Why Does My Bilge Pump Keep Running?

If you’ve ever wondered why your bilge pump keeps running, there are several potential reasons behind this common issue. A bilge pump is designed to remove water that accumulates in the bilge area of a boat or a basement. However, if it continues to run continuously, there may be an underlying problem that requires investigation and potential repairs. In this article, we will explore some possible explanations for why your bilge pump might keep running and provide insights on how to address them.

1. Float Switch Malfunction

One possible reason for a continuously running bilge pump is a malfunctioning float switch. The float switch is an electrical device that activates the pump when the water level rises and deactivates it when the water level decreases. If the float switch gets stuck in the “on” position, it could cause the bilge pump to run continuously, even if the water level is normal. To check if the float switch is the culprit, manually lift it and see if the pump stops running.

2. Clogged or Faulty Check Valve

A clogged or faulty check valve can also lead to a bilge pump running constantly. The check valve is responsible for preventing water from flowing back into the bilge after it has been pumped out. If the check valve becomes clogged with debris or if it fails to close properly, water can flow back into the bilge, triggering the pump to keep running. Inspect the check valve for any signs of blockages or damage, and clean or replace it if necessary.

3. Excessive Inflow of Water

If your bilge pump continues to run, it could be due to an excessive inflow of water into the bilge area. This could be caused by a leak in your boat’s hull or fittings, or a burst pipe in your basement, depending on where the bilge pump is installed. Check for any visible signs of water leakage or moisture, and inspect the hull or the basement for potential sources of water entry. Fixing the root cause of the excessive water inflow should resolve the continuous running of the bilge pump.

4. Defective Pump Switch

A defective pump switch can also be the reason why your bilge pump keeps running. The pump switch is responsible for turning the pump on and off based on the water level. If the switch gets stuck in the “on” position or fails to detect the water level accurately, it can lead to continuous operation of the pump. Inspect the pump switch for any signs of damage or malfunction, and consider replacing it if necessary.

5. Electrical Issues

If none of the above reasons seem to be the cause, it’s worth checking for any electrical issues. A short circuit in the wiring or a faulty connection can result in the bilge pump running continuously. Inspect the wiring connections, fuses, and circuit breaker related to the bilge pump. If you notice any loose wires, corrosion, or other signs of electrical problems, it is recommended to consult a professional electrician to address the issue.

In conclusion, a bilge pump that keeps running can stem from various causes, including a malfunctioning float switch, clogged check valve, excessive water inflow, defective pump switch, or electrical issues. By inspecting and addressing these potential problems, you can ensure the proper functioning of your bilge pump and prevent any further damage. If you’re unsure about the cause or lack the technical expertise, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.