A sump pump is an essential plumbing tool in many households. Although it is separate from the main plumbing system, the sump pump prevents flooding by removing storm water that can accumulate in the basement of your home.
The sump pump typically lives in your home’s basement in a recession called a sump pit. Hidden away down there, it can be “out of sight, out of mind,” but keeping the pump running properly may be all that stands between your basement and a devastating flood entering the rest of your home.
Here at Direct Energy Home Services, we believe you should establish a proactive maintenance routine and understand the signs that your pump may be due for replacement.
Avoiding a Flood at All Costs
A flood is one of the worst disasters that could hit your home. Standing water can ruin your upholstery and woodwork in the short-term, and cause mold, mildew and rot over the long-term. It’s essential you periodically check your sump pump to ensure it’s operational, and you can do this by performing a few simple maintenance tasks.
1) Test the Pump
Slowly pouring a bucket of water directly into the sump pit. If your pump is working properly, you should hear it turn on and see the water level receding. If you have a second person to help, have that person watch the sump pump outlet outside your home to confirm that the water is flowing freely through the outlet pipe.
2) Clear the Inlet Screen and Grate
Unplug and remove the pump so you can inside the pit. Storm water passes through these filters, so they can collect things like silt, leaves, pebbles, and other debris.
3) Clear the Pit
While the pump is removed, clean out any remaining debris. Clearing the pit on a regular basis is the best way to avoid clogs and extend the life of your pump.
4) Check the Battery Maintenance Schedule
This is especially pertinent if your sump pump has an emergency backup battery. Not all pumps have this feature, and those that do have varying instructions for battery maintenance and replacement. Refer to the documentation that accompanies your specific sump pump model.
We All Gotta Go Sometime
A well-maintained sump pump should last several years, but there’s only so much one pump can take. Replacing your sump pump before it breaks down is key to avoiding a flood. To do this, you must know the signs of a failing pump.
Get to know the hum of your sump pump when it starts collecting water. If the noise coming from the motor changes significantly, it could be a sign the pump is having problems. And if you see water in the sump but don’t hear anything at all, your pump might have given up the ghost entirely.
If water starts to reach the top of the sump — or worse, is already flooding your basement — you need to have the pump repaired or replaced immediately.
Sump pumps over ten years old are also prime candidates for replacement. You don’t have to automatically buy a new unit just because yours is aging, but you should keep a close watch on it and install a replacement at the first sign of decreased performance. It’s better to upgrade a year too early than a year too late.
Tailor Your Sump Pump to Your Household Plumbing
When you need to replace your old sump pump, you may be overwhelmed with all the options at your disposal. There are pumps of various powers and capacities, pedestal pumps vs. submersible pumps, and different battery options just to name a few. When you have questions, talk to a plumbing professional for assistance in picking out the model that works best for you and your home.