Your sump pump is a crucial component of your home in order to reduce the likelihood of flooding. Most of the time, you don’t pay much attention to your sump pump because it’s just quietly doing its job. Many homeowners don’t even know whether or not they have a sump pump, let alone whether sump pumps need maintenance. If you have a basement or a crawl space, you almost certainly have one. It’s easy to forget about them until you need them, which makes some homeowners wonder if sump pumps need maintenance.
How Do Sump Pumps Work?
In order to understand how sump pumps need maintenance, it helps to understand how they work. Sump pumps remove water from the lowest level of your home. Since they’re installed in pits or wells under your basement or crawl space, if your home does not have either, you may not even have a sump pump.
When the water in the ground reaches a certain level, the sump pump automatically activates to drain water from the basin it’s been installed in until it reaches a normal level. In areas that don’t get much rain or snow or have low groundwater levels, the sump pump might not even turn on for years at a time. In areas that are subject to storms and that have higher groundwater levels, you’ll be relying on your sump pump a lot more in order to protect your home from the risk of flooding.
Chances are that if your sump pump is doing its job, you may not even realize if it’s there. But the last thing you want is a reminder of how important sump pumps are to prevent flooding if your sump pump breaks and now you have all of this water damage in your home. Sump pumps need maintenance in order to stay in good condition and do their job properly, the same as any other part of your home.
How Often Do You Clean A Sump Pump?
Given that there are several different types of sump pumps, you’ll want to consult with the manual it came with in order to determine proper maintenance. If you do not have the manual and you cannot tell what type of sump pump you have, your plumber will be able to help you find this information, given how much they help when sump pumps need maintenance.
Generally, there are a few guidelines for how often you should clean your sump pump.
- If your sump pump removes water from your washing machine, you should clean it monthly.
- If your sump pump does not remove water from your washing machine, then you will want to clean the pump screen/inlet opening every 3-4 months.
- Every year, you’ll want to clean both the sump pump itself and the pit it’s installed in.
Sump Pump Maintenance Tips
Sump pumps need maintenance in order to protect your home from expensive water damage. In addition to cleaning your sump pump, there are some steps you can take in order to maintain it. If your sump pump needs maintenance, plumbers are always here to help service it for you.
Some sump pump maintenance tips include:
- Testing it by pouring water into the basin and seeing if the pump activates or not
- Checking that it is upright and level, without obstructions
- Cleaning the inlet screen
- Conducting a deep clean of your sump pump annually
- Checking the discharge line for any blockage or leakage
- Inspecting the discharge location and ensuring it isn’t too close to your pump so the water doesn’t flow back in
- Checking the power source and replacing it if needed
- Investing in a backup sump pump that runs on batteries or water, so if a power outage happens, your basement won’t flood
When To Call A Professional
Sometimes, sump pumps need maintenance from a professional, especially if they need repairs or replacements. Part of maintaining your sump pump should include a professional evaluation every year, so that they can ensure it is working properly and identify any repairs or replacements that need to be done.
When professionals inspect your sump pump, they’ll check every part in order to ensure it’s working properly. This includes:
- The pit, and whether it’s big enough
- The check valve, to keep water from flowing back into the pit
- The backup power source
- If your sump pump has an alarm that goes off when it’s activated, they’ll check the alarm
- The removable cover that keeps water from evaporating into the basement
- The discharge location and whether it’s appropriate or not
Sump pumps need maintenance in the form of repairs sometimes, too, such as if your sump pump isn’t turning off.
If you have any questions about when sump pumps need maintenance or if you need sump pump maintenance, contact S&B Plumbing today. We provide expert sump pump services, including installation, repairs, and replacements.