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Sump Pump Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Basement

Sump Pump Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Basement

A functional sump pump is essential to protecting everything you have worked so hard to acquire.  Fail to take proper care of your sump pump and you just might end up with a flooded basement or worse.  Spend a little bit of time performing the sump pump maintenance tips detailed below and you will rest easy knowing your sump pump will function exactly as it should throughout the entirety of the year.

Sump Pump Maintenance Basics 

Ideally, your sump pump will be maintained a couple times per year.  At a bare minimum, your sump pump should be maintained at least once per year.  The best time to perform this maintenance is early spring when groundwater increases.  However, the movement of groundwater is not exactly easy to predict. Complicating matters is the fact that a number of other factors must be considered, ranging from alterations in precipitation to pumping operations in your area, soil type, etc.  This is precisely why it is prudent to check on your sump pump several months throughout the year.  

Check the GFCI 

When looking at your sump pump, make sure its GFCI electrical connection is on and working.  Verify that power is flowing to the sump pump. Once you are sure the GFCI has not turned off on its own and power is running, you will have reassurance that the machine is active and operational.

Mind the Sump Pump’s Positioning 

There is the potential for your sump pump to tilt to a side as a result of vibrations.  Take a close look at the sump pump to ensure it is positioned properly. The sump pump must be in an upright position.  The sump pump’s float ball should move without impediment.

Ensure the Sump Pump Pumps Water 

Pour some water into the sump pump’s pit to determine if it actually pumps water.  However, merely dumping a single cup of water into the pit will not suffice. Pour a considerable amount of water into the sump pump to activate the pump.  If the pump turns on, remain in its vicinity to ensure the water is not discharged.

Take a Look at the Check Valve

The sump pump’s discharge pipe should have an operational check valve.  The purpose of this valve is to ensure water within the discharge pipe does not move down toward the pit after the pump is no longer active.  If the check valve is no longer connected or has been compromised, it must be replaced. Do not hesitate to ask a sump pump expert for assistance.

Mind the Sump Pump Cover 

The sump pump’s pit serves the purpose of collecting water.  The pit should have a removable cover that stops water from evaporating in your home’s basement.  If it appears as though the cover does not fit properly or is flawed in another way, consider asking for assistance from a professional.  When in doubt, have the cover replaced so you can sleep well at night without worrying about whether your sump pump is safeguarding your basement.

Test the Sump Pump Alarm 

Though some sump pumps are not equipped with alarms, plenty of them have this helpful feature.  The purpose of the alarm is to generate a noise when the sump pump is activated. If the alarm sounds, you will know water has accumulated in the sump pump pit.  Be sure to test your sump pump’s alarm to guarantee the device functions as it should.

Your Sump Pump Needs a Backup Power Source 

If the power goes out and the area receives a heavy downpour or other extreme weather, your sump pump will not function unless it has a reliable backup power source.  The sump pump’s battery must be in working condition or it will serve no purpose. If you have a battery testing device on-hand, test the sump pump battery to guarantee it is functional.  Otherwise, do not hesitate to lean on a professional sump pump specialist to test your sump pump’s battery on your behalf. 

Empty the Water 

If the sump pump basin has any standing water, it must be removed.  Unplug the sump pump prior to removing the water. This way, if violent weather passes through, you will rest easy knowing your sump pump pit is empty and capable of taking on water.  While you are emptying the basin, take a look to see if there is any debris. If you find debris, remove it right away so it does not become obstructive. Furthermore, this is also your opportunity to inspect the sump pump’s inlet screen.  The screen should be completely clear and void of all obstructions.