How Long Should A Sump Pump Run Per Cycle?

You might know about sump pumps if you live in a house with a basement. These can be your saviors when you have heavy rainfalls and floods. Sump pumps help you get rid of all the water that can pour into your basement and cause extreme damage. All of them have different capacities and duty cycles. A detailed discussion on how long should a sump pump run per cycle is done below so you can buy the right one for your house. Read the article to know the minimum time a pump should run per cycle.

How Long Should A Sump Pump Run Per Cycle

How Long Should A Sump Pump Run Per Cycle?

What is a Sump Pump?

The sump pump has been around for years now. It is a small motor/device that is fixed into the basement or the lowest area of your house. This helps in getting rid of the water that floods your house. Water after the heavy rainfalls overflows and enters your house. A sump pump will help you evacuate all the water from the basement and prevent extreme damage. A wide variety of sump pumps are available in the market. You can buy the one that fulfills your requirements in case the house starts flooding.

How Does It Work?

A sump pump has a one-time installation but it is a tricky one. A pit is made near the basement of your house. This is where all the water is gathered when you experience heavy rainfall or floods, especially during the monsoon season. All the water from around the house gathers into the pit. The pump is fixed into the sump pit and starts working when the water level exceeds a certain limit. Also, check out Should There Be Water In My Sump Pump Pit.

How Does It Work

A small fan-like motor is used to throw the water out and prevent it from entering the basement. Pipes are used to carrying the water away from the house so there is no chance of it returning. These discharge pipes are one way so the water does not flow back. Hence the pump keeps on working unless the water is out of the pit.

How Long Should A Sump Pump Run Per Cycle?

A sump pump can work for 6 to 24 hours depending upon the quality, power, and build. If you invest in a good quality sump pump, it will work for almost 18 to 24 hours per cycle. It comes with a powerful motor that works till the last drop of water is evacuated out of the pit. Batteries are as a backup also installed in it so the performance is not hindered in case of a power outage.

While on the other hand, a low or average-quality sump pump will work for 4 to 8 hours only. The motor is not efficient enough to work continuously for a day. Hence the run per cycle of a sump pump varies in each model. It depends upon the quality and the motor. A high-quality sump pump that runs for at least a day is best if you live in an area surrounded by water. Although, it does not work every day but should be on standby in case of rains or emergencies.

Types of Sump Pumps

The two types of sump pumps i.e the pedestal pumps and submersible pumps have the same working mechanism. The only difference lies in the placement. A pedestal sump pump is placed away from the water and evacuates it from a distance. Whereas, a submersible sump pump is placed in the water while the motor works. Hence both of them have the same function and purpose.

Types of Sump Pump Motors

Just like the types, the sump pumps have two different motors. Let me discuss them one by one in detail so you can decide the best option for yourself.

Intermittent Motor

The intermittent motor is not suitable for heavy-duty tasks. The sump pumps using the intermittent motors will work for 15 to 20 hours only. They do not have a duty cycle of more than 20 hours. Although these can work for a day, they will damage the motor and the pump might not work the next time. Overusing the motor will have an effect on the motor’s lifespan and efficiency.

Types of Sump Pump Motors

Continuous Motor

As by the name, the continuous motor can work for 24 hours or more depending upon the amount of water in the sump pit. The motor continues to work until all the water is evacuated from the pit, hence leaving behind no chances of entering the basement. This is ideal for people who live near the water and have a high risk of floods. Continuous motors are best for performing heavy-duty tasks that take a day or more to get completed.


Is it normal for a sump pump to run every 3 minutes?

Yes, it is normal for a sump pump to run after every three minutes as it depends upon the amount of water present in the pit. If the water level exceeds the limit after every few minutes, the pump will start the motor to push the water out into the discharge pipes.

Should there be water in my sump pump pit?

Yes, the sump pump pit can have a little amount of water in it. It is completely normal to see water in the pit as the pump starts working when the water level exceeds a certain point. When the level is below the limit, the motor isn’t working.

Why does my sump pump fill up so fast?

The main reason that your sump pump fills up so fast is that it has limited capacity or a blocked discharge pipe. There can be a possibility that the water evacuated by the motor comes back in because the valve is not one way.


A detailed discussion on a sump pump’s run per cycle is done in the article above. You can read it carefully to know the duty cycles of pumps using different motors. It is recommended by the experts to purchase the sump pumps after inquiring about their capacities and the motor. The pumps and the motors have the same functions but different duty cycles.

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