You might notice your basement’s sump pump continuously running in winter and wonder if that was normal. It’s okay for the system to pump water occasionally due to water and melting snow accumulating in the sump pit. However, if the equipment runs too frequently without emptying its pit—or stays on after it is empty—the sump pump likely has an issue.
The constant running could be due to the sump pump’s float switch being in the “on” position for too long or a rise in the local water table from a nearby underground spring. Another cause is a frozen pump basin that forces the pump’s motor to work harder to draw water away from your basement or crawlspace. In both cases, the sump pump can overheat and fail prematurely.
At Advantage Plumbing and Sewer Co., we have years of experience providing exceptional Schaumburg plumbing services.
Call our plumbing professionals at Advantage Plumbing and Sewer Co. at 847-268-3553 in Schaumburg, IL, if you have any other questions about your sump pump system.
Here, our plumbing team explains how to prevent your sump pump from continuously running in winter.
1. Shield the Discharge Pipe From Freezing Temperatures
The discharge pipe is a vulnerable component of a sump pump system. The line is responsible for carrying water from the sump pump outdoors.
If you leave the discharge pipe exposed to freezing temperatures and frigid air, the water inside the line could freeze, causing a clog. However, the sump pump will continue to send water through the line and push past the ice blockage. With no place for the water to discharge, the sump pump’s motor will continue to run, leading to premature wear and tear.
You can protect your discharge pipe against the cold by burying the pipe a minimum of five inches below the frost line, where the risk of freezing is lower. You could also insulate the line using hay, a tarp, or another pipe with a larger circumference.
2. Keep Water Flowing Through Your Home’s Plumbing System
Another way to protect your sump pump is always to allow water to run through your home’s plumbing system. It may seem counterintuitive to leave your tap on, but moving water is harder to freeze.
If nothing flows into the sump pump’s basin, leftover moisture can freeze and irreparably damage the pump. Letting a cold water faucet drip throughout the winter will prevent water in your pipes from freezing.
3. Protect the Sump Pump’s Motor
Your sump pump relies on a motor to do its job. However, a motor that constantly runs can overheat and stop working. To prevent that issue before winter, it helps to use other drainage methods around your home to reduce stress on the sump pump’s motor.
The sump pump motor will not turn on often if you use alternative drainage solutions for the coldest months of the year. As a result, the device won’t have to force its motor to overwork to flush water through frozen pipes. If you allow the sump pump to handle all your drainage needs, you risk losing the motor.
Another way to protect your sump pump’s motor is by installing a check valve in the discharge pipe. A check valve is a one-way valve with a flapper that allows water to flow from the sump pump basin and through the discharge pipe. When the pump shuts off, the remaining water in the line may try to re-enter the pit because of gravity, but the check valve prevents that from happening.
Discharged water could flow back into the basin, trigger the pump, and force the motor to work without this flapper component. If this continues to happen, the motor could short cycle and burn out.
4. Remove the Sump Pump’s Flex Hose
In most cases, a sump pump continuously runs during the winter because people forget to remove its flex hose or discharge hose. The flex hose is the line that attaches to the sump pump’s drainpipe at some point along your home’s exterior. The component’s purpose is to ensure that the underground water or rainwater from the sump pump flows away from your foundation.
Leaving the discharge hose in place during the winter will cause it to freeze. As a result, the sump pump will not function correctly. When the device turns on to pump water in its plastic basin, the frozen flex hose will prevent the moisture from discharging into the appropriate location.
With no place for the water to go, the sump pump will remain on even when it shouldn’t. Unless you remove the flex hose in the fall before the temperature drops, you risk having your sump pump prematurely burning out.
You can leave the hose off until the temperatures are consistently above freeze. Be sure to reattach it before spring showers begin.
5. Keep the Sump Pump On
A common misconception about sump pumps is that you should unplug them during the winter. People often assume that the lack of rain means the device will not have any moisture to pump out.
However, you should never unplug a sump pump. Water can enter the pump’s pit in several ways, regardless of the season. For instance, moisture from an occasional rainfall, groundwater, or designated perimeter drains for basement waterproofing could enter the sump pump’s plastic basin at any time.
Also, snowmelt could get into the pit. Even if the ground is covered in snow or frozen a couple of feet below its surface, the soil could have enough water saturation near the bottom of your home’s foundation to trigger the sump pump. Unplugging the sump pump would make your home vulnerable to leaks and moisture damage.
Reliable Services for Your Sump Pump System, Schaumburg, IL
Are you still concerned about your sump pump continuously running in winter? Sump pump services by Advantage Plumbing and Sewer Co. will ensure that your system is fully functional in the winter and ready to handle the upcoming spring’s thaw. Our experienced plumbers have the tools and skills to address any plumbing problem, so call 847-268-3553 today in Schaumburg, IL, for an appointment.