The easiest way to tell if your sump pump is working is to note whether or not it’s removing excess water from your basement. If only some of the water gets removed, the sump pump may be working but it’s not effective. If all the water is being drained when the floor gets flooded, the sump pump is in working order and is what you need for your basement. However, there are times when issues may keep the pump from properly working.

Types of Sump Pumps

All sump pumps are not created equal. They function in different ways and quality and cost vary. Pedestal sump pumps are made to have the motor above the water level. High air humidity might affect the motor, but if the humidity level is normal, the motor’s elevation keeps it dry. On the opposite side, submersible sump pumps have the motor below the waterline. This means you may have to replace the pump more often. For a non-motorized option, there are water-powered pumps. These pumps do not use electricity; however, this also means they are not as strong as the other two pumps. That said, you don’t have to worry about a motor.

Not Turning On

Much like a tech engineer would ask you about a computer issue, think “Have I checked to see if it’s plugged in?” This may seem an obvious question, but sometimes the plug can come loose, the wiring may be frayed, or the outlet is not working. Your outlet should have two plugs, but only one of them activates the pump itself. Unplug both, then plug in just the one for the pump. If it doesn’t turn on, your sump pump needs to be repaired.

Your sump pump may be plugged in and the outlet is fine, but if the float is damaged, the pump may activate at the wrong time or not at all. To test the pump, fill the basin to the water level that activates the pump. If the water empties out in a timely manner, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t start pumping out water at all, check to see if the float is broken or if it or the arm switch lacks room to move.

An electrical failure can be an issue during rainstorms, so make sure the sump pump has a backup battery in case your home’s power goes out.

Slow Drainage

While it’s nice when a sump pump drains anything, you still want it to work quickly enough to keep up with the demands of how much water is flooding the basement. In addition to purchasing a pump that fits the water volume needs, the drain pipes must remain clear. Water drainage should be slow and steady. If it’s nonexistent, you need to have the sump pump looked at.


Sump pumps can lose effectiveness as they age, but regular maintenance keeps the aches and pains at bay. For homeowners in the Midwest, twice-yearly checks are good. Look for corrosion as well as any damage to the cords. Unplug the pump and fill the basin with water to see if the battery kicks on. Make sure any alarm systems work and the valve moves easily.

Sump Pumps From Acculevel

At Acculevel, we know what basement water damage can do to a home’s foundation. It’s important the foundation be as dry as possible and have a good drainage system. A sump pump — or two — is part of an effective drainage system. In the Midwest, home foundations and basements are susceptible to the damage wet soil conditions cause. Acculevel is based in the Midwest, so we understand what needs to be done in your geographical area. If you are looking to have a sump pump installed or basement water damage repaired, give our expert staff a call at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].