Skip to content

Sump Pump Guide The Ultimate Guide to Sump Pumps

How To Test A Sump Pump?

An important part of homeownership is knowing how to test a sump pump.

They are an essential component of the drainage system that can help prevent your basement from flooding.

However, if your sump pump isn’t functioning correctly, you could end up with a messy and expensive situation on your hands.

Here are some quick and easy ways for you to test a sump pump for proper functionality.

Open The Drain Pipe

If your sump pump has a drain pipe located at the bottom of the unit, it’s important to open this drain before testing any other components or valves.

This will allow water to flow freely away from the unit so that you don’t have a backup in your basement.

Check for Clogs

When you notice that you have standing water around the base of the unit, it could mean that something is blocking the pipes.

In order to fix this yourself, you’ll need to use a small stick with a screwdriver attached to the end. Insert the stick into the pipe and pull it along until you feel resistance.

Once you reach the obstruction, simply remove the object and continue pulling the stick through the pipe. Repeat this process until you find what’s causing the blockage.

Check For Electrical Current

After ensuring that there’s no water coming out from the unit, now check for electrical current.
You may need to take one of the wires connected to the unit out of its socket.

Once you do this, plug the wire back into the outlet. Then, flip the switch on the wall socket to ensure that the unit is receiving power.

Test The Valves

Now that you have verified that everything else is working properly, you’ll want to test each valve. First, turn off the power source.

Then, check to see if any valves are closed. If they are, try opening them again to confirm that they’re still working.

Check For Water Flow

Next, check to see if the unit is operating properly by checking for any water coming out of the unit.

If there’s water flowing from the outlet, then the unit should be working fine. If not, proceed to the next step.

Test for water to rise

Test the unit one last time to find out exactly where the problem lies. While you’re doing this, make sure that only one person is holding onto the drain pipe and that there aren’t any objects obstructing the flow of water.

Once the unit starts draining water, stop immediately. If water continues rising up the drainpipe, then you know that the problem is somewhere upstream from the unit. In this case, you’ll need to check the float switch.

Check the float switch

Once you’ve tested everything using these steps, it’s time to check the float switch. There may be a small bubble under the float.

If there is, remove the entire assembly and inspect the float. It should be free-floating. If it isn’t, then you may need to replace the switch.

Replace The Float Switch

If the float isn’t floating properly, then you’ll need to replace it.

This is because the switch has probably become stuck due to debris. Simply unscrew the two screws that hold the switch together and dispose of the old switch. Then, screw in the new one and tighten both screws.

Test The Motor

Finally, you’ll want to check whether or not the motor is spinning. Again, turn off the power supply first.
Then, look inside the motor housing to see if it’s moving. If it is, then everything seems to be working as it should. Otherwise, things might be a little more complicated than they seem.

Before turning on your power source (electricity), make sure that there is no electricity flowing through the unit. If there is, turn off all electrical devices in your home until you’ve tested the unit.


At this point, you should be able to test the sump pump once more to verify that it’s working properly. If it is, great!

However, if the pump doesn’t work after following these steps, then read over your troubleshooting guide again. Hopefully, this should help you figure out what went wrong.

Read More: How to Replace a Sump Pump?

WAYNE CDU790 - 1/3 HP Submersible Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Sump Pump with Integrated Vertical Float Switch - Up to 4,600 Gallons Per Hour - Heavy Duty Basement Sump Pump, Black
  • Indoor Use Only - This 1/3 HP WAYNE basement sump pump is perfect to keep your basement dry during heavy water flow. Whether it’s rain, snow melting, etc. WAYNE model CDU790 can pump up to 4,600 GPH to keep your basement dry.
  • Tough And Durable - Corrosion-resistant epoxy coated steel motor housing and stainless steel fasteners come with a cast-iron volute that provides long life in tough sump pump applications.
  • Efficient Design - The top suction design eliminates air lock and minimizes clogging from any debris in the bottom of the sump pit. Easy to install in about 15 minutes with no need to drill a weep hole!
  • Additional Features - 1-1/2” NPT discharge for compliance with building codes. The vertical float switch has been tested to 1 million cycles for long-lasting use, up to 10 time more than our competitors.
  • Quality You Deserve - Proudly assembled in the USA for quality you can trust. Warrantied for 3 years for dependable, efficient, & ultra-quiet performance.

Sump Pump Troubleshooting:

The Sump Pump Is Not Working Properly – If the sump pump isn’t working at all, then you’ll most likely need to replace it. Unfortunately, replacing an electric sump pump isn’t easy and requires proper training and equipment. You can learn how to do it here.

The Sump Pump Has Stopped Working – If the sump pump stops pumping water, then it could mean that something is clogging the pipes. To fix this, you’ll need to clear the blockage so that the system can function normally again.

