basement sump pump

Sump Pump Cleaning and Inspection Instructions

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One of the more important parts of the house that often gets ignored during spring-cleaning is the sump pump. The sump pump is a critical device dedicated towards preventing floods in people’s homes during severe rainstorms. A clean, well functioning sump pump can end up saving a homeowner a lot of money in damages when spring and summer storms hit. Here is a checklist for sump pump cleaning and inspection

Sump Pump Cleaning and Inspection Instructions

Before cleaning the sump pump, find the electrical outlet that provides electricity to the pump. Be sure everything is turned on and connected properly. Some systems have a battery operated backup system so the pump continues to work even if a storm knocks out the home’s electricity. Test the battery to be sure it works and doesn’t need to be replaced.

It is always good to keep the pit holding the sump pump clean. First, lift whatever cover has been placed over the sump pump and inspect the situation. The pit in which the pumps sits in can sometimes get filled with dirt, sand, and other debris, so it is important to be sure to keep the pit clean. A clean pit will help to keep the pump more efficient and prevent clogging.

If you take off the lid to find standing water – especially smelly water – don’t panic. Find a gallon bucket and progressively pour five gallons of water into the pit. The newly added water should activate the sump pump and begin flushing out all of the water that is in the pit, including the foul smelling water that was in the pit previously.

Even if the pit is not full of water it might be a good idea to pour water into the pit to be sure the pump is working properly. If the pump doesn’t activate, check the circuit breaker to make sure the switch is turned on. Then make sure the floating devices that are responsible for activating the pump are spaced out enough to float freely. If the pump fails to turn on, call a plumber.

The next step to take after making sure the pump works and the pit is clean is to make sure the drainage pipe is in good condition and not cracking or deteriorating. Clean the screen that covers the pipe to reduce the amount of debris that goes into pit and allows for maximum water flow. Also be sure to check and make sure the water is draining through the piping properly.

Finally, be sure to check that the water exiting from the sump pump is flowing away from the house. If the water flows right back towards the house, the exiting water will build up and cause more strain on the sump pump. Make sure there is a path for the water to flow a good distance away from the house.

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One thing to consider doing with the extracted storm water is to collect it. Collecting the water in a drum would allow for use later to water plants or irrigate a garden. The simple act of collecting storm water could end up saving a lot of money (and your garden) in the summer months when rain becomes less frequent.

Photo by Stradablog

Photo by Stradablog

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