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How to Test a Sump Pump and Make Sure Your Basement Doesn’t Flood

How to Test a Sump Pump and Make Sure Your Basement Doesn

Sump pumps are a great way to protect your basement from flood damage during the spring and summer months. However, if you fail to test the sump pump before the rainy season starts it could cause a lot of water damage that could be easily avoided.

What is a sump pump?

Sump pumps are mechanical devices that move water out of your home’s basement. A
sump pump consists of four main parts:

  1. A motor that drives a pump shaft.
  2. A motor housing with a sealed enclosure for the motor and associated electrical components.
  3. An impeller (also called an impellor) that extends into the pit below the floor level of the basement or crawlspace.
  4. A float switch with a float that will rise when water rises activating the pump to turn on. Once the water lowers the float switch will fall, turning the pump off.

They are commonly used in basements and crawl spaces, but they can also be used in the garage or any other area where there is a risk of flooding. Sump pumps remove water that seeps into the ground from rain or snow melt.

How does a sump pump work?

These devices work by having a pipe that sits on the floor of your basement, which goes
down below the water level. The pump sits in another container called a sump basin,
which collects water. When there is excess water in the basin, it activates and suctions
the water up through the pipe and pumps it out of your home.

Why is it important to test the sump pump?

A sump pump helps protect your home from flooding caused by heavy rains or melting
snow. It keeps water from overflowing into your basement and damaging your
foundation, walls, and flooring. If you have a sump pump installed, it will kick on
automatically when there’s too much water for the drainage system to handle on its

Here’s how you can test your sump pump:

  1. Locate the sump pump: The sump pump is usually located in a pit or basin at the
    lowest point in your basement or crawl space.
  2. Fill the sump pit: Pour water into the sump pit until the water level triggers the
    pump to turn on automatically. If your sump pump has a float switch, make sure
    it’s not stuck and moves freely.
  3. Check for proper operation: Watch and listen as the pump runs to make sure it’s
    pumping water out of the pit and away from your home. The discharge line
    should also be free of any obstructions or blockages. If you notice any problems,
    such as strange noises or water not being pumped out, it may be a sign that your
    sump pump needs to be repaired or replaced.
  4. Test the backup system (optional): If you have a backup sump pump system, you
    can also test it by unplugging the primary pump and repeating the steps above.
  5. Repeat the test: It’s recommended to test your sump pump at least once a year,
    or before any major storm or rainy season.

Regular testing of your sump pump can help ensure it’s working properly and prevent
costly water damage to your home. If you have any concerns or notice any issues
during testing, it’s important to contact a professional for further inspection and repair.

Further recommendations include:
● a sump pump battery backup with an alarm
● cleaning the sump pump yearly

What is a sump pump battery backup?

A sump pump battery backup is a device that is installed in your sump pit and is
designed to run the sump pump for an extended period if the power goes out. If you live
in an area where there are frequent power outages, it may be worth considering one of
these devices.

How to clean a sump pump:

Cleaning your sump pump is an important part of its maintenance to ensure it continues
to work efficiently and prevent any issues. Here are the steps to clean a sump pump:

  1. Turn off the power: Before cleaning your sump pump, it’s essential to turn off
    the power to avoid any electrical hazards. Unplug the pump from the electrical
    outlet or switch off the circuit breaker that powers the pump.
  2. Remove debris: Inspect the sump pit for any debris, such as rocks, dirt, or other
    materials that could clog the pump. Use a scoop or your hands to remove any
  3. Disconnect the pump: If possible, disconnect the sump pump from the
    discharge pipe or hose. This will make it easier to access the pump and clean it
  4. Clean the pump: Use a clean cloth or brush to wipe down the pump, removing
    any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the pump’s exterior. Inspect the
    impeller and remove any debris that may have accumulated on it.
  5. Check the float switch: The float switch is responsible for turning the pump on
    and off as the water level rises and falls. Ensure that the float switch is free of
    any debris and moves smoothly.
  6. Reassemble the pump: Once you have cleaned the pump and checked all the
    parts, reassemble the sump pump. Ensure that all the connections are tight and
  7. Test the pump: Plug the pump back in or turn the circuit breaker back on, and
    test the pump to ensure it’s working correctly. You can test the pump by pouring
    water into the pit and checking that it’s pumped out.

Cleaning your sump pump should be done at least once a year, or more often if you
notice any issues or excessive debris buildup. Regular cleaning and maintenance can
prolong the life of your sump pump and prevent any costly repairs or replacements.
As the spring season brings warmer weather and potential rainfall, it’s important to
ensure that your sump pump is functioning properly to avoid water damage from
By taking these preventative maintenance steps, you can have peace of mind knowing
your home is protected from any potential water damage. If you have any questions
about sump pumps or need help installing one, contact us at Always Plumbing &
Heating Ltd. We provide comprehensive plumbing, heating, and cooling services.

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