Why My Sump Pump Running Every 5 Minutes: Causes With The Possible Fixes

Did the sump pump run every 5 minutes? It can happen if the sump pumps malfunction or wear out.  Running every 5 minutes can cause expenses over time. So you should find reasons and solve them as soon as possible.

Usually, houses with a basement have a sump pump to prevent excessive moisture and keep your basement dry. But sometimes it may not work properly and starts every few seconds.

If you don’t know much about a sump pump, we will tell you about the problems and how to solve them. To know all the reasons and their solutions you have to read out this article very carefully.

Reasons Why Sump Pump Running Every 5 Minutes

Usually, a sump pump starts automatically a maximum of one or two times a day.  When it is the rainy season, it may work a few more times. But running every 5 minutes is not normal.

Some reasons can cause this to your sump pump. In the rainy season, the sump pump runs every minute during heavy rain. Or, in the spring season, the snow starts melting, and that can cause the pump to run continuously.

Common reasons for this problem can be seasonal underground water flows. That is not a matter of concern for you. But a broken underground water main, a negative ground grade of your house basement, or some other situations that you should check and fix.

If it is not rainy season or spring and your pump is frequently running, it may be the sump pump itself have issues. The common problem can happen with a sump pump, and possible solutions are listed below:

Problems Can HappenPossible Solutions
Broken valveReplace the valve
clogged Discharge lineClean the line
Clogged sump pitUse a lid and clean the sump pit regularly
Improper height ofSump pitCalculate and install a proper sump pit
Insufficient or low pump pressureCheck and set the pump

We listed the 5 most common reasons why your sump pump runs very frequently in the list above. Did you find out what reason listed here is causing your basement flooding or running the pump again and again? If not, then check your pump to find the possible reasons for malfunctioning quickly.

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Let’s see the details of why your sump pump is running every 5 minutes with their possible solutions.

Problem 1: Broken Check Valve

There is a one-way valve in the pump line. That allows water to be pumped out of the sump pit. As it is a one-way valve, the water can not flow back into the pit.

But this process of preventing water from coming back can be interrupted. Over years of using the pump, the valve can be worn out and stay open. That can cause the water to flow back into the sump pit.

Flowing water back can keep your sump pump running every few minutes. Continuous running of your sump pump will cause excessive damage to the pump. So you must solve this as you came to know.

Possible Solution

The possible solution for a broken check valve is to replace it. It is an inexpensive part of the pump, so you can easily replace it.

You have to unplug the pump line first. Then remove the valve from the line and place the new valve there.

Problem 2: Discharge Line Clogged with Dirt 

Did you check for the valve? But the valve is not broken, but you still do not have a clue why your sump pump is running so much. Then it is time to check the discharge line of the pump.

The pump’s discharge line can get clogged with any dirt and prevent the water from draining. Also, the discharge line can freeze if the outside temperature is very low. That flows back the water to the basement and can keep running the pump constantly.

Possible Solution

To solve this problem, you need to find the frozen spot or clog early. If you can spot the clog, it is possible to clear it by yourself.

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To check the clog, you can use a shop vac. First, you have to disconnect the line from the pump. Then attach the shop vac on one end and check for a clog. If you can not clean this yourself, you can call a plumber for professional help.

Problem 3: Clogged Sump Pit

The sump pit of the pump can get clogged with dirt and debris in your basement when the sump pit does not have a lid on it. Because of the derbies, the pump will lose its function. The derbies can jam the floating switch. That will prevent the water from discharging through the valve.

Possible Solution

There is a possible solution to getting rid of this clogged pump or switch. It is not that expensive to do.  To prevent this clogging, you should install a proper size lid on the pit. And another is to keep your sump pit clean regularly.

Problem 4: Sump Pit Size Is Not Proper

Sump pit size can also be a matter of your regret. If the water table of your basement is high, your sump pit will fill with water very early. That can cause running your pump very frequently.

Possible Solution

The solution for a smaller or larger pit is to raise the height of the sump pit. To do that, you should call a  professional plumber.

He will help you calculate the basement’s size, groundwater levels, and the proper size of the pit for your home. With this, you can solve your problem without buying a new pump.

Problem 5:  Low Pump Pressure

Installing a low-pressure power pump that is not adequate at all for your home may trouble you. The basement will get flooded, and the pump will run after every few minutes. It can also happen when the pump loses power over time after a long time of use.

Possible Solution

To avoid this situation, you need to be sure first about the pressure of the pump you need for your home. Then install a proper power pump for your water draining. If the pump is losing over time, you can install a new one appropriate for your basement.

Again, replacing the float switch also help sometimes.

Note: Though you can solve these problems on your own, it is always good to get professional help while installing or repairing the sump pump.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Should A Sump Pump Run Between Cycles?

A sump pump may run for 5 seconds every 20 minutes. But in the rainy season or spring, it can run even longer than days after the snow starts to melt.

What Do I Do If My Sump Pump Keeps Running?

If your sump pump is running continuously, you need to clean the pump and the sump pit. After cleaning, if the problem is still not solved, then take help from a professional.

Will A Sump Pump Burn Out If It Runs Continuously?

Yes, if your sump pump runs continuously for a very long time, it may get hot. And the excessive heat will burn out the pump.


If you have a question like, why is my sump pump running every 5 minutes? Then it would help if you read this article without skipping any parts where we have described the possible causes why your pump is running every few minutes.

Here you will also find the possible solutions to the problems that your sump pump can have so that you can fix the problem.

This article will help you find the reason behind the problem you are facing and solve it on your own. But taking professional help is good if you are not an expert.

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