Should There Be Water In The Sump Pump Pit?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Sump pumps are critical pieces of machinery that can save your home from flooding disasters. Nearly all homes with basements or any homes susceptible to flooding should have one (or more) sump pumps. It is also important to maintain these pumps to ensure they are working properly. When you inspect your sump pump, you might wonder if it is normal for there to be some water in the sump pit.

It is perfectly normal to have water in your sump pit. In fact, it is often better for a sump pump to have a little water in it rather than for it to be dry. Once water reaches the sump pump float sensor, the pump should turn on and being pumping. If the water is overflowing out of the pit, however, then there is a problem with the pump.

As you investigate your sump pump and sump pit to make sure all is working well, you might be worried about the water you notice in the pit. In many cases, it is perfectly natural to have some water in the sump pit. But there are other instances that you should take note of and investigate further to ensure there is not an issue with the pump or the pit.

Read further to understand when it is normal to have water in a sump pit, and when you should be concerned.

Is It Normal To Have Water In My Sump Pump Pit?

In many cases, yes, it is perfectly normal to have a bit of water in your sump pit. After all, when there is snow, rain, or other water events, a little bit of water is bound to make its way into the sump pit. That’s just the nature of gravity.

The way a sump pump is designed, means there is a pump, and also a sensor. The sensor is usually a floating device that, once it reaches a certain level, turns on the pump, which then pumps out the sump pit. But this means there is a minimum threshold that must be reached.

In other words, if there is just a little bit of water in your pit, the sensor is not going to be triggered. This also means in many cases, there will be a bit of water when you look down in your sump pit.

How Much Water Should There Be In My Sump Pump Pit?

While it is perfectly normal to have a bit of water in your sump pit, there is a limit to how much water is “normal” before it becomes a concern. If you notice there is water above the sensor, you should check the pump. This usually means there is a problem with the sensor or the pump itself.

Additionally, if you notice the pump is on but there is water filling up the sump pit, and the pump can’t keep up, this is an issue. You might need a stronger pump, a backup pump, or just a newer pump.

Is It Bad To Have A Dry Sump Pump?

On the other side of things, you might wonder if it is better for your sump pit to remain dry at all times. Believe it or not, it can actually cause damage if your sump pit is always dry.

Many sump pumps benefit from some moisture. Prolonged periods of dryness can actually cause the plastic to weaken and wear down quicker than normal.

Dried-out sump pumps also tend to smell. This is due to gasses emitted once all moisture is dried out. In the end, it might actually be a good thing when you notice a bit of moisture in your sump pit. Just make sure it is not too much.

Determining If There’s An Issue With Your Sump Pump’s Water Level

The most important thing to do when you notice water in your sump pit is to confirm that the water level is safe and normal. Below are some common situations that occur within sump pits, and what you should do if you notice these occuring in your own sump pit.

Water Overflows Above The Pit

When water overflows above the sump pit, this is not normal. The point of a sump pump is to mitigate and even eliminate the risk of home flooding in low-lying areas. If there is water creeping onto your basement floor above the sump pit, you should find a way to pump it out immediately. This is also a sign that you need to replace your sump pump.

The Pit Is Dry

Your sump pit might dry out from time to time. But prolonged dryness is not ideal. You can put a bit of clean filtered water in the pit in order to maintain a good equilibrium for the pump and pit.

The Sump Pit Smells

When your sump pit has water and smells, you likely need to empty it, clean it, and put in fresh water. The best way to address the issue is to remove the water, and then clean the entire pit.

The Pump Struggles To Keep Up

If you notice water in your sump pit when your sump pump is on, that’s normal. But if your sump pump is constantly pumping for what seems like an eternity, there might be an issue.

The point of a sump pump is to empty out the water. If the pump is constantly operating, the water in the sump pit could be a red flag. In fact, your house might have vulnerabilities that should be addressed to prevent flood damage.

The Pit Fills Even When There Are No Outside Factors

If you notice water filling in your sump pit frequently there might be a bigger issue. Water in a sump pump for what seems like no reason is also the first sign of a leak somewhere.

You should investigate immediately and consider calling a plumber if there are more signs of a burst pipe.

Summing Up If It Is Normal To Have Water In A Sump Pit

Sump pumps are meant to remove water from your sump pit. When you notice there is water in the sump pit, you might wonder if that is normal.

The good news is that it is perfectly normal for there to be some water in your sump pit. If, however, the water fills the pit and the sump pump is not working, then there is an issue.

If you notice the pump is trying hard to keep up, or if there seems to be a lot of water in the pit for no good reason, then you should investigate further.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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