Simple Sump Pump Maintenance

Epp Concete sump pit - sump pump and vapor barrier
Epp Concete sump pit - sump pump and vapor barrier
Whether your house came with a sump pump or you installed one yourself, properly maintaining your sump pump system is key to making sure it works when you need it. The last thing you want is to find out your sump pump isn’t working while your basement floods from heavy rain. It may take a professional to install your sump pump system, but you don’t need to be a professional to do simple maintenance that will extend your pump’s lifespan.

How to use a sump pump

Test your sump pump periodically
Sump pumps are considered low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean no- maintenance. You should test your sump pump periodically. This is as simple as dumping a bucket of water into the sump pit. The sump pump should turn on, remove the water, and shut itself off.

Make sure your sump pump isn’t clogged
Because sump pumps are sucking in groundwater, they can become clogged. Check the inlet screen for any debris or blockage. If there are any obstructions, remove them. Make sure the discharge line is not blocked.

If you have a battery backup system, make sure it’s charged
Some sump pump systems have a battery backup system in the event of a power outage, like during a severe storm. If your system does have a battery backup, ensure it still holds a charge and works. You should replace these batteries every 2-3 years.

How to clean a sump pump

Once a year, you should unplug your sump pump and give it a thorough cleaning. Remove the pump from the sump pit and flush it with clean water, making sure to remove any dirt or rocks from the system. 

With the pump out, take the opportunity to clean out the pit itself, removing any mud build-up or rocks. You don’t want to take the time to clean the pump only to have it clog right back up with the debris in the pit. Once everything is cleaned out, reconnect the power and test the system by dumping a bucket of water into the pit.

For more information about sump pumps and basement waterproofing see What Is Drain Tile?

Owning a sump pump can be a lifesaver for your basement, especially if you live in an area with severe weather. You don’t want to figure out that your sump pump isn’t working during a big storm. By performing simple maintenance and checks on your sump pump system, you can ensure it will keep working for years to come.


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