Sump Pump Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

If you’ve never installed a sump pump, don’t 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 types of sump pumps: “submersible” pumps that are installed under the floor in your basement or crawlspace, and “pedestal” pumps that sit above your sump basin.

Sump pumps are used to “pump” groundwater away from your home and can evacuate large quantities of water, such as flood, to other areas, such as storms 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.

Common Mistakes in Sump Pump Maintenance

DIY Installation – If you’ve never installed a sump pump, don’t 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.

No Backup Power – 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’s 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.

Not Testing Your Sump Pump – Test your sump pump system twice a year- before spring and fall – to make sure that it’s 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.

Ignoring the Discharge Pipe – 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.

Letting Debris Get in the Pump – Ensure your sump pump doesn’t sit on debris such as slit or gravel, which could be sucked up into the pump, damaging the motor or impellers. Instead, place it on steady, flat bricks. Also, ensure the sump basin has a filer fabric around it to stop debris from coming in.

Ignoring the Float Switch – 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 not 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 isn’t 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.

Unplugging the Pump – 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.

Covering the Sump Pump – 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’s “’out of sight’, as the verbiage goes, it’s ‘out of mind.’” It’s 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.

Even with all these tips, sump pumps can fail without notice causing water damages to occur. When this happens, you can rely of PuroClean to provide you with professional remediation services.

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. When you experience a flood and need professional water damage repair or mold removal, contact your local PuroClean office as soon as possible.

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