A sump pump is an essential device that protects homes from water damage due to flooding in basements and crawlspaces. If your home has problems with its sump pump, you might ask yourself, “Can you shower if your sump pump is not working?” 

The answer to that question depends on several factors, like the severity of the problem and whether your home has a backup system to mitigate water damage if the primary sump pump fails. Still, it’s usually best to avoid showering until you address your sump pump problem.

At Works Plumbing, we offer professional plumbing repair in Pacifica, CA, and the surrounding communities. Our skilled technicians are available to immediately inspect, repair, or replace your sump pump so your home has the protection it needs with no additional interruptions to your daily life. Here, we share details about showering with a faulty or failing sump pump. 

When you need help right away, call us at (650) 414-3511.

Where Does Shower Water Go?

If your home has a sump pump, any water that flows from your sink, dishwasher, toilet, washing machine, and shower goes into the sump pit. A sump pit is a basin in the floor of a basement or crawlspace that serves as a part of a home’s drainage system.

When water accumulates around the property’s foundation and under the basement or crawlspace, it goes into drain pipes that lead into the pit. Then the sump pump draws the water from the basin back outdoors. 

Is Showering Possible Without a Working Sump Pump?

Can you shower if your sump pump is not working? In short, no, you shouldn’t attempt showering until after you fix the sump pump and ensure it’s working correctly. However, you technically could use your bathroom under certain circumstances.

For instance, suppose your home loses power during severe thunderstorms, often leading to a flooded basement. In those cases, you wouldn’t be able to flush your toilet until the power resumes because the sump pump needs electricity to operate. Without power, water will accumulate in the sump pit because the pump can’t remove excess water until the electricity comes back on. 

The same goes for the shower. Unless your sump pump is working, the extra water in the pit could back up into your basement, resulting in substantial water damage. 

Some homes that are prone to basement flooding use backup systems, like a battery-operated sump pump or battery backup power inverter, for their sump pumps in cases of a power outage or equipment failure. If your sump pump problem is minor or you have one of these backups in place, you can follow these steps to shower safely without the full use of your primary basement sump pump:

  1. Fill your bathtub with several inches of water to maintain sufficient water pressure for a shower. 
  2. Put a basin or bucket under the showerhead to catch dripping water. 
  3. Let the shower run for at least two minutes before getting in to flush out dirty water.
  4. Shower normally. 

What Happens If a Sump Pump Isn’t Working Properly?

Sump pumps generally have a lifespan of about seven years, but they can experience problems long before they reach the end of their lifespan. Equipment malfunctions will cause water to accumulate in the sump pit until everything backs up into the basement. 

Basement flooding can lead to wet floors, damaged belongings, ruined electronics, and damp walls. The moisture can also cause mold to grow in your home, potentially leading to additional structural damage to the property and health problems due to the increase of mold spores circulating through your home’s indoor air.

Though you technically can shower if your sump pump stops working, you increase the risk of having flood damage by filling the sump pit with water from the shower. 

Why Would a Sump Pump Stop Working?

Sump pumps can stop working for several reasons beyond old age, like:

  • Clogs: If the equipment develops a blockage, it won’t be able to draw water from the pit to disperse outside. 
  • Incorrect installation: It’s necessary to have an experienced plumber install your sump pump because even minor installation errors can cause problems later on. 
  • Stuck float switch: The float switch detects the sump pit’s water level and controls the pump’s operation. If it becomes stuck, the device won’t turn on when the water level increases. 

A clear indicator that something is wrong with your sump pump is water pooling inside your basement or crawlspace. The problem could be due to a malfunction or a power outage. Still, you can perform a simple test to ensure the pump’s functionality before a flood occurs. 

To test your sump pump, pour water directly into the sump pit to raise the float switch. When the switch reaches its activation level, the pump should turn on immediately to remove the excess water from the pit. If it doesn’t turn on, something is wrong with the equipment. 

What Happens if a Storm Knocks Out Your Sump Pump?

If your sump pump appears fine but stops working during severe weather conditions, check its power source. The problem is likely a power outage.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do but wait for the electricity to come back on at your house. Instead of asking, “Can you shower if your sump pump is not working?” during a storm, it’s best to wait until the power comes back, test your sump pump, and then take a shower. 

Steps to Take if Your Sump Pump Is Not Working

If the power connections to the sump pump are good during a storm, but the equipment still isn’t working, test the float switch. You can also check to ensure nothing is blocking the drain pipes or the impeller, which moves water from the pit into the pump. Cleaning or replacing the impeller will fix any clogs within this component. 

Discharge pipes that disperse water outside from the sump pit can leak and cause water to back up into the house. Check for a leak by examining the foundation around the discharge pipe for signs of pooling water.

After fixing the problem with your sump pump, you must remove any water inside your basement immediately. You can use various equipment for water removal depending on the amount accumulating in your house’s lowest level, like:

  • A mop and a bucket
  • Old towels
  • Hand pump
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Battery-operated sump pump

Once you remove the water, you must quickly dry the basement to prevent mold growth. Mold only needs 24 to 48 hours after a flood to produce colonies that could grow at an uncontrollable rate without professional mold removal and remediation. Dehumidifiers and fans can help dry out your basement flooring, walls, and furniture.

You may need to replace drywall and carpeting. Those materials can harbor enough moisture to cause mold growth even if they appear dry. If the flooding is extensive, it might be best to contact a water damage restoration company to remove the water, dry the basement, and prevent mold.

How to Protect Your Home Against Sump Pump Failure

It’s easy to overlook your sump pump until a problem arises. Still, taking preventative measures against basement or crawlspace flooding will ensure that your household can shower and use your plumbing system freely without worrying about causing water to back up into your house, developing mold problems, or dealing with expensive water damage. 

The first thing you should do to protect your home is install a backup sump pump with a battery operation. If your primary pump fails due to an electrical outage or device failure, the battery-operated one will turn on, allowing you to use your plumbing systems without worries. 

Maintaining your sump pump is also necessary to ensure it remains in good working order. Regularly clean the pit and remove debris to reduce the risk of clogs. Also, make sure nothing blocks the float switch that will prevent it from turning the equipment on when necessary. 

Finally, make sure the float switch doesn’t remain in the “on” position. A faulty float switch needs a replacement to prevent overheating the pump and burning it out prematurely. 

Our Sump Pump Services

At Works Plumbing, we employ a crew of highly skilled and trained plumbers who can quickly identify sump pump problems and provide the best solutions for them. From repairs to replacements, we take great care of our customers by ensuring we respond quickly and efficiently to all sump pump problems. Our team also takes necessary precautions to protect our clients’ homes from preventable damage as we work.  

Contact Works Plumbing for Help with Your Sump Pump Problems

The answer to “Can you shower if your sump pump is not working?” is yes, but it’s not advisable. When your sump pump fails, you can trust our professionals in Pacifica, CA, to address your needs.

Our experienced technicians are available 24/7 to manage any new home or old house plumbing emergency. With nearly 15 years of experience serving the community with outstanding plumbing services, we are proud to be one of the top-rated plumbing companies in the area. Call our Works Plumbing team at (650) 414-3511 today!

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