It is wintertime again, and if you start having problems with a wet basement, you are not alone. It is estimated that more than 60 percent of homes have water problems in the basement. One big issue in winter is that water from snowmelt can reach the floor level. This problem can be mitigated by using a sump pump, which senses when water levels become dangerous. The incoming water can then be pumped outside before it can cause any damage.
Sump pumps are low-maintenance devices. If you are willing to perform a few simple inspections from time to time, it’s easy to keep them operational. Here are some key guidelines for keeping your sump pump working well:
- Check the discharge line – Make sure that the discharge line is not clogged or frozen. Also make sure that the air vent hole in the discharge line is not obstructed.
- Check the inlet screen – Periodically inspect the inlet screen to make sure that it is not clogged with debris or residue. Inspection and cleaning should be done about four times per year.
- Check the float component – Make sure that the float component is not obstructed. It must move be able to move smoothly for the sump pump to be operational.
- Scan the pit – Check the pit for accumulated mud and debris.
- Test the pump – You can check to see if your sump pump is operational by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. You should see the float rising with the water level and triggering the unit to start pumping. If pumping does not start with the rising water level, start troubleshooting. Ensure that the unit is plugged into the electricity source. See if the float switch and check valve are working.
- Check if water is flowing outside – Go outside the house and check the water discharge from the sump pump. Make sure that the water is going where it is supposed to go—away from the house.
Once a year, disconnect the sump pump from the power source and remove the unit. Flush the unit thoroughly with water in order to remove all debris and impurities that have collected. With the sump pump out, clean the debris from the sump pit. Reinstall the sump pump and reconnect it to the power source. Test the sump pump by pouring water in the pit to see if it will start.
A well-maintained sump pump can pay dividends by helping to prevent flooding in your home.