Troubleshooting Pedestal Sump Pumps

Since pedestal sump pumps usually work all the time, especially during the wet seasons, there may be times when they will not work or will not work up to par. It is best that the pump be given immediate attention so as not to risk flooding in your basement or cellar. Before considering replacing the pump, do some troubleshooting first to check how severe the problem is. It could just be a minor problem since these pedestal sump pumps are usually very sturdy and robust.

Routine Check

Start off by wearing rubber boots for safety. If there is any water on the floor of your basement, the boots will insulate you from any possible electric shock. Do the usual routine checks first, such as checking that it’s plugged in, the switch is turned on, and the circuit breaker for any blown fuses. Be sure your hands are dry before touching any electric connections.

Float Switch

If your pump utilizes a float switch, check to see that it is free to move. The float switch is usually a black round plastic orb with a wire connected to the pump. If it gets trapped under debris or other obstruction, it will not work and therefore, the pedestal sump pump will not work.


If you determine that your pedestal sump pump is running, but there is no water running through it, it probably has a clogged drainpipe. Turn the pump off and remove it from the electrical socket. Loosen the drainpipe connected to the pump and then remove it completely. Check the inside of the pipe for any dirt or debris that may have clogged the path of the water. If there is something clogging the pipe, clean it out until the pipe is free of dirt and reconnect the pipes.

Inlet Pipe

Now check the pipe where the water comes in. Do the same procedure as with the drainpipe, removing any clogged debris if necessary. Also, check the intake screen at the bottom for any traces of dirt or trash that may have clogged it. A clogged inlet will slow the pump’s intake of water to a crawl and it may not be able to suck up any water.


Finally, check the pump’s motor for proper running. If you have checked everything else and it still fails to turn on, the motor could be the problem. If you’re up to it, open up the pump and take the motor out if you can. Try to dissect the motor for any debris that may have clogged it, thus hampering its efficiency. Clean it with a clean cloth if that is the case. Also look for burned or warped components within the motor so you more or less know which part to replace. Also determine if the motor is well oiled. Like any motor or machine, it also has to be well lubricated in order to function properly. Especially since pedestal sump pumps are always immersed in water, which causes rust formation.