How Long Should a Sump Pump Run Per Cycle

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Last Updated on May 15, 2022 by Alexander A. Smith

A sump pump is a must to install when your house has a basement, and you want to keep it free from getting flooded. In the water system of your basement, it plays a vital role by pumping all the unnecessary water out from there. 

Thus, you will get rid of the water damages and frequent repairing of your basement. Now, after the installation is done, most people don’t know how long should a sump pump run per cycle. Depending on the sump pump types, the duration of running per cycle may vary. 

How Long Should a Sump Pump Run Per Cycle

Types of Sump Pump Motors 

The motor inside the sump pump works as the driving force for pumping the water out. While setting up a sump pump in your basement, you must choose the right type of motor first. If not so, you might face problems in the long run along with the cost and damage increasing.  

Now, there are two types of sump pump motors, and those are: 

1. Intermittent Duty Motor 

2. Continuous Duty Motor 

Intermittent Duty Motor 

From the name of this sump pump motor, it is easy to understand that these are for intermittent duty. The sump pumps built with these types of motors come with the capability of an average duty cycle of 20 minutes per hour. You can run them for a longer period, but that won’t be helpful for the sump pump’s lifespan.  

These sump pumps are required when your basement doesn’t always remain watery. When comparatively less water is near the sump pit, the intermittent motor pump is perfect.  

Continuous Duty Motor 

The sump pumps built with these continuous-duty motors are for doing the heavy tasks. You can run these sump pumps for hours without even stopping them for a single time. But it is not suitable for all the basements for pumping the water out from there. Before purchasing one of these, make sure your basement really requires it. 

It is suitable for those basements where water remains 24 hours a day near the sump pit. Then, you can run it for more than 24 hours until there is no water left. But, you shouldn’t buy it when your basement is not that floody. Instead, you should buy an intermittent-duty motor sump pump. 

How Long Should a Sump Pump Run Per Cycle 

Most people do have an idea about what a sump pump does and where the work takes place. But a huge number among them, unfortunately, don’t know about how often a sump pump should run.  They also hardly have an idea about the duration of a sump pump running per cycle. 

It mainly depends on the amount of water that is in your basement, and now, let’s know in detail about it:  

When the Amount of Water is Comparatively More 

If your basement remains flooded for the most of the time in a day, you must use a sump pump that comes with a continuous-duty motor. You can run it for a long time until all the water is pumped out of the basement and there is no cycle here.  

All you need to do is make sure that your basement really needs it and water remains near the sump pit 24 hours a day. Mainly in the rainy season, you will have to run the sump pump for a longer period. But if the sump pump starts running without any reason, then there is a reason for you to worry. 

How Long Should a Sump Pump Run

When the Amount of Water is Comparatively Less 

Water won’t always be much to flood your basement, and the sump pump usage is most likely to remain moderate. That’s why intermittent motor sump pumps are used mostly worldwide. These pumps ruin a cycle for a certain period regarding the water in your basement. 

Though you can run it continuously for a long time, it will be hamperous for the pump’s lifespan. When the level of water in your house basement reaches the sump pit, it will activate the float switch. You can set the cycle of the running of your sump pump. If the water level rises at a higher rate, you should set it 20 minutes every 1 hour. 

When there is hardly any water in the basement, you can set the timing in 5 seconds every one hour. But, when there is no water, but your sump pump runs for 5 seconds after every 1 hour, there is a technical problem in the pump.  

It won’t be a pleasant experience to hear the noisy sound of the pump frequently when there is no water. You also may face the sump pump running every 2 minutes or so when the water level rises or because of rain. Then all you can do is make sure the sump pump is handling the pumping task perfectly. 

But the sump pump can also run frequently every 2 minutes without any water in the basement because of malfunctioning. If this happens, check the basement and then contact a specialist to solve the issue. 


How long is a sump pump supposed to last in the basement? 

The lifespan of a sump pump depends on some factors like model, motor type, and duty pressure. If you continue running the pump for a longer period, the lifespan will reduce gradually. With proper care, your sump pump can serve you for at least 10 years. But many specialists suggest changing a sump pump every 5 years. 

Should I be worried when my sump pump starts to run continuously? 

Based on the motor type, your sump pump can run continuously for slightly more than 24 hours in the rainy season. But, if the pump constantly runs when there is no water in the sump pit, then there is a reason to worry. You must consult with the specialist and check the pump as early as you can. 

Things Sump Pump Owners NEED to Know

Final Thoughts 

The necessity of a sump pump is enormous when your house is comparatively in the lower area. Your basement can get flooded often, and the sump pump can pump the water out. But before purchasing a sump pump, decide which type of motor you want in the pump first. 

At the same time, you may also wonder about how long should a sump pump run per cycle. Gathering proper information about it from the discussion above will help you to operate the pump correctly. Along with that, you will also be able to find out the issue quickly when there is a malfunction. 

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