Regardless of the age of your sump pump, it can fail when you least expect it and need it most. You don’t want to discover your pump is faulty during a spring rain that ultimately results in a basement filled with water.
Don’t be Intimidated by that Weird Hole in Your Basement
Simply put, a sump pump helps prevent excess ground or rainwater from entering your home. Sump pumps are generally installed in a crawlspace or basement to protect your home against flooding or accumulating ground water. A sump pump also removes collected condensation created by your air conditioner and water from area drains.
How does it work? Water from under or around your home drains into a pit (commonly referred to as a “crock”) and is then pumped out of your home and away from your foundation. As with any other system or appliance, a sump pump needs regular maintenance to keep it properly functioning.
Maintaining Your Sump Pump
You want to be on top of things, so it’s important to check your sump pump to ensure it’s working properly or figure out if you need a new one. It is generally recommended you clean and service your sump pump at regular intervals.
- Monthly: If your sump pump disposes of water from a washing machine, a monthly cleaning of its screen or inlet opening may be needed. The pump should be unplugged before cleaning, and make certain it’s plugged in again upon completion of this task.
- Quarterly: If your pump is not disposing of washing machine water, its screen or inlet opening may need to be cleaned every three to four months.
- Annually: Remove the sump pump and clean both the pump and the crock. A professional inspection of your sump pump each year will also help ensure it’s functioning well and prolong its lifespan. During this inspection, an expert technician will check the crock, check valve, backup power source, alarm, cover, and its discharge location.
Moreover, here are steps you can take to avoid a malfunctioning sump pump and, consequently, a wet basement:
- Listen. If there is excessive groundwater around the foundation, the pump should turn itself on, push out the water, and turn itself off again. Remove the cover and look inside the pit. If the water level is low, chances are good your pump is properly working.
- Check the outside drain. If you have an outlet pipe leading to your yard, grab a flashlight, find the end, and take a peek inside. If you see considerable debris blocking the pipe, clean it out or call a plumber if it is too tough to handle on your own.
- Investigate the pump. Look over the pump to determine if there’s anything risking its operation. Submersible pumps – which sit in the basin of the sump pump – have a waterproof case. If the encasement develops a crack, it compromises the performance of the pump. A plumber can advise you as to whether it can be repaired or it’s best to replace.
- Make any adjustments you can. There’s a grate on the bottom of the sump pump that might need to be cleaned, especially before spring when there may be quite a lot of buildup. Also, take a look for pet toys and other objects that could have dropped into the pit.
- Test the pump’s operation. You’ll want to run a simple test on the system. Use a bucket to fill the crock to its top with water. Be sure the water moves out of the crock at a reasonable rate. If the pump does not start, try resetting the circuit breaker. If it’s still not starting, give us a call for plumbing service and possible replacement.
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Whether you’re replacing your water heater, furnace or central air conditioning, adding a humidifier or clean air system, or cleaning and servicing your air quality system or sump pump, we are knowledgeable and expert in delivering the service you need.
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