Informational Guide

How To Reset A Sump Pump

by Ian Haynes

There is nothing worse than stepping down into your basement and feeling cold water beneath your feet. Your sump pump prevents this from happening by providing a space for all the excess groundwater to gather. Your sump pump and basin are usually located in the corner of your basement and will connect directly into your drainage system.  

Once a certain water level is reached in the basin, your sump pump will kick in to pump the water out of your home and into the drainpipes. Without a fully functional sump pump, you'll end up with water spilling out into your garage and house, potentially causing a lot of damage.  

From time to time, you'll need to reset your sump pump. In this article we'll help explain why it needs to be reset and give a full guide on how to reset a sump pump.  

Most sump pumps are designed to run with very little maintenance, and you won’t need to reset them very often. There are usually 3 main reasons that you would need to reset your sump pump: 

  • Power Surge Or Outage 
    Sump pumps are very sensitive to electrical changes, and this is the most common reason you'll need to reset your device. If there’s been a sudden outage in your area or you know that there’s been a power surge, you'll have to reset your pump to use it.  
  • Blockages In The Pump Motor 
    Small stones, dirt, and debris can all get into your sump pump. There is a filter to help keep these out, but it can become dirty and blocked over time. If any debris gets into your motor, it can cause it to overheat, and it will automatically shut off to prevent damage to the sump pump. You'll need to perform a reset before you can use the pump again.  
  • Blocked Drain Line 
    Blockages in your drain and discharge lines connected to your sump pump will prevent it from functioning properly. This will, in turn, mean that your pump must work harder, and it can start to overheat. This may lead to the pump shutting down and needing to be reset.  
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How To Reset A Sump Pump (Step-by-Step Guide) 

If you notice that your sump pump isn't working correctly, then you'll need to reset it. Most pumps will have a reset button located on the outside of the pump. You can start by using this button and seeing if the pump restarts. If not, you'll need to follow the steps below to get it working again.  

Before you get started, make sure you have the following items: 

  • Rags or old towels 
  • Pressure hose (or regular hose if not) 
  • Some cleaning materials 

1. Shut Off The Power 

For your safety, it's crucial to shut off the power to the sump pump before you do any work. You'll be working with electronics in a wet environment, so make sure that the pump is turned off and the power is off at the circuit breaker.  

2. Remove The Pump 

Take the cover off your sump basin, and you should be able to see the sump pump inside. Carefully remove the drainage pipes connected to the pump and make sure not to bend or break any of them. Some excess water will likely leak out, so make sure you aren't wearing any new clothes!  

Once the pump is disconnected, you should lay out the towel or rags on the floor and put the pump on top of them.  

3. Clean The Basin 

Dirt and grime will gather in the bottom of the pump, so it's important to take this opportunity to clean it out. The easiest way to do this is to use the pressure hose and then use cloths to clean out the remaining debris.  

4. Clean The Pump Filter 

Your sump pump will have a filter that needs to be cleaned periodically. This stops debris from getting into your motor and machine, so it's important that it's working correctly. You can usually remove the filter and hand wash it in a sink or use the pressure hose again.  

5. Check The Sump Pump 

Check the internal mechanism and the outsides of the pump for any blockages or damages. Small stones or other debris can block the motor, and rust on the outside can cause leaks within the pump. Remove and clean what you can, but you might want to get a professional involved if the damage is too severe.  

6. Check Your Drain Line  

Your drains can become clogged with dirt and grime, which will impact how the sump pump operates. Check both the drain and discharge lines for any visible blockages, and if needed, you can force some pressurized water through them to clear them out.  

7. Reattach Everything  

Your sump pump should be in a position where it can work properly now. Attach the drain lines and move the pump back into position within the basin.  

8. Reset The Pump  

Locate the reset button on the pump. This is normally on the outside of the device and relatively easy to find. Hold this for 5-10 seconds until it stays in, then turn the power back on. Hopefully, your pump is now working again. If you don’t have a reset button, just turn the device off and on, which should have the same effect.  


How To Reset Sump Pump Backup Battery 

Your sump pump is an important piece of equipment in your home and essential for keeping groundwater out. Most modern models have a battery backup so that they can keep running in the event of a power outage. However, your battery also needs to be reset from time to time in order to keep the pump in working order.  

There are two main reasons that you’ll need to reset your sump pump battery:  

Bad Battery  

Your battery may be faulty, or it could have low battery fluid, which prevents it from giving an adequate power supply.  

Loose Cables 

The cables around your battery may have become loose at some point. If this is the case, you’ll need to tighten them up for it to work.  

