Multiple regions have experienced record rainfall this summer, and those storms likely left more than a few flooded basements in their wake. Unfortunately, this disaster occasionally strikes homeowners who thought they were protected by a functioning sump pump, only to find out that the unit malfunctioned due to overdue maintenance.
A sump pump can give you security and peace of mind during the wettest months, but only if you periodically clean, inspect and maintain it. Follow these simple steps to be sure you’re protected and to get the best performance out of your basement flooding lifeline.
Passing the Test
During the wettest weeks, whether it’s spring showers or melting snow, it’s important to check on your sump pump periodically. A quick visual inspection should let you know whether or not the pump is working, and if there’s a problem, catching it early is crucial.
When the weather is dry, it’s still a good idea to check in on your sump pump every few weeks to ensure it’s still operational. The simplest way to do this is to slowly pour a bucket of water into the sump pit; if it starts up automatically, you’re in good shape.
Over time, your sump pump’s filter screen will collect mud, leaves, pebbles and other bits of debris. If this muck accumulates, it can lead to clogs, premature shutoff of the pump or standing water in your basement. When you notice that it’s time to clean the filter, it’s usually a good time to thoroughly clean the entire pump and pit.
After wiping the filter clean, unplug the sump pump and carry it outside, along with the drain line. Disconnect the drain line and use a hose to flush out any debris or clogs. Then flush the entire unit with water.
Before putting the pump back in place, thoroughly clean the entire sump pit, taking care to remove anything that could clog the drain line. Then, with the pump reconnected, take an extra moment to pour a bucket of water into the pit and verify that the system is working.
When the Sun Sets
This simple maintenance routine will help you extend the life of your sump pump, but even a well cared-for pump will eventually wear out. Most sump pumps will need to be replaced within seven years.
Since the contents of your basement and the integrity of your home is at stake, it’s important to proactively replace aging pumps before they start showing major signs of failure. And if you have a model with a backup battery, be sure to check your owner’s manual for the replacement schedule on the battery -- it’s often more frequent than that of the entire unit.
Anytime you need professional sump pump maintenance, repair or replacement, you can make it fast, easy and guaranteed with a call to your local plumbing pros.