As the last line of defense against basement flooding, sump pumps save the day when foundation problems, downspout clogs, or other leaky basement issues arise. While the type of system you have may vary, almost all sump pumps operate the same way, making basic troubleshooting and maintenance relatively straightforward. So, what can you do to ensure the peak performance of your system and prevent an avoidable basement flood?
Learn About Your Specific System
Take some time to learn about your sump pump before attempting to perform any maintenance or troubleshooting steps alone. If you didn’t keep the user manual after installation, you can often find the user manual online with a quick model or motor number search. With the user manual handy, you can find helpful information about your sump pump, like:
- How it Functions
- Expected Maintenance & Replacement Timelines
- Which Company Supplies Replacement Parts
- Safety Features; i.e. Certain sump pumps will have an alert system indicating a faulty power supply or pump malfunction
- & Basic Care Tips
After gaining a better understanding of your system, it will be easier to identify obvious problems and you’ll know what to expect when the time comes for routine maintenance or a sump pump repair in Montgomery County, PA.
1. Is the System Working Correctly?
Before attempting any kind of maintenance, it’s important to test the pump’s functionality. With the machine plugged in and the discharge line attached, open up the sump pump pit and fill the pit with water. If the system is functioning properly, water will start to drain as soon as the predetermined water level is detected.
If the system activates and water begins to drain from the pit quickly, then your system is working. If the system activates, but water seems to be draining very slowly, it could be a problem with the pump itself or a blockage within the drainage line. If the system does not activate at all, there may be a problem with the water sensor, pump motor, or the power supply.
2. Keep the Drainage Line Clear
If debris of any kind becomes trapped within the pump system or drainage line at any point, your system may drain slowly or not at all. This can cause a catastrophic backup from within the system, or produce excessive strain on the motor since it requires additional force to push the water through the partial blockage. If you suspect a drainage line issue, inspect both inside the sump pump and the exterior spout.
Remove any debris you find and retest the pump to see if drainage functionality is restored. In addition to removing any blockages, you also want to ensure that your pump pit is properly sealed will prevent dust and other debris from getting into the system.
3. Clean the Sump Pump
Depending on the frequency of pump use, the sump pump should be cleaned at least once a year. In rainy areas or if you experience regular clogging issues, you may need to increase your cleaning frequency.
After unplugging the system and disconnecting the discharge line, rinse the pit and the pump with a hose to loosen any trapped debris. Next, scrape off any visible residue on both the pump and within the pit with a putty knife or similar scraping tool. After that, rinse everything again before using a wet vacuum to remove the standing water from the pit. Now, plug in the system, connect the discharge line and test your pump again.
4. Check the Batteries
Many sump pumps come equipped with a backup battery system. Checking the battery systems is essential, and can be easily overlooked during routine maintenance if you haven’t had a power outage in a while. Simply unplug the system and perform the same pump check above with only the batteries supplying power.
5. Find a Reliable Sump Pump Care Team
Even with quality self-maintenance, sometimes sump pump troubles involve complex inner wiring, pump mechanics, and difficult to diagnose discharge line issues. We specialize in preventative sump pump service and go above and beyond to protect our clients from water-damaged basements in Philadelphia. We can assist with all of the above maintenance tips, and arrive with years of experience in professional troubleshooting and equipment care at a moment’s notice.
While our helpful team members are there, we can help you organize a preventative maintenance schedule, repair any equipment issues, and will teach you more about our advanced systems if you need a better sump pump installed. Contact us and get free estimage.