In almost every sump pump, the device will beep if there's an issue. This is usually a sign to check the battery and to reset it; you'll need to follow these steps:  

  • 1
    Check Your Pump 
    Follow the steps above about cleaning your pump and checking for any debris. You’ll need to make sure it’s all in working order before resetting the battery pack.  
  • 2
    Check The Battery Pack 
    Open up the battery pack itself and look for any loose wires or debris that could impact the performance.  
  • 3
    Reset The Battery 
    Locate the reset or test button on the outside of the sump pump. Press and hold it for 5-10 seconds until it stays in. Then, turn the device back on and see if the battery is providing enough power for the sump pump to work.  
  • 4
    Replace The Battery  
    If your sump pump still isn't working, it probably means the batteries have gone bad, and you will need to replace them as soon as possible.  

How To Reset Sump Pump Alarm 

Your sump pump has an alarm that will start to beep if the water level is getting too high. This generally means there's an issue with the pump's performance, and it isn't draining the excess water as it should. There are a few reasons why this happens:  

Power Issue 

If there’s not enough power reaching the sump pump, it will stop it from working and cause the alarm to go off when the water rises. This could be caused by the circuit or by the outlet itself.  

Sump Pump Not Working 

Your pump has stopped working for some reason and isn’t draining the water. This is causing the alarm to go off because the water level has risen too high. You’ll need to reset the device to get it functioning again. 

  • 1
    Check The Sump Basin 
    The first thing you should do is check the sump basin. If the alarm is going off, then the water should be in the top 6 inches of the basin. Don't turn the power off until you've confirmed the alarm is going off for the right reasons.  
  • 2
    Press The Alarm Reset Button 
    Start by pressing the alarm reset button, which is usually found on the electronic control panel. If this doesn't work immediately, then wait a few minutes and try again. You shouldn't press this button more than 3 times before moving on to the next step.  
  • 3
    Check The Breaker 
    If the pump isn't on, you should start by checking the circuit breaker. Make sure it's switched on, and if it isn't, you should perform all the steps to reset the pump.  
  • 4
    Check The Outlet 
    If your breaker isn't the issue, you need to check the outlet. Try plugging a different device into the outlet your sump pump is connected to and see if it works. If not, it means there's an electrical issue, and you'll need to consult a professional to help fix it.  
  • 5
    Reset The Pump  
    Finally, look to reset the pump using the steps earlier in the article. This should get the water draining again and stop the pump alarm from sounding. If it’s still going off, then you'll need to consult a professional and see if they can help you.  

Resetting Popular Sump Pump Models 

We've provided some general instructions on how to reset your sump pump, but every pump is slightly different. It's important to consult the user manual for every brand and follow their specific instructions so that you don't damage the pump. Here are some tips for resetting popular sump pump models: 

Zoeller  

Zoeller is one of the industry leaders when it comes to sump pumps. Their pumps are regarded as some of the most reliable on the market, but a common issue can occur with the floating arm getting stuck in the off position. Try to wiggle this about and see if this gets the pump working again.  

If you need to reset the pump, you should start by using the alarm reset button on the control to see if that works. If not, you should try unplugging it, waiting for 30 seconds, and then plugging it back in. This will usually work, but you can consult the user manual for more information. 

Everbilt  

Everbilt sump pumps are also very popular in the home, and you’ll find them in most local hardware stores.

If your Everbilt pump stops working, you should first check the fuse and the breaker. 

Check for any internal debris which can impact the impellor within the pump, and then unplug the device.

Leave it for 30-60 minutes, and then plug it back in again. This should resolve the issue, but more information can be found in the user manual.   

Everbilt 1-3 HP Pedestal Sump Pump

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Will unplugging the sump pump reset it? 

Yes, in most cases, if you unplug the sump pump, leave it for a few hours, and then plug it back in, it will reset the device.  

How do you tell if your sump pump is not working? 

The easiest way to tell if the sump pump isn’t working is that the water level will rise within the basin. Your sump pump alarm will start to beep when the water level gets within 6 inches of the top and give you an indication that your pump isn’t working properly.  

How often do sump pumps need to be reset? 

Your sump pump will only need to be reset if it stops working. Resetting it too often will cause issues, so only do it when there’s an issue with the pump. You will almost always need to reset it after any power outage or power surge.  

How do I make my sump pump kick in? 

To check if your sump pump is working properly, you can fill the basin with water until the float rises. This should activate the pump to drain water from your home. If it doesn't start, it means there’s an issue with the device.  


Conclusion

Your sump pump is one of the most important devices in your home, especially if you live in a wet area with a lot of excess groundwater. You need to keep it functioning correctly if you want to prevent water from seeping into your basement, and if there is an issue with the pump, you’ll probably need to reset it. Hopefully, this guide has helped explain when and how to reset your sump pump so you can get it working properly again as quickly as possible.  

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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