Sump Pump Maintenance Tips
Know How to Take Care of Your Sump Pump
Many homes have sump pumps in the basement. They help keep a basement dry and protect your home's foundation by pumping any water that may accumulate there during storms, or even as a result of melting snow. This is a key piece of equipment in any home that experiences heavy rains or flooding that leaks into the basement. Without proper sump pump maintenance, your pump could fail you in your time of need. Fortunately, sump pump care can be as simple as a bit of routine maintenance and a regular inspection. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Make a point of regularly inspecting your sump pump throughout the year and after heavy rains. Does everything seem to be in working order? It's also a good idea to check it periodically during a heavy rain to make sure it is performing as expected. If something does go wrong, it's best to catch it early so you can repair or replace it quickly.
Make it Work
If it's been awhile since your sump pump ran you can test it by dumping a bucket of water in your sump pit. Does it turn on? Does it clear out all of the water? If not, a repair or replacement might be needed. Testing your sump pump during dry periods ensures it will be in proper working order when you really need it.
Keeping your equipment free of clogs will help to make sure your it's working as efficiently as possible and can even increase the life span of the sump pump.
- A crucial part of sump pump maintenance is keeping the filter screen clear of debris. Mud, pebbles, leaves, and other obstructions can stick to this screen; if they build up, the pump can clog or shut off. Check and clean the filter regularly.
- Dirt, mud, silt and other materials can get stuck in the pump and will need to be regularly removed to keep it in good working order.
- Checking the drainage line is also an important part of sump pump service. This line will usually stay clear, as the filter will catch many obstructions, but clogs can happen. When they do, you may need to disconnect the drainage line and clear it using a stronger flow of water from a faucet or hose. You can also use a long flexible brush to clear the line.
- While you're performing these sump pump maintenance tasks, it's a good idea to clean up the sump pit. Mud, silt, and other materials can accumulate to the point of being a clog hazard.
Heed the Low Battery Warning
Some homes also have battery backup sump pumps. These provide extra protection if your main pump breaks down or fails due to a power outage – a hazard that can occur during powerful storms. Your backup pump should have a warning system to inform you when the battery is getting low. Don't ignore this warning! Replace the battery promptly if necessary. If it's been a long time since you put in a new battery, it's wise to test the pump. Follow the inspection step above and pour a bucket of water into the pit to force the sump pump into action.
Be sure to refer to your manufacturer's instructions to know when these batteries should be tested, replaced, and/or recharged.
Smart Sump Pumps
Smart sump pumps that can be controlled from your phone are becoming more popular. These pumps are not only convenient – they can provide extra peace of mind. If the pump stops working and water begins backing up, you can receive an alert on your phone. Instead of sitting in the basement and watching your sump pump work, you can go to bed knowing that your phone will alert you if any action is needed.
Repair and Replace
No sump pump will last forever, and most have a lifespan of five to seven years (depending on usage and conditions). Taking steps to keep your sump pump clean and in good condition can help it last longer, but eventually it will need to be replaced.
Water in the basement can cause major damage to a home and you don't want to delay any needed repairs. Don't be afraid to call a trusted professional if your sump pump doesn't seem to be performing as it should.
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