A sump pump assists in the removal of water from underneath and around the foundation of a home. It is typically installed in a pit – or basin – located in the basement and pumps excess water through a discharge pipe to the exterior.
We will soon be entering the rainy season. Historically, we will see the most rainfall in late May thru early June, with the rain beginning as soon as the weather begins to warm up – hopefully – in March. It is also at these points in the year that we, at Wellmann Plumbing, receive an influx of calls to our office with sump pump emergencies. Some calls come in before it’s to late and others when a basement has already began to flood.
While we are always available to service a sump pump, there are a handful of steps that can be taken by a home owner to minimize the chances of a sump pump failing at the wrong time:
- Double check that the circuit breaker that serves the sump pump is turned on. If it has tripped – and continues to trip – call an electrician to investigate the problem. If they determine the sump pump is faulty, it will need to be replaced.
- Verify that the sump pump cord is plugged in and the outlet has power. To test the outlet, you can use an outlet tester or contact a licensed electrician.
- Ensure that there is no debris on top of or surrounding the sump pump. Any dirt, gravel, or other objects in the sump pit may clog the impeller of the sump pump or limit the floats movement. Also verify that the float is not touching the side of the sump pit as this may prevent the float from rising properly. Never stick your hand into the sump pit without first unplugging the sump pump.
- Carefully and slowly add water to the sump pit and monitor to ensure that the sump pump turns on. The amount of water you need will depend on the initial water level. Avoid dumping water straight on top of the pump. If the sump pump begins to pump out water proceed to step 5. If it does not, contact your local plumber to schedule repair or replacement of the pump. You will hear the pump turn on and feel the water moving through the discharge pipe (located above the sump pit).
- Inspect the discharge pipe on the exterior of your house. If the sump pump turns on inside it should discharge water through the terminal of this pipe. If you do not see water flowing out of this pipe or in a puddle on the ground you may have an issue in the discharge line or pump. We recommend calling a licensed plumbing professional for inspection.
The above steps may seem simple, but after hibernating through the long months of winter it is easy to forget the sump pump tucked away down in the basement. Following the steps above will greatly decrease the chances of having sump pump issues when it is needed the most.
Interested in additional protection from basement flooding? Please take a look below at additional options:
- Battery Back-Up: Battery back-up sump pumps can be installed in your sump pit to ensure that even in a power outage water will be pumped out.
- Water Detector: A water detector (alarm) may be placed near your sump pit to alert you when water is present on your basement. Although this option may not prevent a failure it can alert you to an issue when you are not home – possibly limiting the damage. It also doubles as a method to detect leaks from plumbing fixtures or pipes at your home while you are away.
- Lighted Cord End: Certain sump pumps can be provided with a lighted electrical cord end. If the plug-in on the electrical cord is glowing where it is plugged into the wall you can rest assured that at the very least you have power to your pump.
- Wireless Monitoring: Like everything now-a-days, you can track the status of your sump pump using applications on your phone or computer. This will allow you to check-in on your sump pump even while away – assuming a working internet connection.
If you believe your sump pump may need to be repaired or replaced you can schedule an appointment with us today. We are always happy to help.
If you have any questions regarding the steps or additional options listed above please feel free to leave a comment below.
Enjoy the spring showers!