Something Is Obstructing The Drain Pipe – Sometimes, you won’t even notice when something gets stuck in the drain line. When this happens, the sump pump will stop functioning properly. To fix this, simply unplug the pump and give it some elbow grease.

The Sump Pump Won’t Turn On – Occasionally, the sump pump won’t turn on. This can happen due to several reasons. One reason for this is that the battery needs to be charged before it works correctly. Another reason is that the wiring harness may have been damaged during installation.

sump pump troubleshooting
Water Gets Into the Electrical System – If water enters into the electrical system, then the sump pump won’t work correctly. In this case, you’ll need to contact your local electrical company, which may require a licensed plumber.

The Backflow Preventer Isn’t Functioning Correctly – If the backflow preventer isn’t working properly, then it can compromise the effectiveness of your sump pump and put your basement at risk of flooding.

To address this issue, follow these steps:

Inspect the Backflow Preventer: Check the backflow preventer for any visible damage, debris, or signs of wear. Make sure it is properly installed and aligned. If you notice any issues, consider consulting a professional plumber to repair or replace it.

Clean the Backflow Preventer: Sometimes, debris or sediment can accumulate in the backflow preventer, hindering its operation. Turn off the sump pump and water supply, then carefully clean the preventer using a soft brush or cloth. Be gentle to avoid damaging the valve.

Test the Backflow Preventer: Once you’ve cleaned the backflow preventer, test it to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Turn on the sump pump and observe the water flow. The preventer should allow water to flow in one direction only, preventing any backflow.

Check for Proper Sealing: Ensure that all connections and seals in the backflow preventer are tight and secure. Leaks or loose fittings can render the preventer ineffective, so tighten any loose parts as needed.

Replace the Backflow Preventer: If you’ve performed all the necessary checks and cleaning, and the backflow preventer is still malfunctioning, it may be time to replace it. Contact a professional plumber to assist with selecting and installing a new backflow preventer.

Remember, a properly functioning backflow preventer is crucial for the overall efficiency of your sump pump system, especially during heavy rainfall or flooding events.

Sump Pump Alarm

Installing a sump pump alarm is an excellent way to monitor your sump pump’s performance and detect potential issues early. These alarms provide notifications when water levels rise excessively, indicating a malfunctioning sump pump or a power failure. Consider the following features when choosing a sump pump alarm:

  • You will receive an alert via email and/or text message before your sump overflows.
  • You will no longer need to lift the lid of the sump to see how much water is in it.
  • Keep an eye out for moisture entering the foundation. Mold needs a minimum of 60% humidity to thrive.
  • Alert you if temperatures rise or fall above or below your specified level in order to prevent frozen pipes.
  • This leak sensor can detect leaks on a sump pump, water heater, or any other device with a second line of defense.
    Provide an alert if AC power is lost to your pump (e.g. if your pump loses power).
  • Notify you (after a specified period) if the internet connection fails.
  • Provide an interface to a home alarm system (or another device)
Level Sense PRO- Wi-Fi Enabled Sump Pump Alarm, Features Include: High Water Alarm, Water Leak Detector, Power Failure Alarm, WiFi Temperature Sensor, Water Sensor Alarm
  • REALTIME MONITORING with Level Sense Pro Water detector alarm lets you know immediately about fluid levels. Discover Temperature, humidity and water leak alarm early so you can act fast & limit damage
  • WIF water alarm sensor with float switch monitors temperature, water level, humidity, leak detection and power outage alarm. Cloud check-in monitoring prevents frozen pipes, flooded basements & more.
  • Back-Up power provided by an auto-recharging internal back-up battery, Level Sense Pro Wifi Water Leak Detector monitors sump pump water levels. Get notified before the sump pump float switch fails.
  • WiFi water alarm leak detector and water alarms for basements. Free basic portal service. See current conditions and tank levels anytime with any tablet, cell phone or computer.
  • See current conditions and tank levels anytime with any tablet, cell phone or computer. Level Sense Pro alarm unit is made in the USA. Technical support out of St. Louis, MO. 2 Year warranty.

In conclusion, properly testing and maintaining your sump pump and backflow preventer are crucial for ensuring your basement remains dry and protected from flooding. If you encounter any issues that you’re unsure how to address, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a professional plumber to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your sump pump system.

Read More: How To Install a New Sump Pump?

Even though you followed our steps above, it’s possible that you missed something during the process. In order to avoid future problems, we recommend cleaning out the trap every year. To clean out the trap, simply disconnect the pipes and insert a long stick into the hole.

If you feel like you’ve done everything correctly, but the sump pump still isn’t pumping, then you’ll need some additional assistance.

Fortunately, many plumbers offer emergency services so you don’t have to worry about calling someone else.

If you have any further questions or need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Click to rate this post!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]


Leave a Reply

If you have any questions about the post write a comment. We'll be happy to answer.

Your email address will not be published.

Related posts

Scroll to top