Troubleshooting a Sump Pump Check Valve

A Sump Pump Check valve is used to keep water out of the pump basin when it is shut off. If this fails, the water will wash back into the basin and create a heavy amount of wear and tear on the pump itself. If the water begins to wash back into the basin, you shorten the life of your sump pump dramatically. Remember to check your pump at least once a year and remove the dirt and debris that can accumulate around it. You will need to devote a couple of hours to complete the work and can do everything on your own.

Check for Clogs

Before you jump to the conclusion that the valve needs to be replaced, check for clogs and debris first. You can do this with a visual inspection. If you see debris built up around the valve, you will need to clear it out. Turn the pump back on and see if this solves the problem. If the pump device itself is pulling up dirt and debris, you need to clean this too. If you don't, you will keep experiencing the same problems over and over again.

Remove the pipe over the valve with a screwdriver. Lift the pump out and hold it over a trash can. Press the check valve and it will release any debris into the trash can. Use a hose to wash the valve. Wear gloves to manually pull grime out of the bottom of the pump pit. This will keep it from clogging in the near future.

Check Installation

If the valve was not installed properly, you will experience problems with the pump as well. Pull out your manual and retrace the installation, looking for anything that may be not be corrrect. You may need to remove the valve and reinstall it to determine if the valve is faulty or not. While you are checking it's a good idea to check the installation of the other components as well.

Make sure the pipes are in good order, the outlet is working properly and replace any parts that look worn. If the discharge pipe is rusted or damaged, replace the entire pipe. A simple problem with a sump pump can spiral in to a larger issue very quickly and cause other damage.

Replace the Valve

A replacement valve can be ordered from the pump manufacturer. They are typically inexpensive and easy to find. In order to replace the pump you will need pipe cutters. You will need to cut into the discharge pipe to remove the old valve. The new valve will need to be fitted in to the discharge pipe and secured using couplings.

To complete the installation, use PVC cement. Once it is replaced, run the pump through a couple of cycles to ensure it's operating properly. If you see water draining in to the pit then the valve isn't operating correctly and you will need to go back and check your work again.