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DIY Sump Pump Inspections in 5 Steps

DIY Sump Pump Inspections in 5 Steps

The sump pump is the “heart and lungs” of a home’s waterproofing system. When properly installed and maintained, its the most important tool you have to keep your basement dry.

However, if your sump pump stops working for any reason, your home’s waterproofing system will probably fail and your basement may get wet.

Have you ever noticed that sump pump failures usually occur at the most inconvenient time?

During a rainstorm, when the sump pump is supposed to be doing its most important work, that’s when we usually find out which sump pumps work, and which ones fail.

There are a few things you should regularly check to make sure your sump pump is ready to do its job this season.

5 Steps for DIY Sump Pump Inspections

Before you start, make sure to unplug any electrical power leading to your sump pump.

Check for Debris in Sump Basin

Make sure the sump pump pit is free from debris. You might be surprised a the kinds of things that can end up here as part of typical home live - children’s toys, items stored nearby that fall in, etc.

Anything that falls into the basis can get into the sump pump unit and interfere with moving parts, particularly the float mechanism. The float mechanism has a key role in sump pump operation, so be sure there is nothing interfering with it.

Test the Float

Fill the sump pump pit with water and make sure the float starts and stops the sump pump as designed.

Inspect the Check Valve

The check valves ensure that when the sump pump shuts off, no water will go back into the sump pump pit. However, sometimes these are improperly installed.

There is an arrow on the check valve that points in the direction the water is supposed to flow, which should not be towards the sump pump.

Clean the Weep Hole

Some sump pumps have a “weep hole” between the sump pump and the check valve. You can clean this with a toothpick or other tiny object. Be careful not to break anything into the weep hole.

Clean the Impeller

The impeller is a small filter that can become clogged. If your sump pump has stopped running suddenly or is making a whining noise, this could be the problem.

The impeller should be connected to the sump pump with bolts and may need a thorough cleaning to work properly.

Two More Common Problems

Odor in the Sump Pump

The sump pump trap always retains some water. But when the water doesn’t flow into the basin during the dry seasons, and odor often forms.

You can help eliminate the odor by cleaning the basin with a 5-part water/1-part bleach mixture. You could also fill the basin with water until the sump pump engages, which will cycle the water and help eliminate odor.

Back-Up Power Source

Having a backup power supply or generator is a great way to avoid overflow if there is a power outage. Most power outages happen during heavy thunderstorms that bring a lot of rain in short period of time, which is exactly when you need your sump pump most. If you lose power, the back-up system will take over to get rid of the water as the basin fills up.

There are also water powered backup systems that tap into your home’s water supply to provide the energy needed to run the sump pump.

A backup power source is a great investment to make in order to avoid costs of a flooded basement.

Professional Sump Pump Maintenance

We offer a comprehensive 20-point sump pump inspection as part of our Deluxe Maintenance Plan (DMP).