Maintaining Your Sump Pump
If your home has a wet basement, you’re not alone. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that more than 60 percent of homes have issues with water in the basement. A sump pump can be an effective option for preventing water damage. Installed in a pit in the basement, sump pumps sense when the water from rain or snowmelt is rising in the pit and approaching the floor level. The incoming water is then pumped outside before it can damage the home or its furnishings. Sump pumps are relatively low-maintenance devices, but you can help keep your unit operational by inspecting it regularly. Steps in a regular maintenance program can include:
- Checking the discharge line to make sure it is not stopped up or frozen. If necessary, unclog the air vent hole in the line.
- Checking the inlet screen to ensure that it’s not clogged with residue and debris. It’s recommended to check three or four times per year.
- Making sure the float component is unobstructed and can move smoothly.
- Scanning the pit and removing any visible debris, mud, or stones.
- Testing the pump by slowly pouring a bucket of water into the pit. The float should rise with the water level, triggering the unit to start pumping. If pumping doesn’t begin, check to see that the unit is plugged in. Your float switch or check valve might also be at fault.
- Going outside to see that water is discharging and flowing where it’s supposed to go – well away from your home.