Our basement bathroom has a water ejector/sump pump, as seen here : Basement sump setup

I've heard it running every hour today and last night, yet no one has used it. We had a heavy rain on Monday but no water since. I went downstairs today to open the lid by removing the bolts and they snapped(heavily rusted). 2 questions:

  1. Why does it keep running every hour and how would I test it?

  2. Can I remove the old bolts and just use silicone bathroom caulking to reseal it? In the pictures in the link, I believe we have plumbers putty in place and it's cracked in a portion so the PVC pipe shakes and I imagine it isn't sealed. https://imgur.com/a/oUtSQba

  • Where is the PVC cracked? The sump likely cannot achieve proper siphoning due to unexpected air. You test it by dumping water in the pit.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 18:57
  • It's cracked on the plumbers putty actually, here is an image and you can see the crack. imgur.com/gallery/CAIzgG5
    – joshhouse
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 19:01
  • In regards to the rusted out bolts/screws. Can I go ahead and remove the rest and just do a silicone caulking?
    – joshhouse
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 19:02
  • 1
    Yes, you'll need to remove the bolts or nuts to access the pit. The lid should be mechanically re-fastened after you are done so that no one accidentally falls in. It's no accident that you see 8 bolt holes around the lid. No, silicone is not a mechanical fastener. A small child falling in head first will have traumatic consequences.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 19:09
  • 1
    Try spraying some PB Penetrating Catalyst on them 2 or 3 times fifteen minutes apart. That stuff works wonders for car work. The ones which have snapped off will have to be drilled out. I'm not terribly surprised that they're snapping off considering that a sump pit is always damp. Feel free to curse at the installer who chose a rusting metal over something like stainless steel or brass.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


Running without use would make the first suspect be that the toilet (or other fixture, but the toilet is the usual one) is leaking, which you'd typically check for by shutting off the water supply to the toilet.

If the pump stops running and the toilet tank is down, without anybody flushing it, plain old common toilet leak.

As for the rusty bolts: Grind, drill, or whatever it takes to destructively remove the rusted bolts, and install 8 new stainless steel ones. Put some anti-seize compound on those for good measure.

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