When your sewer pump starts working, it can quickly turn into a disaster. You may find a pool of dirty water on the basement floor before you even realize anything is wrong. While your first instinct may be to call in someone to repair the pump, you may want to take a minute and check the float switch. Sometimes they go out, and fixing one can be as quick as a trip to the hardware store, and as cheap as twenty bucks.

It May Just Be The Floater

If your sewer pump is like most, it operates using a floater. This floater tells the pump when the water level has risen high enough to turn on. The floater triggers the pump, and it starts expelling all of the waste water out of your basement. But sometimes the switch will go bad. In fact, most switches don't last as long as the life of a good sewer pump.

Most of the time, the switch on your pump will have a separate power cord than the pump itself. When the pump is installed, it will be plugged into a piggyback plug. This will look like a small extension plugged into the outlet. The power cord for the pump will be plugged into this extension. This piggyback design ensures that the pump only turns on when the floater switch tells it to.

Testing The Floater Switch and The Pump

Testing the switch is easy, but the first thing you want to do when the pump stops working is to check the circuit breaker. If the circuit was thrown for some reason, the pump won't work even if the switch is good. Once you have verified the breaker is good, then you can test the switch.

To test if the switch is bad, all you have to do is unplug the power cord for the pump from the piggyback extension. Then take the pump cord and plug it directly into the outlet. If the pump is still good, it will kick on as soon as you plug it into the outlet.

If the pump is good, you know the problem is the floater switch. You can find a universal replacement at any hardware store. The replacement switch will come with instructions on replacement. It shouldn't take you more than a half hour to switch it out.

If the pump is bad, you will want to call in a sewer pump repair contractor such as Forrest Sewer Pump Service. The contractor can tell you if repair is an option, or if you are better off going with a new pump.