Sump pumps - how often should they run?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by venckman, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. venckman

    venckman New Member

    Feb 6, 2006
    Hi, all,

    I wrote here before with sump pump issues and now things are more defined so I thought I'd write back. We moved into a new home last July in Gettysburg, PA which supposedly has a high water table. Our sump pump after a heavy rain will run every 30 seconds and run for about 3 days until it finally stops. For example, it started running Saturday afternoon every 30 seconds, now Monday morning, it's running every 90 seconds, so it slowly slows down. We thought we could fix the problem by sinking our downspouts and the sump pump output line out to the street, which we hired a landscaper to do, and that hasn't seemed to improve things. The weird thing is that every house on all sides of ours, their pumps run at most every 15 minutes or so. So, we're like, OK what's weird about our house? I do hear water running back down the pipe after the pump kicks off, so I'm wondering if there's an issue with the check valve, or if there even is one installed. Neighbors of ours found that the builder didn't install a check valve on their sump pump and once one was put on, it improved things greatly. To our knowledge, our house is not sitting on a underground stream or anything like that or it would be affecting the neigboring properties. I guess what I'm trying to get feedback on is A: could a missing or malfunctioning check valve be causing the pump to run this much? B: is it AT ALL normal for a sump pump to run every 30 seconds? C: Any other suggestions on what might be the problem here?

    Thanks much you guys for any feedback!

    Mike Brubaker
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    You should have a check valve unless the end of the outlet pipe is below the sump pump and not susceptible to flooding.

    Then figure out how how much water you are pumping on each cycle. Apply old high school math to figure out the area of the pit and volume pumped per cycle. In the same way, you can figure the inflow rate.

    Some pumps have very small range of start/stop because of the built-in switch. You might want to enlarge and deepen the pit, and put in a tethered float switch to allow a larger adjustable range.
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  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    If you don't have a check valve you may be able to hear water running through the pipe back into the pit.

    "Most" of the time the check valve is above the pit cover where it can be seen and if your pit does not have a cover you will see it if it is there.
  5. speedbump

    speedbump New Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    Water well and pump tech.
    Riverview, Fl.
    It is not normal to cycle a motor like that either. If you don't want to keep buying sump pumps, you need to get the motor to run longer and stay off longer. I don't imagine making the pit bigger is any easy task. But that and a properly working check valve will certainly help.

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