Why Your Sump Pump is Full of Water

It is frustrating to find the basement flooding and a sump pump full of water. To deal with this situation, it is important to know the basics of what could go wrong. The first thing that comes to your mind is that the sump pump could be out of order. However, many other possible reasons increase the water level even if the sump pump is working well. 

sump pump full of water

Why is My Sump Pump Full of Water?

There are a few reasons behind a sump pump full of water. The main reasons are the inability of the pump to remove water and the discharge lines not cooperating in the process. A sump pump will continue to have water if the rate of water flowing in is higher than the rate at which the water is pumped out. The following are the possible causes leading to the inconvenience of an increased sump pump water level.

1. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains prevent the water from discharging properly. As the water is not removed efficiently, it will cause your basement to flood eventually. So, the condition of the drains should be the first thing to check if your sump pump is full of water.

2. Burst Pipe

A burst pipe can also cause your basement to flood despite the effort of the sump pump in removing water. If you notice that the water level is rising continuously, you should check for any visible pipe bursts. If not, you should call a plumber to check the possible issues.

3. Bunt Sump Pump Motor

Most sump pumps have sturdy motors that can run for many years without any issue. But sometimes, the motor may burn out due to various circumstances. If the sump pump motor has burnt out, the pump cannot remove the water. A jammed impeller is another common cause of a malfunctioning sump pump. Dust and debris can block the impeller, causing it to jam eventually. This will also cause the motor to burn out.

4. Defective Float Switch

The float switch is the key component that detects the rise in water level and triggers the sump pump to start removing water. So, if the float switch is stuck, the pump motor will not get the activation signal. The basin will stay full of water while your basement continues to flood.

5. Faulty Check Valve

Water will not enter the discharge pipe if the check valve is not working correctly. It will act as a blockage and retain the water inside the piping. The pipe could even burst due to the extreme water pressure building inside. But before that, you will notice the flooding in your basement as a result of inefficient water removal. 

6. Electrical Issues

A basement is most likely to flood when the sump pump is out of order during a blackout. You can purchase a backup battery or a water-powered sump pump to run during a power outage. Various electrical problems can also lead to a sump pit full of water. You can check whether your sump pump activates by using a bucket of water. If the pump doesn’t activate, check the power connection. Run an extension cord from another power outlet to check whether the pump runs. In case you cannot detect the reason for your pump not starting, you should call a sump pump expert to troubleshoot it.

7. A rise in Water Table

A rise in the water table in the area around your house can also be the reason that a sump pit has water. This is a common scenario in areas with a lot of groundwater or if there are water bodies such as rivers and lakes nearby. If you are from such an area, then you will have to use a powerful sump pump to drain all the water efficiently. Monitor the average amount of water in the basin to check that the sump pump is working well. It will save your property from possible water damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get Rid of Water in My Sump Pump?

You can use a dry or wet vacuum to suck up the water and discharge it at least 20 feet away from your house. A vacuum of 5 or 10 gallons will be the best option for the task. If there is no power, you can use a hand pump to remove the water by inserting it directly into the sump pump hole. You can even use a utility pump with a garden hose connected to its threaded outlet. Tighten it with adjustable pliers to make it a water-tight connection. 

How Much Water Should Be in a Sump Pump?

It is normal for a sump pump pit to always have some water inside. This water level is often caused due to rain, snow, or groundwater seepage. But the water level should not be too high. It should be below 2 – 3 inches inside the sump pump pit.

How Much Does It Cost to Unclog a Sump Pump?

The sump pump repair costs vary with the type of system and the fee charged by the professional. Plumbers usually charge from $45 to $65 per hour. Simple units are easy to clean or repair while complicated units require more time and effort. Repairing submersible units costs between $135 – $300 as they have more detailed designs.

Why is My Sump Pump Not Draining?

Sump pump clogs are the main reason for a sump pump not draining as it is supposed to. Check the drain to make sure that there is no debris clogging it. Then check the sump pump and around the pit to make sure everything is free from clogs. Overheating of the sump pump, float switch stuck, and power failures are other reasons that your sump pump may not drain water.

Why is Sump Pump Running With No Rain?

Sometimes your sump pump may keep running even when it is not raining if there is increased groundwater. You may wonder how this happens especially if there are no rivers or lakes nearby. But various situations including broken pipes or nearby constructions can cause the groundwater level to rise significantly.


If you cannot find the cause behind your sump pump being full of water, you should contact your plumber or sump pump, specialist. They will easily determine the fault and fix it within a small time. In case your sump pump is faulty, you can replace it with a better sump pump available on the market.