Troubleshooting Sump Pump Problems Checklist

Sump Pump Repair Sump pumps are an important component of a comprehensive water management solution. When working properly they act as an added level of defense against basement flooding, but when they fail homeowners can be left with a huge mess.

Are you experiencing sump pump failure? Not all sump pump problems require a complex repair by a waterproofing technician. You might be surprised how often taking a few simple DIY steps will get your sump pump back up and running.

If you are having problems with your sump pump follow the steps on our troubleshooting checklist below. It only takes a few short minutes to run through the entire process.

9 Sump Pump Troubleshooting Tips

  1.  First and foremost, make sure there is power going to the sump pump.
  2. Check all breakers and GFCI outlets in and around the home. A lot of the time simply hitting reset on a GFCI switch will solve the problem.
  3. Make sure that the sump pump is not on a switched circuit. You may notice a light switch that turns off and on.
  4. Ensure that the discharge outlet is open and free from debris. This step is especially important on a gravity drain.
  5. If anything else has been placed into the sump pit such as a dehumidifier hose, remove it as it may cause the float switch to hang up.
  6. Open the basin lid too see if the sump pump is controlled by a float switch. If so, move the float switch up and down to try and activate the pump.
  7. If the pump has no float switch and a black sensor on one side, wipe the sensor off with a clean wet towel and fill it with water to activate.
  8. Clean out any debris inside the basin that may cause the float switch to hang up.
  9. Check for a plug with another plug going into the back of the first.  Unplug the first plug and plug the second plug into the outlet. This should activate the pump.

NOTE: Do not leave the plug in this configuration as this will bypass the float and run the pump continuously. If the pump works in this configuration you will likely need to have a service technician install a new float switch.

If all these items have been checked and you are still having problems you may need sump pump repair or a new sump pump. Contact your local Olshan Foundation Repair office and we will be glad to dispatch a service technician to assess the system.

Olshan Foundation Repair GM Kansas City

Aaron Goucher

Aaron is a Veteran and has been in the construction industry most of his life. He joined the Olshan Team in 2002 and has served as a Certified Structural Technician, Regional Manager and General Manager. Aaron is passionate about helping homeowners in the Midwest region stabilize, waterproof and protect their homes. You can usually spot Aaron on TV or podcasts, as local media outlets often feature his advice when it comes to structural & waterproofing issues.


  1. March 31, 2020 - Yvonne:

    Hi my question is how would i know if my sunk pumps not working? I have not heard it rubning. Did not fill with water during rain we had laat night.

  2. June 17, 2020 - Jeffery Howell:

    My pump will come on and the fan will work for a min and sop what should l do

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