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What is a sump pump?

A sump pump is an important tool when it comes to protecting your home from flooding.

It’s a mechanical device installed in the basement of a home. It sits in a sump pit, around three feet deep and two feet in diameter. The device will pump water that has flowed into the pit via the home’s weeping tile system, out to an area far away from the home’s foundation. It’s a vital tool to have as our climate continues to change and levels of precipitation increase.

But it won’t help you out much if the sump pump is not working. What do you do in the event of a malfunction, and water is overflowing into your basement, causing thousands of dollars in damage? How do you fix it?

sump pump

liberty sump pump


If the sump pump is overflowing, or not working properly, it could be that it was not installed correctly. We see that a lot, where a homeowner installed a sump pump incorrectly, or a company was brought in and did shoddy work.

Sump pump installation and repair is best left in the hands of waterproofing professionals, to start.

Canada Waterproofers is your go-to source for basement waterproofing, including sump pump installation, or sump pump replacement, in Toronto. Installation is a major excavation job. The sump pump specialists will jackhammer the concrete floor, dig the pit, connect the weeping to the pit, install the liner and pump, then make sure the device is operating properly.

It could be that the wrong-size pump was installed in the pit – meaning it’s running non-stop and at risk of breaking down just to keep up with all the water seepage.

If the check valve on the sump pump (which monitors that water is flowing outside of the home instead of back into the pit) is broken then you run the risk of the pump breaking down and water overflowing from the pit into your basement.

Another cause of a malfunction is dirt or impediments that clog the pump and the switches on it, like the impeller, which is the part of the sump pump that spins and pushes water from the basin out to the discharge pipe.

It could also be that there is simply too much water flowing in, because of a rising water table beneath the home, or excess rain, and you need a second pump to keep your home dry.

Professional companies like Canada Waterproofers provide 25-year transferable warranties on exterior and interior basement waterproofing – all materials and labour – and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on sump pumps.

Submersible tanks typically last around ten years. Sump pump back-up includes a battery system that will take over if there is a power blackout – a common occurrence when there is a bad storm. We all lead busy lives, and it’s understandable that a properly working sump pump is not top of mind.


With a sump pump battery system, the homeowner has the peace-of-mind knowing water is constantly being pumped out of the home, helping to keep the home safe, healthy and dry. There is also a back-up pump option that is run via a connection to the municipal water supply – no electricity or battery needed.

If the power is still on in your home, and your pump is not working, re-set it by turning it off and on, or unplugging it, then plugging it back in.

Check the float switch – make sure it is activating the motor (you could be looking at mechanical failure if this isn’t working). Check to see if there is a blown fuse in the home. The discharge line from the sump pump might also be blocked, causing the unit to back up, or there could be dirt or debris in the basin that is preventing it from operating properly. Unplug the unit if you are reaching into a water-filled basin to check that.

If it’s still not working after all that, and water is building up, it’s time to replace the unit.

The City of Toronto sump pump rebate is something important to keep in mind. Knowing that sewers can become overloaded during heavy rainstorms, the City of Toronto offers owners of single-family, duplex and triplex homes a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property for the installation of floor prevention devices like sump pumps.

A good rule of thumb for homeowners – inspect the sump pump system in your home every spring and fall, to make sure it’s operating properly. Routine maintenance can save you a lot of headaches.

We are standing by to step in and help. Call Canada Waterproofers Toronto for a free assessment and quote.

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  • Waterproofing

  • Drain Repair

  • Plumbing

  • 100% free estimate

  • 25 year transferable warranty

  • Fully Insured