How often should the Sump Pump run?


Old 01-02-06, 10:50 AM
sixthhour's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 11
Question How often should the Sump Pump run?

We just bought a 10 year old home before this winter. It has a drywall finished basement with a sealed sump pump. As the snow is melting, I can hear the sump pump working. There is no visible evidence (or suspicion) of flooding/leaking.

My question is: How often should this pump be going on? I guess my concern is that I hear our pump go on probably once every hour or so - and does that mean there is poor drainage of water around the property and that the water is heading toward the house rather than away? Shouldn't the pump only go on if there is a "critical" amout of water? I am just concerned that our house/basement requires the pump to go on so frequently that we might be at high risk for future basement problems.

Perhaps I just have new homeowner anxiety.

Thank you.
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Old 01-02-06, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,130
How often should the Sump Pump run?

It is good that it going on. If not your drain tile is plugged and you might have a wet basement.

Exterior drainage will definitely have an effect of the frequency. You should review your drainage in the spring to see if improvements could be made. In cold climates, the existance of frost in the ground will also have an effect. Frozen ground will not absorb the melting snow from the surface, so the surface drainage is more critical.

Normally, the ground around a foundation is not frozen as deeply as in an area further away, so it can collect more moisture. This is due to the protection afforded by a structure, higher average temperature and latent heat of the soil.

Every house and location is different as you might imagine. At my old home, the running of the sump pump in the spring was a sign that the frost would be going out of the ground in a few days. My sump pump never came on during or immediately after a heavy rain, but it started a day or so later and would run heavily for a couple of days until the excess ground water was removed or drained away.

Old 01-02-06, 05:54 PM
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I have a 99 built house, and mine runs alot. On a average day, maybe 5 times for 30 seconds a time. On a real rainy day, maybe once an hour!! We have very heavy clay in my area, so I think maybe thats part of the reason, that it doesnt absorb water well. You can be sure the stock 'builder' sump pumps are a piece of *hit. After mine went out a year ago, I bought a lifetime warrenty 'Ridgid' at home depot and when I installed it the difference between the two is very apparent.
You also might want to look into a backup for power outages(battery system?) I know thats one thing Im going to do as soon as the basements finished because I know if the power were to go out for a day or two, the drain tiles would be maxed out!!
Old 01-03-06, 05:29 AM
jasper_60103's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 168
I agree it varies location to location. My last house, the pump ran a lot. In my current home, not at all. I have to test it occassionally just to make sure it still works.
But definitely check to ensure you have proper drainage outside. I agree a good pump and backup system is worth the investment in your case.

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