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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Tips for Sump Pump Maintenance

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Kid swimming in a flooded house. The maintenance of the sump pump will avoid a flood in your White Bear Lake, MN home.

The space in your home in White Bear Lake, MN, is most likely to flood in your basement. You can have a strong foundation and take all the recommended precautionary measures to keep water out of the lowest level of your house, but a heavy storm may still overcome all the barriers you put in place. A sump pump is a smart addition to any basement, particularly if your home is in a flood plain, but it only helps you if you keep it in good working order. Here are some tips on how to do so.

How To Maintain Sump Pump

Keep Sump Pump Pathways Clear

Allowing water to flow out of your house is the pump's main job. The key to good pump maintenance is keeping the path of the water unobstructed. There are four main areas of the pump where clogs are most common:

  • Intake screen
  • Pit
  • Vent hole
  • Discharge pipe

If dirt or debris gather in any of these areas, the pump can overflow, dumping the water back into the basement it is designed to protect. By keeping the pump clean and clear of blockages, you can ensure that it is able to do its job and move water out of the basement in a timely manner.

Maintain a Regular Testing Schedule

Even if your sump pump is clear of debris, you can't always tell if it's working by looking at it. Fortunately, the pump is pretty easy to test. Fill a bucket with water and pour it into the basin. This should trigger the float and activate the pumping mechanism. You'll know it's working properly if the water drains quickly.

Flood damage mitigation experts recommend that you test your pump at least once a month, particularly during rainy seasons. Frequent testing ensures that your pump is ready to protect your basement if a particularly heavy storm hits your area.

Ensure Access to Power Sources

No matter how great a shape your pump is in, it doesn't work if it isn't connected to a reliable power source. Frequently inspect the power cord for flaws and plug it into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet. Additionally, you must make sure the GFCI outlet is located above the flood line of your home. It can't power your pump if the flood itself causes it to malfunction.

It's also good to have a backup power source. A generator can supply your home with power even if the municipal structure fails. Many sump pumps come equipped with their own battery backup, so that may be a factor you want to consider when choosing one for your home. If you select this option, you need to check the battery periodically to make sure it's still strong.

A sump pump can be a lifesaver for your basement or the lowest level of your home during a heavy storm. While the best protection from flooding is prevention, that's not always feasible, particularly if your home is located in a flood plain. A reliable pump helps you get floodwater out of your home quickly before it can cause a lot of damage.

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