Sump Pump Maintenance: Make Sure It’s Ready When You Need It

shutterstock_168380618Because about 60 percent of the homes in the U.S. are vulnerable to basement water intrusion, a functional sump pump is an essential 24/7 safeguard against expensive water damage. Precisely because these units spend most of the time on stand-by, however, malfunctions may develop without obvious warning signs. That is, until major basement flooding occurs and the pump fails to actuate just when it’s needed most. For this reason, regular sump pump inspection and maintenance is critical.

  1. Remove the sump basin cover. Unplug the pump from the electrical outlet and disconnect the water discharge line from the pump. Lift the pump out of the basin. Remove the pump water intake screen and clean it, then reinstall the screen.
  2. While the pump is out of the basin inspect the basin for any debris and remove it. Rinse basin with clean water, reinstall the pump in the basin and connect it to the discharge line.
  3. Check the motion range of the pump float switch to make sure that it moves freely and doesn’t bind.
  4. Go outside and inspect the discharge line. It should discharge water at least 20 feet from the house to prevent infiltration back into the basement. The line should also be installed on a slight downward grade to ensure that residual water that might freeze drains out.
  5. Plug the pump into the A/C power outlet. Pour five gallons of clean water into the sump basin and observe the action of the float switch to make sure it energizes the pump as the basin fills, then turns the pump off when the basin is empty.
  6. As the pump turns off, make sure the check valve in the discharge line operates properly and prevents water from flowing back into the basin.
  7. If the system is equipped with a battery-powered backup pump, check for proper operation of the backup by unplugging the primary pump and pouring five gallons of water into the basin. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to replace the backup battery at regular intervals.

If damaging basement water intrusion occurs, contact the water damage experts at Rytech for immediate professional response.

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