Dealing with water damage can be the worst nightmare of a homeowner. But you can prevent water damage by installing a sump pump in your basement.
A good sump pump protects your home from water damage and keeps unwanted water out of your house.
But a sump pump also needs maintenance, as keeping a sump pump in good condition will help it perform well.
Usually, because of two reasons, the sump pump stops working. First is because of clogging and damage due to debris, and second because of no use for a long time.
If the sump pump is not in use for a long time then it can also stop working so you need to know how to maintain a Sump Pump. So that you can keep your sump pump in good condition and it can work properly when it needs to be working.
Don’t worry it’s not a difficult task or takes a very long time. In this guide, you can learn how to maintain a sump pump without any rocket science. We are sharing the instructions for cleaning and maintaining a sump pump.
How Does A Sump Pump Work?
First, you need to know how a sump pump actually works.
Sump pump typically installed in a sump (dug) at the lowest point of the basement of your house. The work of the sump pump is to remove all the groundwater by pumping it away from your house.
Whenever the groundwater rises to a certain level, the sump pump activates and pumps the water out until the level is lowered once again.
During rainy seasons, flooding events, or even water failures in your house, a good sump pump can remove thousands of gallons of water per hour easily.
Types Of Sump Pump
There are two kinds of sump pumps and these are submersible and pedestal.
- Submersible Pumps: Submersible pump sits in the sump all the time and this kind is quieter than pedestal pumps. But as it stays inside the sump it makes the maintenance a messier job.
- Pedestal Pumps: On the other hand Pedestal pumps stay outside the sump and are cheaper and easy to maintain. But they make much noise and you may feel it irritating.
Sump Pump Maintenance Checklist
Now comes the steps to keep your sump pump in good shape. As the consequences of a failed sump pump are huge, it’s highly recommended to maintain your sump pump at least once per year.
Note: Before doing anything with your sump pump it’s highly recommended to disconnect the pump from the power and wear gloves and glasses for safety.
1. Check Your Power
Check if your sump pump is connected to powered and is turned on.
Sump pumps usually use lots of power and that’s the reason for ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) trips. So if you see any GFCI breaker trips then make sure to check the quality of the power cord and outlet.
Make sure there is nothing around the cord that can make the cord wet.
2. Check The Basin
Basin is also important to check as it contains water. So check if there are any cracks or leaks.
Disconnected the pump and take everything out and fill it with some water. If you see any leaking or crack then you have a problem.
Change the basin or see if the old one can be repaired.
3. Disconnect and Clean The Pump
Now disconnect the pump from the power source and take it out from the sump pit. Some water may come with it so be ready for that.
Place the pump on able and clean all the accessible parts of dirt and debris. If you can then remove the grate from the bottom of the pump and clean it.
Clean all the pump areas with a cloth and make sure not to destroy anything. Check the product manual to know how to clean the pump more effectively.
Check the manual to know if the gear needs oil or greasing.
Most pumps can be cleaned with a garden hose, paper towels, or a bristle brush. Check the manual to learn if your pumps can be cleaned with any of these too.
Also, check the Check Valve, most of the time it also causes failure. You can test it by pushing it up and down and you should inspect the Check Valve once a year.
If the Check Valve is freely moving and does not stick then you are good to go. If not replace the Check valve.
4. Test Your Pump
Now fit the pump in the sump pit and connect the power source to the pump.
After that pour a bucket of water into the sump pit. If the pump turned on automatically and pumps the water out, then everything is fine.
But if it’s not working then maybe the float is not in place. A sump pump uses a float to detect water and maybe while cleaning or because of dirt, the float is stuck.
So try to loosen the float or clean the dirt around it (if you see any) and then check again, it will start working.
5. Check The Drain Pipes
This is also another common problem for a failed sump pump.
Sometimes the pipes filled with debris or dirt and backed up. So the pump fails to through the water out.
So take hot water and pour it from the upside and dump the water from the downside of the pipe. You can repeat the process 2-3 times if water is not coming properly.
If water comes without any problem then your drain pipes are ready to work.
Make sure to make your pipes blockage-free by cleaning the dirt and debris from the pipe.
6. Test the Backup Battery
Also, check for the backup battery after every 6 months.
You can test it by disconnecting the pump from the main power source and then pour some water into the sump pit.
If it starts everything is fine otherwise you need to change the battery backup.
For more maintenance of the battery backup sump pump, check the owner’s manual and follow the instructions written there.
7. Check For Oil Leaks
Sometimes oil can come with groundwater, but sometimes there may be a leak in the body of your pump.
If you see oil in your sump pit, check the body and all the areas from where oil can be leaked. If you see any leak try to stop the leak.
If the leak is big, then ask the service guy it can be repaired, if not then replace your sump pump.
Now after performing all the above steps you can still run a test flood to double-check if everything is working fine.
Just fill your sump pit with water by buckets or run a hose. If the pump kicks and starts pumping the water out then everything is right.
When do You need To Replace Your Sump Pump?
Well, nothing lasts forever and water tools are also needed to be replaced by time.
Your old pump could fail due to old age in the middle of major rain. So it’s really important to check for the lifespan of your pump and replace it before it’s too late.
As per experts, submersible pumps near around 6 to 15 years and pedestal pumps last near around 15-30 years.
But it also depends on the area type too, if you are living in a wet area or heavy rained area, then the pump can stop working before that time.
So check the sump pump’s documentation and see how many years it can serve and also take the advice of a professional or service guy.