For the majority of homeowners in North Central OH, and throughout the country, home ownership and home maintenance go hand in hand. And while your home’s sump pump is surely not its most aesthetic feature, it is vital in keeping your home free of the need for flood remediation services. Keeping this behind-the-scenes hero humming along requires some relatively easy maintenance.
Seven Simple Steps
A thorough quarterly pump checkup is recommended. Whether the pump’s design is submersible or pedestal, the maintenance steps are similar.
1. Be sure that the pump safely connects to its power source, ideally with a GFCI. Have a look at the integrity of the cord, as well.
2. If you have the recommended backup battery, check to make sure it is working.
3. Before cleaning, unplug the unit.
4. Clean the grate in the basin.
5. Clean the sump pump’s screen or inlet.
6. Inspect drainage pipes to confirm sound connections, and clear any blockages in the vent.
7. Replace the pump and make sure it is level. Refill the basin if necessary and plug in the pump. It should run right away.
How to Test Your Sump Pump Before the Storm Hits: A Simple Sump Pump Check You Can Do Yourself
Don’t get caught in the storm with a failed sump pump. Keep the water out of your basement and house with a simple sump pump check you can do yourself.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket with water. Pour the water slowly in the sump pit until it fills to the top. When the water level rises to a certain point, the float should trigger the sump pump to turn on. You will hear the motor of the sump pit churning and the water level should begin to lower. If the pump does not turn on check the following:
Float Trigger/Switch: Look into the pit and see if the float is caught on anything. The float trigger will only work if it can freely move up and down in the pit as the water rises and lowers.
Breaker: When your sump pump overheats it sometimes trips the breaker. Go to your electric panel to ensure all of the breakers are switched on.
Power to the Outlet: In rare cases, sump pumps stop working because of a failed electrical component. To test the electricity, plug a lamp into the outlet where your sump pump’s power is supplied. If the outlet is bad, run an extension cord from another one to power your pump.
Battery: Some households have a battery back up system as a secondary source of power in case of a power outage during a storm. If you think your battery is on the frits get it tested to see if it still holds a charge. Many local auto parts stores can test your battery.
When a pump isn’t working, the float’s position is often the problem. If the pump has shifted as a result of vibration or for any other reason, the float arm and switch will not operate correctly. Reposition the pump so that it is level. Another common interruption in a pump’s smooth operation can occur when the impeller has disengaged from the pump shaft. This problem can occur when backflow forces the impeller to reverse direction. Installing a check valve and reattaching the impeller is the solution in this case.
The life of a sump pump is hard to predict, but the average is ten years. A consistently performed pump maintenance routine increases the likelihood of trouble-free service.