Maintenance is Every Sump Pump Owner’s Responsibility
A sump pump plays a pivotal role in your home’s drainage system. In fact, the effectiveness of your drainage system is wholly dependent on the smooth operation of the pump. At times, sump pump failure does happen, leaving your basement area vulnerable to costly damage. The best way to avoid this potential damage is to closely follow the guidelines laid out in the owner’s manual which provides the necessary instructions for proper pump maintenance and operation.
Regardless of what model of sump pump you have, problems associated with pump failure are universal. For this reason, virtually every sump pump owner’s manual offers the same tips for pump failure prevention. Although any number of problems may arise with your pump, including a jammed or broken control switch or a burned out motor, the first rule of prevention is to keep your pump clean. Clogging is a major issue in sump pump maintenance. Dirt, debris, and a variety of other foreign objects can build up causing a blockage in the inlet screen. The screen’s function is to remove small particles of waste along with the water, but it can only handle so much. To properly clean your sump pump, use a pair of rubber gloves to collect all debris. Next, take a garden hose and fill the pump with water. As you fill the pump with water, the float will rise to cause the pump to activate again. If your float rises but does not start the system, it is time to consult the troubleshooting section in your manual.
The troubleshooting part of your owner’s manual will give you information on what to do in a situation where your pump is not responding as it should. If you have performed the advised cleaning process and your pump still fails to work, you need to check the electrical system. If your pump is plugged into an outlet much like any other appliance outlet, unplug your pump and try plugging in a clock or lamp that you know works. Also, check that the breaker is on. If your pump still fails to start, a manual will instruct you to do the following: reset the switch on the motor, check to see that the switch activated by the float is operational, verify that the motor is not burned out from being overused while in the clogged state. As a last resort, your manual will instruct you to check the float switch by moving it up and down. This will have the effect of cleaning dirty switch contacts and operation should resume immediately. Note that the switch should be replaced frequently, and if the switch can be removed, you may want to try and repair the damaged part yourself.
The owner’s manual accompanying your sump pump will clearly tell you that your pump will not work effectively unless you perform proper sump pump maintenance. Your sump pump plays an important role in your home, so take the time to read the manual carefully and know how to keep it in good working order.
About the Author
Herb Mansfield is a master plumber in the province of Quebec, Canada. He has over 35 years of experience in the plumbing field. He is now lending his expertise to the Sump Pump Info website.