The sump pump is a vital part of your home’s defenses against flooding, water damage, and the expensive water mitigation and repairs you’d otherwise likely need if water did get in, a situation you’re particularly likely to encounter if the ground is saturated,

Why Your Sump Pump Is So Important

The sump pump is a vital part of your home’s defenses against flooding, water damage, and the expensive water mitigation and repairs you’d otherwise likely need if water did get in, a situation you’re particularly likely to encounter if the ground is saturated, perhaps as a result of heavy spring rains.

Generally situated in either a crawlspace or the basement, a sump pump removes incoming water back outside the house before it can produce water damage.

The catch, however, is that the sump pump will only do that if it’s working properly, and you’ll need to provide regular sump pump maintenance to be certain it is. Here are four tips that will help you do that.

Sump Pump Maintenance Tip #1: Regular Testing

You need to check regularly to find out if the sump pump actually is functioning properly. You can do this by dumping a pail of water in the sump pit. That should make the pump switch on. Assuming it does, then remove the water from the pit and turn off the pump for a couple seconds. This will allow you to make sure the float switch and check valve move freely without anything obstructing them. You’ll also want to ascertain that the discharge line isn’t obstructed or frozen. Finally, you should clear a clogged inlet screen of any debris or residue.

Sump Pump Maintenance Tip #2: Change the Batteries

Like any device that relies on electricity, your sump pump won’t work if it doesn’t have power. If you use batteries to backup the pump, be sure to change them every two to three years or however often the manufacturer recommends.

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Sump Pump Maintenance Tip #3: Clean the Sump Pump

You should clean the sump pump at least once a year. This requires disconnecting it from its power source. After you do that, wash it out with water to remove standing debris. You should also remove debris, mud, rocks, or anything else caught inside the sump pit. Once that’s done, replace the sump pump in its normal place and reconnect it to the electricity. Pour a pal of water into the pump to make sure it’s still functioning as it should.

Sump Pump Maintenance Tip #4: Be Sure the Outside of Your Home Is Properly Maintained

While your sump pump is a powerful defense against basement flooding, it’s better if water never gets in the basement in the first place. You can minimize the chances of that by sealing cracks in windows, walls, or the foundation. Clean gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure your house has proper drainage, and check to see if the grading around the house is as it should be. It should slope away from the foundation so water, which runs downhill, will flow in the opposite direction from the house.

If a house’s fundamental design is wrong, a great deal of water can invade a basement more quickly than a sump pump can get rid of it. If that happens, there could be considerable water damage pretty much right away.

Finally, if, despite your conscientious efforts to supply sump pump maintenance, the device still won’t work properly, call a plumber. The plumber will service the pump or, if necessary, replace it.