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Not sure how often a sump should cycle. I have a battery backup installed in case of a failure and it has adequate flow to keep up. The pump runs for 10-15 seconds about every minute after a rain. In the picture you can see how much water is flowing in to the pit id say the rate is equivalent to a sink facuet at 1/2 to 3/4 open.

I did replace the check valve as i read that could cause it but the water isnt coming back in from the discharge pipe.

Is this to frequent? Where should i start looking?

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. To me, it sounds like the pump is running just fine, and you have a whole lotta water coming into the pit. Apr 16 '18 at 20:49
  • Did it used to cycle less frequently and you have noticed the rate increased recently, or is this the first time you’ve looked at how frequent the pump cycles? Aug 23 '19 at 12:12

Sump pumps normally have some type of water level monitoring sensor. Very typical is that this is some type of float mechanism that activates one or two switches. The idea behind this sensor system is to turn on the sump pump when the water rises to a certain level. Then the pump should run until the water level falls to some lower level. The better units will have two switches in the sensing mechanism, one which monitors the upper turn on level and another that monitors the lower level. Other cheaper units only have one switch to turn on the pump at the upper level and then use some other scheme to decide when to shut off the pump. That other scheme could be a flapper device, a timed cycle or just hysteresis built into the single sensor switch itself.

If your sump pump is turning on and off in rapid short bursts is probably means one of three things:

  1. The upper and lower level sensor points are adjusted too close together. As soon as the pump goes on it expels enough water to reach the lower level in a rather short period of time.
  2. Another possibility is that the sump pit is too small for the water inflow rate and the pump is able to expel all the water in short order even if the sensor points are adjusted properly.
  3. Then there is the possibility that the sump pump is seriously oversized for the size of the pit and can empty in a short period of time.

From your question details it sounds like the most likely scenario in your situation is the item 1) above.

  • Thanks for the response my unit has a float with one switch i only can move it up or down in the pit but i dont see any way to adjust the amount of travel. It does empty about 12" of water when it cycles. I have an idea how a sump works, but was more curious about what would be considered an acceptable cycle rate before heat became a problem. Also where to start looking if the drain tile is dumping that much water in.
    – Jack
    Apr 16 '18 at 13:27

This isn't necessarily too frequent as the water the pump is sitting in acts too cool the pump. The bigger concern is why so much water is coming in. One thing you may check is whether the discharge is carrying the water far enough away. It is possible that the discharge is either too close to the house or leaking in such a way that the water the pump is expelling is simply sinking back into the same sump. I have had a similar situation and adding a 15 foot hose on the end temporarily made a huge difference.


I had a similar situation. I ended up having some clogged buried downspouts. Once I fixed those, my sump pump ran a lot less.

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