Sump Pump Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

If you have never installed a sump pump, do not risk doing it yourself. Improper Installation can end up leading to costly damages related to water backing up into the building.

A sump pump can be the difference between a costly flooding incident and a dry basement. There are two different types of sump pumps, submersible and pedestal. A submersible pump that are installed under the floor in your basement or crawlspace. A pedestal pump sites above your sump basin.

Sump pumps are used to pump groundwater away from your home and can evacuate large quantities of water, such as flooding, to other areas, such as storm drains or basins. Regular maintenance is required to keep your sump pump in good shape and keep your basement dry year-round. To learn more about sump pump maintenance, below is a list of common sump pump mistakes to avoid.



If you have never installed a sump pump, do not risk doing it yourself. Improper installation can end up leading to costly damages related to water backing up into the building. Hire a plumbing professional to avoid the risks of improper installation.


During a powerful storm, your home can lose power, leaving your sump pump without power. To prevent water from backing up and flooding, ensure your sump pump has back-up power such as that provided by a generator. It is important to make sure you have a kill switch that does not allow the power line to the home to be energized, causing possible electrocution of a lineman working to restore power.


Test your sump pump system twice a year – before spring and fall – to make sure that it is in good working condition. To test the system, slowly pour water into the sump pit until it activates the pump switch. If it empties slower than normal, check the discharge pipe or the pump itself for clogs and other issues.


Check that the drainage pipes are tightly connected and are directed away from your home’s foundation. Also, inspect the pipe for cracks, visible damage, and clogs. Seek professional help at once if you find clogs or damage. Anything that impedes the flow could result in basement flooding due to slow drainage or no drainage at all.


Ensure your sump pump does not sit on debris such as silt or gravel, which could be sucked up into the pump, damaging the moto or impellers. Instead, place it on steady, flat bricks. Also, ensure the sump basin has a filter fabric around it to stop debris from coming in.


This part tells the sump pump motor to stop once the water level goes below the float. Your sump pump needs ample space around the float to be able to float and sink freely. During routine maintenance, check that the float switch does t have any cracks that could allow water into the float, thus preventing it from rising and turning on the pump to evacuate water properly.

If there is not enough room or if there is some type of obstruction in the way, the float may become stuck in the on position and cause the pump to work continuously. Running it dry can cause the motor to burn up and fail.


This can cause flooding if someone unplugs the sump pump and forgets to plug it back in. To prevent this, never unplug the pump or make sure you plug it back in if you do.


Knowing where your sump pump is located is important. Piling contents, boxes, and other items on top of it can make it obscure, and if it is “out of sight”, as the verbiage goes, it’s “out of mind”. It is important to keep this area free and clear of any objects and materials so the sump pump can function properly and have easy access to service and maintenance when needed.

Routine sump pump maintenance goes a long way in guarding against basement flooding. Schedule a thorough inspection with a septic tank maintenance professional, or plumber twice a year.

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