How to Repair a Submersible Sump Pump by Repositioning the Float

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Things You'll Need

  • Broom handle

  • Rubber band

Submersible sump pump with tethered float.

A submersible sump pump employed to prevent basement flooding is triggered by a tethered plastic float, similar to that in a toilet tank. A cord connects the float to a float switch. As water fills the basin, the ball floats upward. When the water level reaches 12 inches, the cord trips the switch, triggering the pump. After the water lowers to two inches, the float switch stops the pump. The pump cannot work if an obstruction prevents the float from rising. Dirty water can cake the float with dirt, making it too heavy to rise properly.


Step 1

Switch off the pump and unplug it.

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Step 2

Insert the broom handle into the water. Use it to see if the float is twisted or tangled up. If it is, you will need to get better access to free it.


Step 3

Disconnect the discharge pipe.

Step 4

Lift the pump out of the basin.

Step 5

Disentangle the tether and float.

Step 6

Shorten the tether a little, using a rubber band. It reduces the likelihood of it becoming tangled again.


Tethered floats are best used in a wide sump pump basin. The chance of a tethered float getting caught up on something, is higher in a narrow basin.

Clean out the sump pit periodically to remove debris.

If the float tangles up in the motor or debris, it cannot float. The pump will not work and may lead to the sump pit overflowing.

Keep the pit covered to prevent objects, small pets and children falling in.


Your hands must be dry when switching the sump pump on or off.

Do not cut the float cord to shorten it. Loop it and secure it with a rubber band.

For safety reasons, wear rubber boots to guard against electric shocks.


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