If you have a sump pump, you know that it is very important for it to be operational before you need it. You do not want to find yourself in an increasingly wet basement before you discover that the sump pump is not working properly. A basement can get wet due to excess groundwater, heavy rain or melting snow. If the sump pump does not drain the water properly, the repairs can be quite costly. Even if your proactive maintenance on the sump pump reveals an issue, the cost and time of fixing this is much less than dealing with a wet basement. Most of the steps included below show be complete four times a year. If you live in a particularly wet area, you might want to complete these steps once every other month.
Step 1. Remove Debris
You should remove debris, dirt, or sand from screens and openings in the sump pump. You need to turn off the power before you clean out the sump pump. The inlet screen and air hole on the drain pipe are especially important to inspect.
Step 2. Test Sump Pump
A sump pump works by keeping the water level below the designated float level. By pouring excess water down the sump pump, it should activate, turn on, and effectively drain the water. After the water is taken below the float level, the sump pump should turn off again.
Step 3. Check Battery Life
Some sump pumps will have backup battery power in the event of electrical failure. This battery needs to be checked at least once a year to make sure that it still has juice. There is no point in having a backup power system if it does not work!
Step 4. Check Size of Sump Pump
Sometimes, you will move into a house and a sump pump will already be installed. While this is fantastic, it does not help if it does not work. Check to make sure that the size of the pump is sufficient for the amount of water it needs to regulate. To do this, you need to turn the sump pump on during a time of heavy rain. This measures the sump water inflow. There is such a thing as too small and too big of a sump pump, so make sure it is right for the typical water it needs to handle.
Step 5. Ensure Electrical Connections
Over time, electrical outlets and cords can fail. Periodically check to make sure the cord has not developed any wear and that the outlet is working. To assess the outlet, plug something else in and make sure it turns on.
Step 6. Look at Pump Orientation
Occasionally, a pump can be tilted to one side or another. Look to make sure that the pump is standing upright. If the pump is tilted, the float arm will not work correctly.
If you complete these steps at least four times a year and more if needed, you will ensure that your sump pump is in working order when you need it. If you have a hard time remembering to complete this maintenance, set alarms in your calendar or tie it into other maintenance checks. Take the time to be proactive and it will save you time and money in the case of a true emergency.