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Maintaining a Sump Pump

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Simple Tips for Maintaining a Sump Pump
Maintaining a Sump Pump

Sump pumps require periodic maintenance


The sump pump is one of those "insurance policy" appliances that you depend upon to be there when you need it. And the time you need a sump pump is when the heavy rains come. Some homes are located where water tables are high, have poorly draining soils or are prone to heavy rains. Other homes have problems with their foundation drains or basement wall construction. All these conditions call for a sump pump to remove excess water from a basement. In addition, many homes have a sump pump installed "just in case" a flooding situation happens such as from an abnormal rainfall or if a pipe bursts in the basement. Sump pumps come in submersible and pedestal styles.

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The sump pump should discharge the water to the home's yard and not be hooked up to the sanitary sewer or discharge into a sink or other drain.

Sump pumps often sit for months without use and it is a good idea to do some simple maintenance as I outline below, to keep your sump pump in tip-top shape so it is there when you need it most.

Plan on doing these items every 3-4 months:

  • Clean pump inlet screen;
  • Check power cord and make sure the cord is connected to power;
  • Dump a bucket of water into the sump to raise the float and make sure the pump turns on.

Plan on doing these items once a year:

  • Remove the pump from the sump and clean it and inspect it;
  • Clean out the sump;
  • Check the Owner's Manual to see if the pump bearings require grease or oil. If you do not have the manual look it up on the Internet using the manufacturer and model number of your pump or contact the manufacturer;
  • replace the pump in the sump;
  • Check power cord and make sure the cord is connected to power;
  • Dump a bucket of water into the sump to raise the float and make sure the pump turns on, adjusting the float if required.

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