Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Why Do Submersible Pumps Fail? Causes and Solutions

Properties in New York City that use submersible pumps may experience trouble with these devices from time to time. If you’ve scratched your head and wondered, “Why do submersible pumps fail?” you’re not alone. Fortunately, the most common causes of submersible pump failure and their solutions are usually fairly simple. Read on to learn why submersible pumps stop working and what you can do to fix them before calling in the experts at Antler Pumps.

The Two Most Common Types of Submersible Pumps in NYC Properties

Sump pump

Sump pumps, also known as “stormwater sumps,” are used in low-lying areas of buildings to prevent rising water from causing damage, typically during heavy rainstorms or in periods of heavy snow melt. Most often installed in a hole in the floor, they can protect laundry rooms, basements, and low-level condo units from flooding. Water rising in the pump area triggers the pump to run, which then pipes the water to a safer location away from the building, either a landscaped spot or the storm drain system.

Sewage ejector pump

This type of pump is also used in low spots in condominiums, co-ops, and other buildings. Because the force of gravity can’t be relied on to remove wastewater from sinks, toilets, and appliances, a sewage ejector pump gives it an extra push into the sewer main. Like a sump pump, a sewage ejector pump uses a sensor to prompt the pump to run. Sometimes these pumps also pulverize waste before pumping it out of the building, similar to the way a garbage disposal works. Pumps that pulverize waste are known as “sewage grinder pumps.”

Why Do Submersible Pumps Fail?

Wrong Size Pump

Your submersible pumps need to be sized appropriately for the job. With sewage ejector pumps, the basin that holds waste prior to removal may not be large enough for the demand on it.

And with both types of pumps, the motor has to be sufficient. If it has to run constantly, it will burn out faster, causing the pump to fail. Sometimes an upgrade to a larger pump is necessary, especially if a pump was installed before adding more units or more occupants in a condo or co-op. Also, the increase in severe storms in the Northeast means that an old sump pump may not be enough for the massive amounts of rain we’ve seen recently.

Improper Installation

Even if a pump is the correct size, it must be installed properly. Sometimes DIY installations of sewage ejector pumps can go awry, or you might have purchased a property that has an improperly installed pump.

With sump pumps, perfect vertical placement is essential to the pump’s operation. A plumb line should be used to ensure that it’s straight up and down and not tilted even a few degrees to one side.

Electrical power issues

The pumps we use today, versus pumps from previous generations, all use electricity to power their motors. However, if there’s an electrical problem, it can impair the pump’s ability to function. Signs you have electrical supply issues with a submersible pump include:

  • Pump triggering the circuit breaker
  • Flickering or dimming lights when the pump runs
  • Sparking or smoke when the pump runs
  • Loose pump switch or other electrical parts
  • Pump running intermittently or won’t turn on
  • Pump motor is hot to the touch
  • Signs of frayed wires or plugs
  • Corrosion or rusting of interior electrical elements due to poor seals around the pump housing

Often, these issues are things we can fix on-site or in our shop. We can check for leaks, loose parts, and the like, replacing or rewiring as needed. If the issue is with your larger electrical system, such as your electrical panel, our partners at Bolt Electric can address the problem.

Sensor failure

As mentioned above, submersible pumps utilize a sensor that tells them when to run. There are two common ways this part of the pump can fail.

First, if the sensor connections are loose or broken, the sensor cannot tell the pump to turn on. This is more of a wiring issue, like the electrical problems discussed above.

Second – and this happens quite frequently – the sensor can get stuck in the pump’s basin. These sensors use a float mechanism that communicates with the pump when the float rises to a certain level. But if the sensor becomes adhered to the pump basin’s side, this system doesn’t work.

The fix here is to make sure the basin is completely clean, giving the sensor free rein to float as it should. You should also ensure that the arm of the sensor isn’t bent or broken, similar to troubleshooting an old-fashioned toilet tank float arm.


In any pump system that removes fluid or waste, a clog can stop everything from working. Usually, this shows up as water backing up in the sump basin or waste accumulating in fixtures instead of being flushed away by an ejector pump.

A good cleaning of the pump basin and nearby piping is the place to start when remedying this kind of pump failure. If a clog has occurred further down the line, we may request assistance from our Omnia Mechanical Group associates at Sanitary Plumbing.

Sometimes a strainer can be added to filter out detritus from a sump pump. With a sewage ejector pump, user education is the key. Building occupants need to know exactly what they may and may not flush or put down a sink drain. Forbidden items include:

  • Large bits of food garbage
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cooking grease, especially anything that solidifies as it cools
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diaper and face wipes

If you have a submersible pump failing on you and the fixes above don’t yield results, Antler Pumps is happy to come out and have a look. We also encourage you to contact us for routine pump maintenance, which is another way to prevent pump failure and is more proactive than waiting for a problem to surface. Call us today at 212-534-2500 to schedule an appointment.

Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Omnia Mechanical Group, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Omnia Mechanical Group. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: