Sump Pump Maintenance for Your Home

09.16.22 12:15 PM By Quix Plumbing Service

Sump Pump

As a homeowner, you know that there are many things you must do in order to keep your home in tip-top shape. From changing the air filters to maintaining the gutters, there are a host of maintenance tasks that you must perform on a regularly. Another one of those important maintenance tasks is keeping your sump pump in good working order.

A sump pump is a vital part of your home’s plumbing system and is responsible for preventing flooding in your basement or crawl space. Because it works so hard to keep your home dry, it is important to give it the maintenance it needs in order to continue working properly.

A few tips on how you can properly maintain your sump pump.

1. Check the discharge pipe regularly

The discharge pipe is the pipe that carries water away from your home once the sump pump has pumped it out. You should check this pipe regularly to ensure that it is free of any debris or blockages. If the pipe becomes blocked, it could cause the water to back into your home, defeating the purpose of having a sump pump in the first place!

2. Make sure the float switch can move freely

The float switch is what turns the sump pump on and off as needed. If this switch becomes stuck, it could cause the pump to either overwork itself or not work at all. Simply check that the float switch can move up and down freely in its housing. 

3. Inspect the impeller 

The impeller is what helps move water through the sump pump and ultimately out of your home. Over time, dirt and debris can build up on this part, which can cause it to become less effective. Be sure to inspect it regularly and clean off any dirt or debris that you see.

4. Check the electrical cord

In order to be sure that your sump pump is working properly, you should test it regularly. One easy way to do this is simply to pour a bucket of water into the pit where the sump pump is located. This will cause the float switch to activate and should cause the pump to turn on. If you don’t hear anything, or if water begins backing up into your home, then you know there may be an issue with your sump pump.

6 . Have a backup plan

Even if you take all of these preventive measures, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong with your sump pump. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in place, just in case. You might consider investing in a battery-operated backup sump pump, which will kick in if there’s a power outage.

Or, you could simply invest in some heavy-duty plastic sheeting and sandbags, which you can use to temporarily seal off any areas where water might be able to enter your home.

7 Know when to call a professional.

Even if you consider yourself handy around the house, there are some repairs that are best left to a professional. If you suspect that there may be something wrong with your sump pump, or if it hasn’t been working correctly despite your best efforts at maintenance, then it may be time to call in a plumber or other qualified professional.

Trying to repair a complex piece of machinery like a sump pump on your own could do more harm than good, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek professional help when necessary.

Accessories

There are also additional add-ons to consider for your sump pump. Accessories like a water alarm attachment provide a last line of defense to alert you when your sump pump fails before the damage is done. A discharge hose helps extend your drainage point away from your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do sump pumps fail?

While sump pumps are effective at removing water from a home, many factors can cause them to fail. Owning a backup pump ensures that you will not fall victim to water damage when your primary sump pump fails.

Some primary sump pumps are wired into the home and do not have a battery backup, so flooding is a concern when power is lost. Having a backup that is either water-powered or has a battery backup will protect your home during heavy storms that turn your power off. While owning a backup sump pump is not required, it is recommended for the health of your home.

How often do sump pumps needs to be replaced?

If your sump pump is making loud noises, running for an unusually long amount of time, cycling irregularly, or is older than ten years, it is very likely you are due for a sump pump replacement. 

Who needs a sump pump?

The sump pump is a must for anyone with an under-the ground structure. This includes crawl spaces and cellars as well as basements!

How does water get into a basement?

The three most common ways water gets into your house are 1) through the basement walls and cracks. You are especially at risk if your house rests on a high water table. 2) during storms when rainwater accumulates around your home or 3). A broken or leaky pipe

Does the water automatically get pumped out?
It's important to know the difference between an automatic sump pump and one that needs manual activation. With electric systems, it will automatically turn on once the water reaches a certain level. Electric systems need to have a battery backup sump pump, just in case the power also goes out. If you have a manual system, you will need to manually turn it on whenever you want it start pumping water away from your home. 
Where does the sump pump water go?
Your sump pump should drain the water away from your home, paved surfaces, and other areas susceptible to water damage. 
You’ll want your sump pump's discharge point to be at least 10 feet (3.05 m) away from your home’s foundation. If you want to be extra cautious, 10 feet is also a good option. 
A sump pump can be an excellent way to keep your home dry and safe when used correctly. However, if you are not careful with the installation and maintenance of this system, things could go very wrong! 
For example: allowing excess water to flow onto your neighbor's property. Aside from being a common courtesy, doing so is against local law in most areas. Should the excess water cause any issues for your neighbor, you could be liable for the damages.
Consult an expert to help you choose the best drainage option for you and your surroundings.