            The picture seems to have disappeared so I can’t see the arrows. I think what you’re saying about the crack is just the caulk or whatever that is looks a little funny in the picture, I just went to look at it and it looks ok to me. Also, the water doesn’t seem to be coming out the other end in the middle of the yard like usual. I’ve attached picture that shows what happens when the pump runs. Water had been coming up out of the green grate but that has stopped, now when it runs that pool of water comes up then drains back into the ground. Could this still just be a case of it being frozen and now it’s starting to thaw? It has been warmer today. Or with it pooling up away from there like that could be a leak? Thanks for the help.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

              See if you see the picture this time. It's a "thumbnail" and you need to click it so you can see it larger. Look to the lower left for a tiny picture.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Woussko; 02-20-2007, 07:54 PM.


              • #8
                Re: Sump pump won’t stop running

                Wherever the other end of the drain pipe it, there needs to be water coming out when the pump runs. Also, it would be good to fill in where the little pool is and pitch the dirt so surface water all around your house runs outward. I would almost need to be there to get a better idea of what's going on. Try to look for the picture (mine) again. It's on the lower left and is tiny until you click it. Then another window should open where you see it larger.

                Does the pump shut off and stay off, or does it start right back up within a few seconds?