Home Improvement Tips & Advice Provided by the Home Service Doctors

How to Maintain Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are very important tools that aid in the prevention of flooding. Typically located in a basement or in the below-ground levels of a home or business, they are placed in areas that are most susceptible to flooding. Sump pumps use force to prevent flowing.  They collect water in a sump basin and push it safely away so water can’t pool in the lower parts of a structure.

After a sump pump is installed in your home, it’s important to maintain them so they can work properly. They work overtime in winter and spring or times when water is more common. Flooding can cause water damage and pose a potential health risk to you and your loved ones. Knowing that your sump pump is in top shape will give you peace of mind as a homeowner. Here are ways that you can help to maintain your pump.

Know Your Sump Pump and Its Features

There are several different types and brands of pumps, but it’s important to know which one is working to keep you safe in your own home. The two most common types that are often found in residential houses are submersible pumps and pedestal pumps. A submersible pump is located in a sump well, and as the name suggests, is designed to work while under water. They are equipped with a float, which when activated, signals to the pump that water has built up and needs to be pushed out. A pedestal pump also has a float, but they are located above the well. They can also be quite noisy in comparison to a submersible pump. Knowing which kind of sump pump you have in your home will allow you to assess its performance and know when it may need maintenance.

Though a sump pumps features will vary from model to model, they are all intended to help keep the lower levels of your house dry. One of the most important parts of these systems is the battery backup.  Though electricity is the main source of energy, your sump pump needs to keep working in the event of a power outage. A water level alarm will alert you if the water level in the basin overflows, and liners will help prevent clogs or water draining back into the pit.

Maintenance For Sump Pumps

Now that you know how beneficial a sump pump can be to your home, you should be aware of how to maintain it when it’s been put into place. Because they are mostly used to prevent flooding, it’s possible that they end up lying dormant for several months until they are needed. There are several actions you can take to help keep your sump pump working properly.

  • Be sure that your pump is properly plugged in, and that the power cord is in good shape.
  • You can regularly check the pump’s discharge pipe and ventilation hole for a clog or debris. Any blockage should be cleared immediately, as this can negatively affect its performance in the event of flooding or an emergency.
  • The same goes for the pump intake screen and pit. Any dirt or debris can cause a blockage and should be removed as soon as you see it.
  • You can test your pump as often as necessary. All you need to do is pour a bucket of water into the basin and observe. If your sump pump is working properly, it should be triggered by the rise in the water level. This should happen quickly; if it takes a while your pump may not be working properly.
  • The backup battery should be replaced every few years. The average lifespan of this battery is two to three years, and they shouldn’t be pushed much further. If your backup battery fails during a power outage, your sump pump will cease to work and your basement could flood.
  • Like any appliance, be sure to review the owner’s manual that comes with your sump pump. It may include details of how to properly maintain your model.

Warning Signs

The most obvious sign that your sump pump isn’t working is a presence of water in the basement. Even if it looks and sounds like it’s working, it’s not doing the job properly if you see water. If your pump is making strange noises, it frequently cycles on and off or experiences lengthy run times, it may need plumbing service. All of these issues could be due to something small, like a stuck switch or an electrical issue. However, it’s important to identify the cause and fix it right away.

Every pump is different, and the individual traits of your home will affect them. Now that you know how you can maintain your sump pump, you can help to increase its lifespan and help it to function properly in keeping your home from flooding. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our plumbers if you think your sump pump needs special maintenance. This special maintenance can you avoid a plumbing emergency.

Call Home Service Doctors today for more information on sump pumps!