What To Do When A Sump Pump Is Tripping A Breaker – 8 Reasons

Occasionally finding your sump pump tripping breaker is highly inconvenient and frustrating. Trying to run the sump pump may also be dangerous as it keeps on shutting down. So first you need to find the possible reasons behind this. Then you can take the necessary steps to overcome the issue and restore its function. Make sure to follow the safety precautions, especially since you are dealing with electrical components.

Reasons Why Your Sump Pump Keeps Tripping Breaker

Here are some of the reasons that the sump pump may trip the breaker. Once you identify the reason behind your issue, it is easy to fix the problem.

Water Leaking

Cracks in the submersible pump may cause water to leak through the housing. Check whether there are any cracks in the housing since it could be the reason for tripping the breaker. It may short-circuit the electrical connections as water seeps in. If you see any cracks or water leaks, you should repair them to overcome this issue.

Failed Seals

Broken and worn-out seals may be why your sump pump trips the breaker. This is because water can reach into the pump windings through broken mechanical seals. It will keep the breaker tripping until the seal is fixed. This will cause the pump shaft to seize, and the starting current will get too high for the circuit breaker.


Another reason that the sump pump trips GFCI is due to overload. This means that the sump pump is drawing more current than the capacity of the breaker. It causes the breaker to trip off. Since it is the task of the breaker to ensure safety from overload, you should check why it draws too much current. It will usually be due to an electrical fault which you should clarify with your electrician.

No Surge Protection

Power surges can also cause the sump pump to trip the breaker at certain times. You can prevent this by installing a surge protector. It will not only protect your appliances from power surges but also provide additional safe outlets to power up your electronics.

Clogged Impeller

The impeller is the main component of a pump. So if it is clogged, then it will definitely trip the circuit breaker. You can solve this problem by cleaning the impeller. Remove any debris that clogs the impeller to hinder its function.

Damaged Pump Motor

This is a very common reason for tripping the circuit breaker when running the sump pump. You can check whether your pump motor is damaged by listening to the motor when it is running. If there is no sound, then you should get help from a professional to solve the issue.

Damaged Electrical Wires

The electrical wires can get damaged as the pump gets old. The wires can get damaged after installation, repairs, and even by animal bites. So check the electrical wires and the connections to make sure that there are no damages.

Low Rated Extension Cords

Although it is not ideal, some sump pumps use extension cords. The quality of the extension cord matters since low-rated extension cords will trip the circuit breaker. It can even blow off the pump fuse. Therefore, make sure to use certified components under professional supervision to avoid these situations.

sump pump tripping breaker

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does It Mean When a Pump Tripped?

When a pump is tripped, the motor or the driver will be turned off automatically. This causes the pump to shut down unplanned, such as in a power loss. When the breaker trips, the circuit shuts down from the breaker that provides power to the sump pump. 

Does Sump Pump Need Dedicated Circuit?

It is recommended to have a dedicated circuit for the sump pump separately. It ensures that the pump receives a steady current. Ensure that it is properly grounded to prevent any surges from damaging the circuit. The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is another important part of the circuit to prevent electrical shock.

Will a Sump Pump Trip a GFCI?

The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is a safety mechanism that turns off the pump from operating any further during an electrical fault. It ensures the safety of both the appliance and the users. Usually, a sump pump will not trip a GFCI unless there is an electrical problem. It will also trip the GFCI if a surge occurs. If the GFCI goes off, you need to inspect the situation to make sure what the fault is and correct it before turning on the breaker again.

How Much Power is Needed for a Sump Pump?

The power needed by any appliance depends on the rated factors. In this case, it depends on the capacity of the sump pump. A sump pump with a power of 1/3 hp needs 800 W as the running wattage and around 1300 – 2900 W for starting. The running wattage needed by a ½ hp sump pump is 1050 W, and the starting wattage needed may vary between 2150 and 4100 W.

What Size Breaker Do I Need for a 1/2 Hp Sump Pump?

According to National Electric Code Table T430-148, a 1/2 horsepower motor operating at 115 volts has a full load current of 9.8 amperes. Hence, the maximum breaker size for a sump pump motor of this size is 250% of the full load current. This gives that the required size of the breaker is 24.5 amps.


You are now aware of the reasons behind your sump pump tripping breaker. However, if you cannot fix the issue mentioned as indicated here, you should consult a professional. If the pump is tripping the breaker continuously even after you try all the remedies, the pump will need to be replaced. Usually, the cheaper pumps are hard to repair as they have a shorter lifespan. It is also difficult to repair older sump pumps cost-effectively. So, going for a new sump pump will be the best option if the problem persists. Keep your new pump in good condition by following the necessary maintenance regularly.

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