My sump pail has been dry for almost 2 months now if not 3. But we had a rain storm last week and 2 days now i heard it kick in here and there. problem is, I went outside and I don't see any water being discharged from the outside drain when the sump pump is kicking on. Is this normal? and if it is, what is making the sump pup kick on if the pit is dry? I though water builds up in the pit which make the floater in the sump pump rise then the pump kicks on?

Help please... much appreciated.

  • Have you removed the cover to verify water in the pit? How long does the pump run? Sounds like you may have a faulty trigger switch if there is no water to be found outside or in the pit. – peinal Nov 7 '19 at 12:56
  • Is the water going up and down in the pail? Are you sure you're looking at the right exit point? Surely there are more clues you can provide. – isherwood Nov 7 '19 at 19:36
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. The water must be going somewhere, and it has to go outside the basement for the pump to be any use at all. However, there's no way we could figure out what's happening from here. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Nov 7 '19 at 20:00
  • Check the plumbing running out of the pump. It could be that the pump is emptying into the sewer line instead of outside. This may have been a somewhat common practice in the past, but it's probably a code violation in most jurisdictions today. – FreeMan Nov 7 '19 at 21:30

If the float is triggering it to start the pump, but there is insufficient water to where the pump sucks air via a vortex, it will not pump out. That then means your float is not adjusted properly; it should not trigger on until there is enough water to avoid it sucking in air.

Sometimes when there is heavy inflow and a pump that that was too small, people lower the float switch trip point in order to get the pump started earlier if it was having trouble keeping up with the flow. That's not the way to fix that problem, the fix is to get a bigger pump.

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If the pit is dry, and the pump runs, you need to check the float switch for correct operation. You're right about how the sump pump should work. There might have been just enough water to trip the pump but not enough to fill the discharge pipe, although the float usually isn't that sensitive

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