Sump pumps can help avoid costly water damage, so long as it’s working properly. There are a number of DIY-friendly maintenance items you can perform, but if you’re uncomfortable, always contact a professional for routine system checks.
Test your pump
To test your pump, fill a bucket with water and pour it into the sump basin. If the pump activates automatically and starts removing water, you’re in good shape! You will want to test your sump pump at least once a year.
Check the position
A sump pump motor will vibrate while it is in use, but these vibrations and the water in the unit can cause it to shift positions and stop the float arm from moving freely. Typically you can tell if the position has shifted if the pump runs nonstop or never runs at all. Check that your pump is sitting in an upright, level position and is free of any obstructions.
Clean the inlet screen
The screen is located at the bottom of the sump pump where water enters. It is a filter that stops dirt and debris from damaging the unit. If it’s blocked, water can’t get into your sump pump and causes flooding. Use a toothbrush and water to clean it about every four months. You’ll need to clean it more frequently if you use your sump pump to get rid of washing machine discharge.
Inspect the discharge line
Check the discharge line for blockages and leakage at least annually. The line helps remove water from your pump outside, like so many machine parts, debris can block your water flow.
Invest in a backup
Most sump pumps run on electricity that could be lost during bad weather, leaving you with a sump pump that can’t run. To avoid this, invest in a batter or water powered backup option that doesn’t run on electricity. It will provide you with peace of mind during power outages.
Check the power source
Test your outlet once a year if your unit uses a GFCI outlet (most units do). Simply trip it by pressing the reset button. Also be sure to unplug your float switch and the power cord to reset them. Inspect your cord for damage and replace it if needed.