Sump pumps are a fixture in houses with basements. They help to get rid of, or pump out, excess water, and protect your basement and the rest of your home from flooding.
Your sump pump is only supposed to run when water causes the float switch to trip. If your sump pump is running every 30 seconds, that could indicate that something is wrong.
There could possibly be a fault in your basement foundation that is trapping water causing the pump to run every 30 seconds. If your sump pump is running every 30 seconds, it could also be due to a broken underground water main.
Let’s explore some of the possible causes for your sump pump running every 30 seconds.
Your sump pump should not be running all day long in ideal circumstances. If it is running every 30 seconds, that indicates that something could be wrong.
In some cases, it is strictly a problem with the pump itself. Other times, your sump pump running every 30 seconds can point to deeper problems within your home.
Downgrade Around Your Foundation
If there is a negative downgrade around your foundation, it can lead to water problems. You want water to be directed away from your home, not towards it. When water does reach your home, the sump pump’s job is to get rid of it.
However, if there is a downgrade causing water to slide in and stay trapped within the foundation, that is a problem. That can cause your sump pump to run every 30 seconds.
Unfortunately, the solution to a foundation problem causing sump pump overactivity is an expensive one. What you need to do is have your foundation built back up to keep water out.
Foundation repairs cost $4,000 or more in many cases. However, if it is only a matter of a crack allowing water to seep through, it may cost you $500 to $700.
If you are able to have a contractor fix your foundation to keep the water out, your sump pump should stop running constantly.
Underground Water Source
While this is largely out of your control, underground water sources can cause your sump pump to run like crazy as well. Underground water sources are more common than you may think, and when they flow, they can affect the surrounding homes.
When water seeps in from an underground water source, it will cause your sump pump to run. If your sump pump is running every 30 seconds and there is no apparent reason, ask your neighbors or realtor if they are aware of any underground water sources.
Unfortunately, there is no solution to your endlessly running sump pump if it is caused by an underground water source. The good news is that water sources of all kinds go through phases.
It is rare for an underground water source to flow year round. You will need to brace for your sump pump running every 30 seconds during seasons like spring or summer where there is more rainfall.
The Float Switch is Jammed
The float switch is the part of the sump pump that when triggered causes it to run. If there is a problem with your float switch, such as it being jammed, it will cause irregularity in how your sump pump runs.
Sometimes, sump pump float switches will get jammed so that it’s stuck in the drain position. That means that the sump pump will continue to run until it is fixed.
Fixing a jammed float switch is easy. Generally, all that you need to do is gently jostle the float switch. That should move the float switch out of the on or “drain” position.
Otherwise, thoroughly inspect the float switch looking for debris. If there is any debris causing a jam in the float switch, clear it out. That should stop your sump pump from running all of the time.
Damaged Irrigation System
If your irrigation sprinkler system is damaged, it will cause water to constantly seep through the ground and into your drainage system. When a sprinkler system becomes damaged, the water can keep running with nowhere to go but down.
Unfortunately for your sump pump, that means it will have to work twice as hard to keep removing the water.
The solution for a damaged irrigation system can be quite costly. In fact, replacing or repairing a damaged sprinkler system can cost as much as $3,000.
Unfortunately, there is no way around having to spend big when it comes to having your sprinkler system repaired or replaced entirely.
Broken Sewer Line
If a sewer line breaks beneath your home, it will naturally cost water to work its way up to your house. That will result in your sump pump running as often as every 30 seconds in many cases.
Luckily, broken sewer lines often do not fall upon the homeowner when it comes to repairs.
Get in touch with the local water company. In today’s world, broken sewer lines are the responsibility of the water company that operates them.
While it is a major inconvenience for you, at the very least the cost will not land on you as a homeowner. Once the water company in question gets the damaged sewer line repaired, your sump pump should stop running every 30 seconds.
Ineffective Check Valve
Each and every sump pump is equipped with something called a check valve. The check valve is responsible for your water going in one direction, i.e. out of the sump pit.
After years of your sump pump running, the check valve can sometimes go bad and stop working optimally. That will result in water sometimes flowing backwards back into the sump pit.
When that happens, it will cause your sump pump to spike in activity.
Luckily, check valves can be replaced when they become damaged or worn out. In fact, they typically only cost between $15 and $25.
If you put in a brand new check valve and your sump pump continues to run every 30 seconds, that means that something else is wrong.
Why Does My Sump Pump Run Every 30 Seconds In Cold Weather?
During cold weather, your sump pump may run more often due to the drainage line literally freezing. If that happens, there are a few steps that you need to take to fix it. First things first, be sure to turn off the power to the sump pump.
1. Add Heat
It sounds obvious, but it really works. Any heat source that you can easily get near the drainage line should work. Your best bet is to position a space heater facing towards the drainage line.
Sometimes, however, the line is frozen much further down the line. In that case, you’ll need to try something else.
2. Drain the Water and Remove the Drainage Line
If you have a wet vacuum, use it to drain the water from the sump pit. Once you have done that, use a screwdriver to unfasten the drainage line and remove it.
3. Boiling Water Does the Trick
Boil a pot of water. Carefully pour the boiling water down the drainage line. The ice in the line should be quickly and easily thawed out by the boiling water.
After thawing the ice out, carefully reattach the drainage line. When you are done, turn the power to the sump pump back on to see how it runs.
Summing it Up
Your sump pump running every 30 seconds is not a terrible thing, but it is a sign that something could be wrong. It could be something as simple as a jammed float switch causing the pump to run endlessly, or something as costly as a damaged sprinkler system.
Foundation problems can cost up to $4,000, but often times sump pumps continually running is something as simple as a frozen line.
When your sump pump is running every 30 seconds, carefully inspect it. You should be able to identify the problem on your own. Refer to the above guide to help diagnose your sump pump’s problem as well figure out how to resolve the problem.