06 May Submersible sump pump in an open sump pit

Eight Essential Sump Pump Maintenance Tips

Posted by PlumbWize

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.  If 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’ll discuss eight essential sump pump maintenance tips that you need to know. 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 unit as extensively as you can. This way you will know what to expect when it comes to your pump’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs. 

For starters, you should know about:

  • The unit’s approximate age (pumps older than seven years tend to have more problems)
  • Where to get replacement parts 
  • Any existing issues to watch out for

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 to store your physical instructions is in a ziplock bag, taped to the wall close to the sump pump.

If you have no clue as to what your sump pump is (e.g. the sump pump came with the house that you bought 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 a 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 switch, power cords, impeller, and the pipe fitting for the discharge pipe.

2. Check Periodically If Sump Pump Still Works

You never know when your basement may flood, therefore, it pays to do sump pump maintenance 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. These include:

  • 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 could mean that the sump pump will fail very soon.

If you encounter any of these, call an expert immediately because your sump pump could be due for expert maintenance or needs to be replaced altogether.

4. Deep Clean Your Sump Pump As Needed and Clean The Sump Pit Regularly

Cleanliness is a top priority for your sump pump and sump pit maintenance. It 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 into its power source.

5. Make Sure That The Equipment Is Properly Covered

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. Taking this extra precaution doesn’t rule out cleaning the sump pit regularly but you will have less to clean if it’s covered properly.

A covered sump pump

6. Check the Discharge Line

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 Sump Pump

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 For Sump Pump Maintenance and Replacement

Our plumbing experts here at PlumbWize specialize in sump pump maintenance, repair, and replacement. Even if you have lost the instructions for your sump pump or it’s an old unit that comes with a property you’ve bought and are completely confused with diagnosing the problem, we can 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sump Pump Maintenance

1. What Is The Average Lifespan Of a Sump Pump?

The average lifespan of a sump pump is around 7 years but can be extended with proper maintenance and care. 

2. What Do I Do If I Cannot Identify What Sump Pump Model I Have at Home?

Check your unit for the brand name, model number, or type. If you are having issues locating this information, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our experts here at PlumbWize are available 24/7 to assist you with all your sump pump needs. 

3. Does Every Basement Need a Functioning Sump Pump?

Yes. If your home has a basement or crawlspace, you need a sump pump. Without it, your property is vulnerable to flooding, leaks, and water damage.

Call PlumbWize for All Your Sump Needs

Get your unit checked by a plumbing professional. Trust the pros at PlumbWize to do your sump pump maintenance or any plumbing emergencies. Give us a call today!


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