Saturday, 31 December 2016

Tips for repairing your Sump Pump


While the companies that produce the best sump pumps generally do not expect to make large profits from repairing their products, neither do they wish to let go of the profits that may come their way in this manner. Hence, it is not surprising to see that many sump pump companies avoid providing tips for repairing a sump pump. The net result is that most users tend to believe that even if there is a slight problem, they have to take the product to the service centre or hire costly company certified professionals. While it is true that some problems – such as that relating to the motor – require expert skills, many problems associated with the impeller, discharge and/or float can be fixed at home.

Tips for repairing your Sump Pump

Preparing for Repairs

Regardless of which section of tips for repairing a sump pump you wish to consult, the following must be done beforehand –

  • Switch off the main power supply/backup battery or water supply.
  • Disconnect all pipes connected to the discharge.
  • Take the sump pump out of the sump and let it dry for about half an hour.

Problems Related To Float

There are primarily two types of problems related to the float – jamming of the float and damage to the float. While jamming of the float has been covered under common sump pumps problems and solutions, repairing the sump pump switch in case of damage is a complex procedure. In case repair is impossible, replacement is the only option and we have covered that here as well.

Repairing the switch

While we do count high quality magnetic switches as a plus in our sump pump reviews, in terms of repairs the float switch is the only type that can be fixed at home. To repair a float switch, more specifically the shaft that has:

  • Come loose
  • Broken
  • Developed cracks or become bent at odd angles
  • Jammed in a way that cannot be fixed

One has to take the existing shaft or (if damage is severe) a new shaft and proceed in the following manner:

  • Note that the switch shaft is connected via a small ring type structure to the float and via another ring structure to the switch. Gently raise the shaft from the ring at either end to take it off.
  • If the shaft is broken, it can be repaired with proper water-resistant adhesive. If it has been bent however, it is not advisable to re-bend it into shape as this would probably destroy the balance inherent in it. In this, as well as all other cases of damaged switch shafts, it is ideal to obtain a new shaft.
  • Place one end of the shaft on the ring attached to the float and gently push till the two lock in place. Excess pressure may bend the ring or the shaft.
  • Once in place, hold the float in one hand and connect the other end of the shaft to the switch in similar fashion. Note that different sump pumps may have different switch heads so tips for repairing a sump pump can vary on this point.
  • Once the switch head and shaft end lock into place, release the float and see if the float is moving properly and the freely in a vertical axis.

Replacing the Switch

Replacement switches can be purchased from certain stores or online. These should contain a black gasket, a black (or tan color) box and some screws. Wiring may have to be purchased separately.

  • Disconnect the shaft of the sump pump float by following the process outlined above in a gentle manner.
  • Note the presence of four large screws at the four corners of the top cover of the sump pump. Unscrew the cover by removing these with a standard Phillips screwdriver.
  • Raise the sump pump cover slowly. The top of the motor chamber is exposed. There will be three wires attached to three leads.
  • Without disconnecting the wires, invert the top cover. You will see that these wires connect to three leads within the cover.
  • At the centre is a metal plate that can be unscrewed using the screwdriver.
  • Once the plate is removed, gently pull out the large black box that sits inside the cover. In some models there may be additional screws holding the cover in place. Remove them and keep them in a safe place.
  • Gently pull the wires out of the leads on the top of the motor cover. If you’re sure the wires are not at fault, you may wish to disconnect them from the black box as well.
  • Once removed, keep the black box apart. Take the black/tan box that came with the replacement kit and connect the wires to it. The order of the wires is not important if the product hails from Zoeller, but in case of Little Giant or other companies, the order of wires is important and should be remember prior to taking them off (or referenced from the online user resources).
  • Place the box in the correct alignment in the top cover and replace the metal plate.
  • Replace the cover and reattach the screws.
  • Replace the switch shaft and float assembly. Follow post-repair procedures.

Problems Related to Impeller and Discharge

Impellers and discharges cannot be replaced, so if there is a serious issue the entire unit has to be sent in for professional repairs. However, insofar as they get jammed and damaged due to clogging up of dirt and debris, tips for repairing sump pumps can be provided. Keeping the sump and sump pump exterior clean can be considered part of regular sump pump maintenance procedures, and are not covered in this section.

  • Take the sump pump and remove the float/switch assembly. Invert the sump pump such that it is sitting on its top cover. Note that there are a number of screws keeping the bottom cover (which includes the discharge) in place.
  • Remove the screws to take apart the bottom cover. The sump pump impeller is now exposed. Note that there are a number of thin vents running along the side of the impeller. There may be debris sticking out from them.
  • Take a thin but not too sharp piece of plastic or metal (do not use wood, it will splinter and cause additional issues) and bend the end in a U-shape or hangar-shape (triangular shape). Use this to scrape out the debris from inside the impeller till the impeller appears clean.
  • Though not an integral part of tips for repairing a sump pump, if you have canned air, blow some into the impeller vents. This will also help free up the blades of the impeller.
  • Replace the sump pump bottom cover and overturn the sump pump into proper position.
  • Reattach the screws and replace in the sump.

Post-Repair Procedures

  • Once all work is complete, test using a bucket of water and if found working, place the sump pump in the sump once more.
  • Reattach all wires and pipes. Check the sump pump in the sump by pouring a bucket of water into the sump and allowing the sump pump to run.
  • Replace the sump pump cover.


While sump pumps are capable of working for long periods without any repairs, any failure can lead to a flooded basement in a short period of time. Hence, it is vital that one have a clear idea of the tips for repairing a sump pump even if the sump pump in question is rarely in use. However, note that we have omitted any mention of repairing the power cord or the motor – these are electrical parts and have complex circuitry, hence their repair is beyond those who do not have good knowledge of electricals. These aside though, repairs can be carried out – and indeed must be carried out to avoid losing either the basement or a lot of money – by the user without fearing for electrical or mechanical mishaps.

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