sump pump repairs

A Checklist for Sump Pump Repair

For plumbers looking to expand their list of services, working on sump pumps is not the wrong place to start. 24-hour sump pump repair is a service that many businesses look into specifically because it’s so critical to their businesses. A sump pump may go without use for most of the year, but in heavy rain, floods, or snow, a sump pump can be the difference between business and usual and a flooded basement/room/storage area. Because of this, plumbers will always have a steady set of customers if they offer this service, but they need to know how to do so. Here are the steps that go into a typical sump pump repair process.

Sump Pump Repair: Scout The Root Problem

Assuming that you’re not just going to replace the pump outright, you need to figure out what exactly is wrong before implementing a solution. Here’s a brief look at some common sump pump issues.

sump pump
Photo by Robin J Gentry

Too much work: In some cases, your customer may just have one sump pump where they need more, or perhaps at least a stronger single one. A battery-operated backup one may also be necessary.

No water in the sump pit: This generally stems from a pump that either wasn’t properly installed or isn’t linked to the drainage system.

Clogged pumps: A few issues can lead to this, from dirt and debris to the float switch getting stuck.

Discharge line problems: Water is expelled from the pump via a discharge line, but in some cases, these can get frozen or clogged up.

Power loss: This can lead to a major one-two punch, where a storm knocks your power out and floods a basement or room. This is why a backup pump that runs on batteries is recommended.

Continuous running: If a pump constantly runs, this can cause it to wear out before its time. Stuck switches or missing valves are a common example.

Detach From The Existing System And Administer Repair

Your next step will be removing the pump from the system to service it properly. Ensure all electricity running to the pump is shut off, remove the cover underneath the basin before unplugging the sump pump. You should also take a look at the PVC pipe that connects the pump to the discharge line. This will help you determine the length of a new one that you should cut before removing the old pipe and pulling the sump pump out of the pit.

At this point, you can take a closer look at the pump and make the repairs you need to, whether that means adding new parts, recalibrating, or flat out getting a new pump.

Photo by Amelia Martin


When you’ve made your repair or replacement, you want to make sure that you take some key steps after cutting your PVC pipe and reattaching it to the drainage system. First, you want to ensure that the pump is level against the concrete floor. Also, make sure that the float switch is clear of obstruction and set at a proper height. After this, you can connect the discharge line to the pipe and bring back the electricity. Be sure that your pump is capable of handling the incoming water. Most plumbers fill a bucket with water and pour it into the pit to simulate stormwater and ensure that the pump is doing its job.

A Post-Mortem Discussion

If you simply fix the problem and leave a written report, you may be doing the minimum, but you’re also doing your customer a disservice. Plumbing customers want to know that their professionals are doing the most for them. With this said, make sure that you discuss with them after your work is done to make sure that that they understand what was wrong with their sump pump, what you did to properly fix it or replace it, and even what they may be able to do to ensure that the issue doesn’t happen again. This also gives them a chance to ask you any relevant questions about the job or your reporting before leaving.

Recommend Accessories

If you’re dealing with a customer with a history of sump pump issues, you may want to take that post-repair discussion, or the original appraisal of the job, to mention some sump pump accessories that they may want to invest in. It’s less about trying to upsell them and more about giving them a proper understanding of what they can do to make upkeep easier. For example, a sump pump water alarm can help alert when the pit’s water level has gotten too high. This gives customers the chance to act before a property becomes flooded. Basement water alarms have a similar function for residential customers with a sump pump in their basements. These can be set to give off an alarm when as little as one millimeter of water is present.

Construction Software

Investing In Project Management Software

Are you surprised at this addition? Yes, project management software may not necessarily fall into the sump pump repair parts category, but it can be a critical tool for many reasons. For one thing, you need to be able to keep track of how different repair jobs are going and the type of equipment that’s being used for each. By using project management software like eSUB, you can track employees and equipment via the cloud from anywhere.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of project management software is with the help of managing sump pump repair costs. On the one hand, if your quoted prices are too high, potential customers will end up looking elsewhere for services. On the other hand, if you lowball too far, jobs suddenly lose their profitability. This is where project management software is key, helping you compare bids and actuals, so you are striking the key balance.