What’s Involved in Annual Sump Pump Maintenance?
Stay on top of sump pump maintenance so your equipment will be ready if you need it. Sump pumps often spend long periods of time idle. Concealed in a covered basin in the basement floor, a sump pump may operate intermittently when ground water rises or only in rare cases like floods or pipe ruptures. A defective sump pump probably won’t be obvious until it fails to operate when it’s really needed. By then, basement flooding and water damage could be extreme. Routine sump pump maintenance is recommended every three to four months with a more comprehensive procedure annually.
Quarterly Maintenance Tasks
- Unplug the pump and empty the basin of any standing water.
- Remove any debris from the basin and make sure the sump pump inlet screen is clear and not obstructed.
- Plug the pump in and pour five gallons of water into the sump to verify that the float switch turns the pump on and off properly.
Annual Sump Pump MaintenanceSome of these tasks may be completed by in-the-know homeowners, but if you’re not sure about something, you’re much better off hiring a skilled professional to do it right the first time.
- Unplug the pump and remove it from the basin for evaluation. Examine for rust or corrosion. Clean the pump inlet screen.
- Check the owner’s manual to see if the pump bearings need lubrication. If so, lubricate with the recommended oil or grease. Pumps with sealed bearings will not require lubrication.
- Check the sump basin for debris and remove.
- Reinstall the pump and plug it back into the power outlet.
- Pour five gallons of water into the basin and observe the action of the float switch. Verify that it moves through its entire range of travel without binding and turns the pump on and off at the proper time.
- Outside, check the condition of the pump discharge pipe. Make sure it’s not obstructed by dirt or vegetation. Also verify that it drains fully and doesn’t contain residual water that may freeze in winter, rupturing the pipe or obstructing proper flow.