If you want to avoid flooding in your basement, proper sump pump maintenance should be something you learn and perform on a regular basis. Both pedestal and submersible sump pumps are effective at preventing water damage in your basement by directing wastewater and rainwater away from your home. However, a sump pump is only effective when it is properly serviced and maintained. Therefore, this article will address proper maintenance methods for sump pumps and how often they should be performed.
Step 1 - Keep Your Sump Pump Clean
The most important step of properly maintaining your sump pump is to make sure it is always clean. In order to keep your sump pump clean, disconnect the sump pump from the power source or disconnect the battery. Then, place the sump pump where you can easily access it. Although this is easy with pedestal-type sump pumps, you may have to lift out a submersible sump pump from the sump pit.
After you have access to the sump pump, use the check valve to remove any excess water in the pump tank. Then, clean away any dirt or grime that is settled on the base of the unit. Over time, this dirt and grime can get into sump pumps that are improperly sealed. So, while cleaning the pump, you should also inspect the container to make sure that all seals are intact.
Step 2 - Inspect Inlet and Outlet Valves on the Pump
You should occasionally inspect the inlet and outlet valves on a sump pump. To do this, you'll need to have an adjustable wrench handy to twist off the valves. Once the valves are removed from the stems, use an old toothbrush to remove any grime and sediment that may have settled into the valves.
Once you have cleaned and reattached the valves, you should also check them for leaks. If the valve stems are leaking, you may be able to quickly repair them by simply using plumber's Teflon tape on the threaded ends. If this approach doesn't work, you'll need to purchase and replace the leaky seals with new ones.
Step 3 - Frequently Test the Sump Pump
You should get in the habit of testing the sump pump on a regular basis. In fact, make a small sign in your basement to remind yourself to test the sump pump occasionally. In order to test it, you simply need to turn it on. If the sump pump is working correctly, it should start pumping any water in the sump pit. If no water is in the pit, take a bucket of water and pour some into the drain. Then, test the sump pump again.
Step 4 - Yearly Tune-Up
About once a year, you should have the sump pump serviced. When servicing the sump pump, you will want to make sure that all moving parts inside the motor are properly oiled and lubricated. Also, make sure all electrical connections are intact and connected with wire nuts. If electrical connections become frayed or damaged, you'll need to re-strip the wires and reconnect them with shielded wire nuts.