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If you own a sump pump in your basement (which you should for any functional household) you need to check up on it every now and then. Don’t get me wrong, I hate maintenance duties just as much as the next guy. But after a couple of major hiccups, I realized that it is cheaper to maintain the sump pump instead of having to downright replace it. And when you break things down into digestible bits, doing a thorough check-up on your sump pump is really not that complicated.
Most sump pumps have the same maintenance loops that involve cleaning the different sections of the pump and checking for any issues. This means all you have to do is
- check the power
- the pit
- check valve
- float switch, etc.
- and also do a test run of your machine.
Typically, you want to do this every three to six months.
In this guide, I will give you a detailed checklist of the elements that you need to check when you decide to clean up your sump pump.
Sump Pump Maintenance Checklist
The first few times are always the hardest when checking your sump pump. But after a while, it will become second nature to you. I had my fair share of troubles with my sump pump. And so, I want to make things as easy as possible for you. For all the beginners out there, here is a simple list of elements that you need to check and things you need to do for a thorough sump pump inspection.
Disclaimer: Your sump pump should come with a user manual. Some pump systems have their own specific maintenance routine that you should follow. You should find all the required information and guideline on your copy of the owner’s manual. So, if you can find your manual, it would make things much smoother.
1. Check the Power
Sump pumps require electricity to run. If you own a pump system, it is likely connected to a nearby power source and that is where you should start your inspection. See if your sump pump is getting adequate power and if the power outlet is functional.
2. Check the Backup Battery System
Power outages are pretty common during a thunderstorm. That is why most homeowners choose a battery backup to keep it functional during power surges. You should next, check if the battery system kicks in properly when you shut off the power from the mainline. Battery backup sump pump maintenance requires no special steps.
3. Check the Sump Pit
The sump pit should be clean and free of any debris or gunk which can drastically reduce the effectiveness of your pump system. So, see if the pit is clean. It is a good practice to annually clean up your sump pit. But if you can afford the time, cleaning it every six months is even better. Sump pit maintenance should always be a big part of your check-up routine
4. Check the Float Switch
The float switch that lets the sump pump know when it is time to kick in can get jammed or clogged. Even worse, it can get clogged in the “on” position, which will cause your sump pump to run continuously. Inspect the float switch and make sure there is nothing blocking its way.
5. Check the Check Valve
If your sump pump comes with a pre-installed check valve, or if you have installed one yourself, it is a good idea to check up on it as well to make sure everything is running as it should. The check valve can also get clogged, which will cause water to backwash in your pump, causing it to burn out.
6. Check the Discharge Line
Water travels from your sump pit through the discharge line, and the pipe can often get clogged with leaves or other small particles. If the discharge line gets jammed, the pump will not be able to extract water efficiently. So make sure you give your discharge line a thorough checkup while maintaining your sump pump.
7. Check the Positioning
A sump pump, while running, causes a lot of vibration which can shift the machine from the installed position. Though it is not that big of a deal, you should still see if the pump is in the right place. If it moves too far away, your electrical wires can get disconnected suddenly.
8. Check for Any Noise
Keep your ears open for any weird noises coming out of your sump pump. Humming sound from the motor is normal, but if you hear any clicking noise, there might be something wrong with your machine. In that case, you should call a professional sump pump servicing center for help.
9. Test Run the Pump
Even if you do not maintain your sump pump every month, you should test run it monthly to see if everything is working as it should. Just pour a few gallons of water down the sump pit and see if your machine is extracting water properly. Test running your pump every now and then will help you notice any issues that might pop up.
How Do You Maintain A Sump Pump Battery?
Let me cut the noise out, and get straight to the point. There aren’t any special steps to maintain a sump pump battery. Just follow the simple instructions I’ve mentioned in step two: Check the Battery Backup System, and you should be all set. If your pump doesn’t start once the mainline power is cut, it’s time to replace the battery. Apart from that, all the steps are exactly as mentioned earlier in this article.
How Often Does Your Sump Pump Need Maintenance?
These days, there are many cast-iron submersible sump pumps available and the one you have will determine how frequently you need to clean and maintain it. An annual checkup is a must for any sump pump system. But you should also check up on it a few times each year to make sure everything is in working order. I like to do some basic maintenance like checking if the screws are tight, or if the float switch and discharge valve is working properly every three to six months.
Some people even go as far as give their sump pump a complete check-up every month. However, that might be a bit too much work for the common folk. Even if you are the type of guy to only give your sump pump annual maintenance, it is fine as long as you are thorough. I have already given you a complete guideline of everything you need to go through during maintenance day. So you should be pretty safe from having your sump pump die on you suddenly.