When your sump pump fails, it is important to act quickly in order to prevent water from building up in your basement. Not every sump pump malfunction requires a call to the plumber, however. Before you call in the pros, try these quick fixes for common issues.

Check the circuit box.

Sometimes a power surge may cause the circuit breaker to which your sump pump is connected to flip. You'd feel pretty silly if you called in your plumber only to find that the problem was a flipped circuit, so check for this issue first.

Check whether the float is stuck.

Most sump pumps have a float. When the pump basin fills with water, the float lifts up, and this triggers the pump to switch on. Sometimes, however, the float becomes stuck under the surface of the water, so it fails to trigger the switch. Make sure the float is floating freely. If it is stuck on something beneath the water surface, detaching it should fix the problem.

Check whether the float arm is properly placed.

Over time, the floor of a basement may sink, and this may cause the relative positions of the pump and the basement to change. As a result, the float arm may end up being improperly adjusted in order to trigger the on switch when the float rises due to the presence of water. If the float is floating, but the switch is not kicking on, try removing a link or two from the chain that connects the float arm to the float and then reconnecting it. If this does not work, the problem may be in the switch itself -- and you'll want to call your plumber to have it fixed.

See if the discharge line is clogged.

Sometimes, dirt, twigs, and other debris can build up in the discharge pipe. If they block the pipe, then water may not flow out of it, no matter how hard your pump works. Locate your discharge pipe outside. If the end is buried in a pile of leaves or such, pull it out. Stick the handle of a rake or broom up into the pipe and use it to loosen and clear any debris that may be in there. (It's wise to temporarily turn your sump pump off while you do this, otherwise you might get very wet if it kicks on while you're working.)

If none of these quick fixes get your sump pump working again, don't dismay. A good plumber will figure out the cause of the problem and have your system working again in no time. So contact local plumbers, such as those from AA Plumbing, for more information.