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Sump Pump Keeps Filling With Water: 5 Causes and Fixes

Sump Pump Keeps Filling With Water: 5 Causes and Fixes

Flooding is one of a homeowner’s biggest fears, as it can create destruction that requires exorbitantly expensive repairs. To protect your basement from water damage, you might have a sump pump installed at the lowest point of your home. However, if your sump pump keeps filling with water, this can indicate larger problems like a mechanical failure.

The reason your sump pump keeps filling with water might be because it has a limited size or capacity. A stuck pump switch, check valve missing, high groundwater levels, and a clogged drain or valve could also be the cause. Solutions include upgrading, manually turning the switch, or replacing the valve.

The rest of this article will discuss the common causes of sump pump problems and why your pump keeps filling with water. Solutions for each of these proposed causes will be discussed, and some general tips for sump pump maintenance and functioning can be found in the following sections. 

1. Your Sump Pump Has a Limited Size or Capacity

Whether caused by the geographical location of your home or the weather occurring, sometimes your sump pump can’t handle the water coming in and will struggle to move excess water out of your basement. If this is the case, it might mean you need a larger or more powerful sump pump. 

To effectively protect your home from flooding, the size and quality of your sump pump are essential. If you notice your sump pump keeps filling with water, it might be a sign that you need a more significant or higher quality upgrade. 

How To Fix

When purchasing your sump pump, keep in mind that a plastic model will likely burn out over time. You should also be aware of the type of sump pump you’re installing. There are 3 main types of sump pumps:

  • Primary: It’s the main pump used to remove water from basement structures. There are 2 subcategories. The first is the submersible pumps connected to a motor and completely submerged in water, preventing overheating, while the other subcategory is pedestal pumps. These are smaller, with a motor mounted on top. They’re optimal for smaller pits and therefore move smaller amounts of water.
  • Backup: If your primary pump should lose power or fail, a battery-powered backup can take over to move the volume of water
  • Combination: These pumps combine the primary and battery backup pump into a singular unit. 

If your sump pump keeps filling with water, you may need to buy a larger pump, install a backup, or install an additional pump in your basement (source). 

2. Your Sump Pump’s Switch Is Stuck

Another reason your sump pump might be continuously filling with water is that it has a stuck switch. The “float switch” operates sump pumps.” This switch turns the pump on and off as the water level rises or falls. If it becomes stuck, it might be keeping the pump from turning on or from draining correctly.

How To Fix

Fixing a stuck switch on a sump pump is a fairly straightforward process. If you notice the switch has become stuck in the “on” or “off” position, you can manually flip the switch. If this issue persists, you might want to have a professional inspect your sump pump to ensure it is working correctly. 

3. Your Sump Pump Is Missing a Check Valve

If your sump pump keeps filling with water, one of the reasons this may happen is that a check valve is missing or failing. A sump pump is installed below ground level, so for the water to exit the pit, it must be pumped out of the discharge line at an upward level, then it’s shifted downward to exit your home. 

The check valve prevents the water from falling back down into the pit, so if this valve is missing or not working correctly, it could be the reason your sump pump is continually filling with water. 

How To Fix

If the check valve is missing or broken, it needs to be replaced. Suppose you know how to make this repair — feel free to do so yourself. However, a professional technician recommends that you make any changes to your sump pump to guarantee that it is working correctly. 

4. Your Sump Pump is Fighting High Groundwater Levels

Another reason your sump pump may be filling with water or overflowing is due to high groundwater levels. This may be caused by heavy rains, melting snow, or an underground spring. Any of these things might continually bring water to your sump pump, overwhelming the system and keeping water inside the pit.  

How To Fix

If the water table around your sump pump is too high or is constantly being replaced, you might need to upgrade your pump or install a separate second pump in a different area of your basement or lower level. 

5. Your Sump Pump Has a Clogged Drain or Valve

Finally, the last reason your sump pump has water continuously entering the pit might be because the drainage or a valve is clogged. If your sump pump isn’t outfitted with a lid on the top, it can easily become filled with excess dirt and particulate matter that can prevent proper drainage. 

The functional pieces of a sump pump can also become dirty and slow down over time. This can inhibit the sump pump’s ability to remove water from an area. 

How To Fix

If you notice your drainage is failing or your sump pump has slowed, you may need to inspect the system for draining water or replace your sump pump. If you have no separate drainage system for your sump pump, have one installed. 


If your sump pump keeps filling with water, the reasons listed above might be to blame. Limited size, a stuck pump switch, missing check valve, high groundwater levels, or clogged drain or valve. 

Watch your sump pump closely to identify the problem. Hire a professional to guarantee your sump pump is repaired and operating correctly. 

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