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Sump Pump Maintenance Checklist

Things to do at Home While you are in Self-Isolation - Part 1

Are you looking for some good projects to do while you are self-isolating at home? We have put together a few blogs that will give you some cleaning and maintenance tips.

Springtime is here and you know what that means - flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and groundwater levels are rising in your sump pit! If you're not prepared, that could mean a flooded basement and thousands of dollars worth of damage. You’ll want to put aside a ½ hour to complete all of the recommended steps. Gloves and safety goggles are recommended.

Steps for checking your sump pump:

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker and unplug power to the pump. Confirm that the cord is in good condition.
  2. Close shutoff valve located in discharge piping (ideally it is installed above the check valve).
  3. (SKIP THIS STEP IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SHUTOFF VALVE - we’ll test the valve later) Remove the check valve and visually inspect it for damage. Make sure it fully opens and closes.
  4. Disconnect the sump pump from the discharge pipe and remove it from the basin.
  5. Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear from debris.
  6. Clean debris from the exterior of the pump (a garden hose may help a lot with this step).
  7. Check the pump screen for any blockages or debris and clear any obstructions.
  8. Reconnect the check valve and replace the sump pump back in the basin.
  9. Restore power by plugging in the power cord and turning on the breaker.
  10. Test the pump by dumping a bucket of water into the basin. It should turn on and empty the pit until the float switch turns it off.
  11. (NO SHUTOFF VALVE ONLY) Inspect the check valve. A faulty check valve will allow water to flow back into the pit after the pump shuts off. Cycle the pump and watch the water level to see if it rises and listen for gurgling/water flowing backwards.
  12. Check the alarm (if present) and pump float(s) to see if they are mounted properly and free from obstructions.
  13. The cheapest insurance policy is to make sure you have a backup pump on hand.

Pro Tips

  1. A 110 volt tank alert alarm is of no use in a power failure. Always use a battery powered alarm that also works off AC.
  2. It is equally important to inspect the check valve as it is the sump pump. A failed check valve that is staying in a closed position can cause the valve to rupture thus flooding your basement.
  3. The float switch is THE most common sump pump failure and should be changed as needed or every 3-5 years to be on the safe side.
  4. Having a replacement pump on hand with the plumbing pipe already installed is by far the cheapest insurance one can have for a pump failure. By the time you are able to locate and install a new pump it may be too late and the damage will already be done!
  5. Water powered backup sump pumps may be the right answer for you if you’re on city water and experience long power outages.
  6. When and how to test pump float: Attach a string to the float switch so you can test them in a few seconds just by pulling on a string. Test them whenever heavy rain is in the forecast and before the spring thaw.

We are all in this together! Please do not hesitate to call or email customer service with questions or if you need help selecting/sizing a sump pump system.

Next week's topic: Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Septic System