How to Make a Sump Pump Work Without Power

A sump pump can help prevent basement flooding. Water from heavy rains, flooding and ground water seepage enters the basement and flows into the sump pump pit. The pump pulls water from the pit and drains it away from the house. However, if the power fails, the pump can not function properly. A backup power source is needed to keep the pump powered.

Basements are vulnerable to flooding, which sump pumps can help provent.

Step 1

Unplug the sump pump from the power outlet.

Step 2

Plug the sump pump power cord into an available outlet on the backup generator.

Step 3

Position the generator in an area where it is away from water or off the ground. Use an extension cord, if needed, to run from the sump pump to the generator, making sure the cord is not submerged in water.

Step 4

Turn on the generator. As the water level rises in the sump pump pit, the sump pump should draw power from the generator. Verify the pump switch is in the "On" position.


  • If the basement is already flooding and you cannot safely connect the generator when the house power is out, use buckets to manually move water away from the basement.
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