Sump won't turn off - rain won't stop

11 Replies

It has been raining since Monday. The river is above flood stage, the rain won't stop. I went down to the crawlspace just to double check, and found a lot of water. I see where it is coming in - from poor grading around the house. I can fix that later, but the sump won't stop running. Pretty sure the float switch is jammed or faulty - the sump came with the house, it was a foreclosure so I have zero information. It looks old. It is a Big John, if that helps at all.

So I don't feel comfortable turning it off to try to fix it - what if it didn't go back on? Rain is forecast for the next 2 days, along with 2-8 inches of snow - YAY!

Any suggestions or uplifting stories of when this happened to you and you turned it off and everything worked out and you lived happily ever after?

Thanks!

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Mindy Jensen , buy a new sump pump now.  In my area I have to replace them every 2 years.  Get everything hooked up to be able to take over when you shut the old one off.  Your sump pump won't run forever it will probably quit pretty soon.  The switches on those are usually a float or a mercury type switch.  You can tell by looking.  Be prepared to spend around a hundred bucks more or less for a decent sump pump.  I now install 2 in each sump but at different levels.  When the lower ones burns out the second one starts working.  I then take the old one out and replace it so I keep my backup from burning out.  In  my area it is usually the housing rotting away that causes the problem.  We have very high alkaline problems.  Be careful to not get shocked.

if the pump is pumping out water the entire time and you have that bad of rain/water coming in then it just might be barely able to keep up, thus running all the time. If there is a float, it usually has a trigger that you can manually control. You might need to add a secondary pit in the future to aleviate some of the load. 

I would go buy another sump pump and get it ready to install. Then flip the manual truer and see it it stops and then starts up again. If it doesn't start back up then follow your plan with tools ready and switch the new pump in. If it does stop and start, you now have your pump for your secondary pit. I would say that the likelihood that the pump fails when you manually trigger is quite low though.

May 8th and they are forecasting 2 to 8 inches of snow?  Leave the sump pump alone and move now!  Find a warmer climate ASAP!   Good luck and God bless!

hi mindy. if your pump is pumping out water, then it is doing its job. the amount of rain water is most likely the issue here. if the water wasn't there, the pump wouldn't be running. that doesn't mean it is not going to give up. if you had to work 24/7, you would give up too. lol. there simply is too much water for it to keep up with. what you need to do is go get another pump. if your crawl space is tall enough, get one of the teller stand up models. you need an " assistant" pump to help out the original pump here. you need to get rid of the excess water and get the level down to a managable level. once the rain stops, if ever, get that grading taken care of and put in gutters and downspouts on the house if you do not have any. good luck and please ask me if you need any further assistance

@Mindy Jensen

 - There's an equipment rental place on Main St just south of the old turkey plant that rents out pumps (or they did a few years ago when I needed one in Longmont).  I'd go get it now and put it in the basement to help out your sump.  It's not that expensive and you'll be glad you did later, I think.  

I'd do it now before the rivers spill over again like they did September 2 years ago.  If you wait for that, all the pumps will be taken.  Here's hoping all of the improvement they did along the riverbanks last summer will keep the rivers from jumping out again.

I work in Longmont and driving home last night was deja vu all over again.  Two years ago, we had a 500 year flood (maybe even 1000, they're saying).  What do you call it when you have two xx hundred year floods within two years?

@Kyle Hipp , thanks for the suggestion. I was so hesitant to turn it off, in case it wouldn't turn back on. There are massive storms forecast for today, and then it should clear out. I will try this then. 

BTW, the sump isn't shutting off at all. Not because it is full, but because the float is probably stuck. The pit isn't filling up.

@Kevin Delaney , warmer climates don't have world-class snowboarding two hours away... You should see how much snow the ski places have. Too bad they all closed for the season at the end of April...

Thanks, @Mark Elliott . The sump float is probably stuck, which is telling the sump to pump non-stop. The water being pumped out is trickling at best. We put tarps over the ground where the grade is bad, hopefully that takes care of new water. 

@Linda Weygant , we moved into this house 2 months before the floods and had just started remodeling when the floods came. The river came to the end of the street... I know that rental place, have been there a lot. Thanks!

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Mindy Jensen,

good catch on the grading under the house.

hope you rented/bought an extra pump just in case.

now off-topic, this-old-house had a few episodes where they explained the types of sump-pumps.

they had mentioned one pump that runs no electricity, using water pressure from city water.

many houses in chicago area had basement floods because there was no power for extended periods of time, which eventually drain even the battery backup.


@Dumitru Anton

You are talking about a water powered sump pump. I have thought about putting one of these in as a backup in case of power outage. One brand is called BASEPUMP.

You must have municipal water for these, as if you well pump is out, these won't work.

@Dumitru Anton , thanks for that suggestion. I did end up buying a new pump, along with a water alarm. I tarped the area, stapling the tarp to the house and spreading it out over the entire side yard. The neighbor's clogged gutters pouring down onto my side of the yard didn't help matters...

The rain turned to snow last night about 9:00, but we only got an inch or so, so that was good. The water has stopped flowing into the basement so for now, the pump in unplugged. I just have to get down there and monkey around with it. I didn't want to have to install a new pump and all the pipes during the storm at 10:00 at night.

Thanks for all the advice. I really appreciate it!!!

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Scott Weaner,

yes you are correct. they need Municipal/city water. also thanks for putting one name brand out. i just knew they existed (and the're not cheap, but neither water damage)

i think they use 2-3 gallons for each gallon they "water-sump-pump" out.

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