11 September Submersible sump pump in an open sump pit

Eight Essential Sump Pump Maintenance Tips

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There are multiple ways to prevent flooding in your basement. Some of the things you can do include maintaining clean downspouts, repairing foundation cracks, and installing window well covers. In the event that water gets into your basement, despite taking all the above precautions, your last line of defence would be the sump pump. This is why sump pump maintenance is crucial. In this article, we will discuss the eight essential maintenance tips that you need to know as a sump pump owner. 

Let’s get started!

Cross-section diagram of a submersible sump pump in a basement

1. Know Your Sump Pump’s Functionalities

The first important pillar of sump pump maintenance is to know the product as extensively as you can. This way you will be able to know what to expect when it comes to your pump’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs. You will also be able to diagnose minor problems with your sump pump and act on them promptly.

If you’ve just gotten a new sump pump, make sure to keep the instructions somewhere safe and accessible. Some homeowners choose to keep a digital copy on their computer or mobile device for easy reference. Another handy location for your physical instructions is in a ziplock bag, taped to the wall close to the sump pump so that the information is accessible.

If you have no clue as to what your sump pump is (e.g. you’re a new homeowner that has one equipped already or you’re renting the property), try to look at the motor to see if the model number is written there. If not, a good first step is to look for the brand name of the pump. Then, to zero-in further into the model of the sump pump, determine whether it is a pedestal sump pump or submersible sump pump. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to tell based on just the appearance. 

A submersible sump pump has a motor that can work underwater – therefore, the motor would be inside the sump pit. A pedestal sump pump has a long stand that raises the motor above the pit and above floor level. Though they may be designed differently, both sump pumps have common parts like the motor, float, float arm, power cord, impeller, and the pipe fitting for the discharge pipe.

Here are some key specifics you should know about your sump pump: 

  • Approximate age of your sump pump (pumps older than seven years will tend to have more problems)
  • Where to get replacement parts for your sump pump
  • Your sump pump’s strengths and weaknesses

2. Periodically Check That The Sump Pump Works

You never know when your basement may flood, therefore, it pays to do sump pump maintenance (about once a month) to check whether or not it’s still working as it should. Simply make sure that your sump pump is connected to its power source and then pour water into the sump pit. Watch how the pump runs and take note of any odd noises that you might hear. 

3. Know the Signs of A Problem with Your Sump Pump

Just like with any machine, there are signs to look out for when there is an issue with your sump pump. If you encounter any of the following, try to call an expert because your sump pump could be due for maintenance or needs to be replaced altogether. 

  • Strange noises from the pump could indicate worn out parts
  • Rattling or grinding noises could point to a jammed or damaged impeller
  • The motor vibrating excessively can mean that the impeller is bent or deformed
  • The sump pump turning on and off when it should be running could mean that there is a problem with the internal wiring
  • An oil leak will mean that the sump pump will fail very soon

4. Clean The Sump Pit and the Pump Regularly

Cleanliness is a top priority for your sump pump and sump pit maintenance that extends the lifespan of your equipment and increases its efficiency. Here are four steps to cleaning your sump pump and sump pit: 

  1. Turn off the sump pump and make sure that no one is using any appliances that will drain water into the sump pit (e.g. washing machine)
  2. Use the garden hose to rinse the pump. Then use a plastic scraper or putty knife to remove caked debris.
  3. Use a wet vac to clean out the sump pit. 
  4. Once the pump is dry, reattach it to the discharge pipe and plug it to its power source.

5. Make Sure That The Equipment is Properly Covered (H2)

By having a proper covering on your sump pump, you can prevent larger debris, lint, and sediment from falling into the sump pit. As much as possible, the covering should fit snugly and should only have holes for the wires, the stand (in the case of pedestal sump pumps) and the drainage pipe. This, of course, doesn’t rule out cleaning the sump pit regularly but you will have less to clean if you have a good covering.

A covered sump pump

6. Check the Drainage Pipes

Sometimes, water might be draining slowly from your sump pit – not because of a problem with your pump – but because of a problem with your drainage pipes. Along with checking the functionality of your sump pump, make sure to inspect your drainage pipes and try to remove any obvious blockages.

7. Consider Getting a Back-Up

It’s common for the power to go out during a storm. This is why some homeowners choose to install a back-up sump pump that doesn’t run on electricity. Typically, these types of pumps run on battery or water pressure from your home. They are usually not as robust as submersible or pedestal sump pumps but they do have the advantage of not being dependent on electricity.

8. Know Who to Call Regarding Sump Pump Maintenance and Replacement

Our plumbing experts here at PlumbWize specialize in helping you repair and prolong the life of your sump pump. Even in the event that you have lost the instructions for your sump pump or you’ve bought it along with the home and are completely confused with diagnosing the problem, we’ll be able to help you out.

Of course, like with any type of equipment, significant wear and tear over the years could mean that you will need to have your sump pump replaced – we’ve got you covered for this as well! Our experts can help you assess your sump pump and choose the best replacement if need be.

Call PlumbWize for All Your Sump Needs

Have a sump pump issue that needs immediate fixing? Request our services today and let us know how we can help.

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