How to Test Your Sump Pump for Proper Operation

You can never predict when the next basement-damaging flood will arrive, which is undoubtedly the reason you had a sump pump installed in your basement. This device removes water that seeps in from the ground below your home and pumps it back outside.

Once installed, it’s wise to test the sump pump periodically to ensure proper operation when the next big storm hits. Follow these tips to ensure you’re never caught off guard.

  • Inspect the outlet pipe: This is the pipe located on your home’s exterior where excess water is pumped out by the sump pump. Make sure it’s not damaged or blocked so water can pour easily out and away from your home’s foundation. If necessary, remove blockages or redirect the pipe.
  • Examine the sump pump: Verify that the electrical cord is plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This protects against electrocution if a short occurs while the sump pump is submerged. Remove the sump pit cover and shine a flashlight into the hole. Look for debris or clogs that could possibly hamper functionality.
  • Test operation: Fill a five-gallon bucket with water and slowly pour it into the basin. When the water level within the pit reaches 8 to 12 inches below the finished basement floor, the sump pump should cycle on and begin pumping the water out.
  • Check the sump float: Many sump pumps have a float, which activates the pumping mechanism to remove water from the pit. If yours has this feature, make sure it functions correctly and doesn’t catch on the lid or against the basin. Lifting the sump float to activate the pump is another way to test operation. If you don’t actually pour water into the pit, just make sure to lower the float again after only a few seconds of testing.
  • Fix problems: If the pump is receiving power but doesn’t activate, mud could be clogging the pump. Scoop debris from the pit and run clean water through the sump pump to help clear out the buildup.

Test your sump pump with these techniques at least once a year to ensure it’s always in good working condition. For more tips you can use at home, please contact Day & Knight Plumbing & Heating today.

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