TIPS ON SUMP PUMP DIY MAINTENANCE
Most sump pumps are equipped with water level or flood alarms that alert you when the pump is not working properly and when water is backing up. More advanced systems even alert your alarm company or call your cell phone if water starts to rise. Fortunately, with regular maintenance, you should never have to receive that daunting phone call. According to “Home and Gardens” it is recommended that you spend a few minutes every couple of months when heavy rains are forecasted and in early spring to ensure reliable sump pump operation. Follow these simple steps below:
- Make sure the pump is plugged into a working ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet and the cord is in good shape. In damp areas, GFCI breakers may trip, effectively shutting off the sump pump. Check in on your sump pump periodically so you can reset the GFCI, if necessary.
- Ensure the pump itself is standing upright. Vibrations during operation can cause it to fall or tilt onto one side. This can jam the float arm, which will interfere with pump activation.
- Occasionally pour a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump starts automatically and the water drains quickly once the pump is on. If the pump doesn’t start, call your serviceman.
- Physically remove a submersible pump from the pit and clean the grate on the bottom. The sucking action of the pump can pull small stones into the grate, blocking the inlet or damaging the pump over time.
- Make sure the outlet pipes are tightly fastened together and draining out at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from your foundation.
- Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear.
In addition to a sump pump, consider other methods to waterproof a basement and lower groundwater levels, such as careful yard-grading, maintaining proper gutters and downspouts or installing a French drain. The best sump pump situation is when it never needs to activate.
Maintenance for your sump pump is easy. Take time out of your schedule to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions as listed above. Invest in your pump’s future, and it will reward you with durability and reliability. You will have peace of mind about your primary pump and backup battery by scheduling maintenance with a service professional every so often. If your sump pump runs frequently, it is recommended to schedule maintenance more often.