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Sump Pump Overflow Protection Tips

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A properly functioning sump pump is crucial to keeping a basement dry. But if the pump fails or gets overwhelmed by a heavy influx of water, sump pump overflow can occur. This flooding can cause extensive damage to the basement, including mold growth, warped floors and walls, electrical issues, and potential fire hazards. It’s wise to learn how to respond quickly if the sump pump can’t keep up and overflows into the basement. Taking fast action to stop the flooding, clean up the water, and address pump issues can help minimize the damage.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Sump Pump Overflowing 

It is essential to conduct regular inspections to ensure that sump pump overflowing does not catch you by surprise. Read more on sump pump installation and tips to prevent flooding.

What To Do When Your Sump Pump Overflows

If you notice your sump pump overflowing, the first thing to do is try to determine the cause. Check the power source to make sure the pump is still getting electricity. If it loses power, reset any tripped breakers or replace blown fuses. Next, clear any debris clogging the pump intake screen or outlet pipe. Leaves, sediment, and other debris can obstruct the pump and cause it to overflow. Use a wooden stick or old toothbrush to clean the intake screen gently. Sump pump overflows can cause a lot of problems, structural damage, mold, and even fire.

If the pump is working, but there is still sump pump overflowing, it could be overwhelmed by the amount of water rushing in. Upgrading to a higher gallon-per-minute pump may be necessary to handle larger volumes during heavy rains or snowmelts. You may also need to reroute gutters and downspouts further away from the foundation if they overload the pump.

Once you’ve addressed any immediate issues with the pump itself, turn your attention to the water in the basement. Move any furniture, electronics, or other valuables out of harm’s way. Place towels, rags, or other absorbent materials on the floor to soak up water. A wet/dry shop vacuum can quickly suck up several gallons of water from carpets or the concrete floor.

Important Note; Wear rubber boots and gloves during cleanup to avoid electrocution hazards or call a professional. Draincom offers a free quote and emergency basement flooding services. Call us at 905-238-6800.

Common Reasons That May Cause Sump Pump Overflow

Have you ever wondered how long it takes for a sump pump to overflow and the causes? There are a few common reasons why you may experience a sump pump overflow:

  • Power Outage – If the electricity goes out, your sump pump will immediately stop working. Battery backup sump pumps can provide several hours of protection during a power outage. They switch to battery power when the main electricity shuts off. Test them regularly to ensure the battery is charged.
  • Heavy Rains – During periods of intense or prolonged rainfall, the rate of water flowing into the sump pit may be more than the pump can handle. Upgrading to a higher gallon-per-minute pump with greater capacity may be necessary to prevent sump pump overflow.
  • Clogged Intake – Debris like leaves, gravel, or sediment getting sucked into the pump intake can obstruct water flow. Routinely checking and clearing the intake screen prevents clogging issues. 
  • Broken Float Switch – The switch that turns the pump on when water reaches a certain level may malfunction and fail to trigger the pump. Test floats annually and replace broken ones immediately to prevent an overflow. Sump pump maintenance is crucial to basement flood prevention.
  • Pump Failure – Over time, sump pumps can suffer problems like burned-out motors, broken impellers, cracked housings, stuck float arms, or leaking seals. Routine sump pump maintenance and replacing older pumps with a newly installed sump pump reduces failures.
  • Overflowing Gutters– Gutters that overflow during heavy rain funnel large volumes of water along the foundation wall and into the sump pit. Making sure gutters are cleaned out and connected to downspout extensions keeps rainwater away.
  • High Water Table – When the water table under your home rises due to heavy snowmelt or saturated soil, it can press water in through cracks and dramatically increase the load on your sump pump.
  • Drain Tile Blockage – Underground drain tiles can get blocked by tree roots or debris. This prevents water from draining away from the foundation, forcing it into the sump pit. Inspect tiles annually. Draincom offers a free inspection. Contact us here.
  • Sump Pit Too Small– A sump pit that is too small may overflow before the pump can keep up. Upgrade to a larger 24-30 inch pit if needed.
  • No Backup Pump – If the primary pump fails and there is no backup pump, an overflow can occur. Having a backup provides redundancy when the immediate pump breaks.

How To Prevent Sump Pump Overflowing

Sump pump overflowing can cause huge problems, but it can be prevented. Here are some tips to help prevent your sump pump from being overwhelmed and overflowing:

  • Install A Backup Pump – A second pump provides redundancy if the main one fails. The backup can be on a separate circuit and connected to a battery for protection during power outages. Choose a backup with equal or greater capacity. Get a free quote on sump pump installation by calling Draincom at 905-238-6800.
  • Regular Maintenance – Annually check the pump, float switch, and inlet screen. Catching minor problems early prevents significant failures. Replace old pumps every 5-7 years.
  • Upgrade Pump Capacity – If you experience sump pump overflowing during heavy rains, you may need to upgrade to one with a higher gallons-per-minute rating to handle larger volumes. 
  • Disconnect Downspouts – Make sure downspouts and underground drain tiles divert rainwater several feet away from the foundation. Keep gutters clean.
  • Waterproof CracksSeal any interior or exterior foundation cracks and gaps where water could seep into the basement. Hydraulic cement works well.
  • Install An Alarm– Sump pump alarms provide an alert if water rises too high, allowing you to catch an overflow early. We recommend a battery-powered alarm.
  • Have A Backup Plan – Keep an emergency kit with spare pumps, hoses, gloves, & other flood control supplies. Know how to shut off electricity and how to reset your sump pump.
  • Consider A Water-powered backup – These pumps draw energy from the water and don’t require electricity. Provides backup when the power goes out if properly installed.
  • Get a Surge Protector- electrical surges from storms can damage sump pumps. A whole house surge protector protects against voltage spikes.
  • Check The Airtight Lid- Make sure the sump pit airtight lid is sealed. This prevents radon gas and humid air from entering the basement. 
  • Upgrade Sump Pit Size– Larger pits between 24-30 inches provide more storage capacity for water before the pump needs to cycle on.
  • Inspect Drain Tiles– Use a drain tile scope annually to check for cracked, damaged, or obstructed drain tiles that could back up water.


Consider hiring a professional to prevent sump pump overflow and other basement flood prevention projects.

Call Draincom at 905-238-6800 or use our contact form and we’ll call you back. You’ll get a free inspection and quote.







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