How to test my sump pump?

How to test my sump pump?

One of the most common questions our Comfort Heroes get every spring is, “How do I test my sump pump?” In March of 2019 Sioux Falls, South Dakota experienced unprecedented flood events which caused massive property damage. 2019 Sioux Falls’ wettest year for second year in a row.


The farmer’s almanac predicts an unusually wet 2020. It would be prudent for you to check your home’s sump pump. This way you can ensure that it is working properly should be at the top of your spring cleaning list.

How to Test A Sump Pump

The easiest way to test your sump pump is to use a bucket to add water into the pit. If you have a hose spigot handy you can also use a garden hose to add water. As the water fills the pit it will raise the sump pump float. The float is what turns the pump on and off. As the water rises it lifts the float to the activation point. Once the sump pump turns on it empties the pit, thereby lowering the float to the deactivation point. As the sump pump pit is emptied the pump’s float will lower until the pump will turn off. Adding more water to the pit will repeat the process. You will want to run the sump pump through multiple cycles on and off to ensure that your sump pump is working correctly.


What should I do if my sump pump isn’t running?

Whether you are filling your sump pump pit with water to test it, or you just realized that it’s raining and you haven’t heard your sump pump turn on, we have a quick test you can do before calling our team of Comfort Heroes for an emergency plumbing repair.


Most of the sump pumps that we come across throughout the Sioux Empire do not use an integrated float system. One major exception to this is the Zoeller line of sump pumps, such as the popular Model 53. If your sump pump plug looks like the one to the left then we have a quick test you can run.

If you look closely in the picture above you will see that there are two plugs coming from the sump pump. One plug is connected into the other plug which is then installed into the wall outlet. The sump pump’s plug goes into the float’s plug which then goes into the wall outlet. The float is simply a switch which opens the circuit when the pump doesn’t need to run and closes the circuit when the pump needs to run.

You can quickly check if the pump’s float is bad by simply unplugging the sump pump from the float and plugging the sump pump plug directly into the outlet. If your pump starts running then either your pump float is bad or it is stuck. Depending on the age of the system we would normally recommend replacement. These systems are not expensive to install when compared to the potential damage that can come from a sump pump not working correctly and flooding a basement.

Why won’t my sump pump work?

If your sump pump still won’t run even after bypassing the float then it is time to call our team of Comfort Heroes and setup an emergency plumbing service call. Our Comfort Heroes are always on call to handle your plumbing repair needs throughout Sioux Falls. Schedule your appointment today by calling 605-206-3303.

Alan Gentry is the founder of Comfort Heroes Plumbing, Heating & Air. He is proud husband, father and a master plumber as well as master HVAC mechanic. The Comfort Heroes, LLC serves homeowners in Sioux Falls, SD and the surrounding areas.