Your home’s sump pump is vital to protecting your home from flooding, especially if you have a basement. While it does not get much use during Washington’s frigid winter months, it will be working overtime in the spring.
Even if you have never experienced an issue with your pump, you should always be proactive to ensure that it is in good working order. Failing to do so can result in some messy (and costly) water damage. Read on for our top seven tips to prepare your sump pump for spring!
Check the Power Supply
Check that the power supply is intact. Carefully inspect the cord for signs of damage, including fraying or exposed wires. A sump pump with damaged wiring is not safe to use.
You should also make sure that the cord is clear of the float so that it does not become tangled. Zip ties are a cheap and easy way to secure the power cord in a safe location.
Clear Out Any Dirt and Debris
Inclement weather has a knack for flushing all kinds of odd objects and debris into your drain lines. This includes rocks, gravel, and even the occasional toy. If your pump sucks in a foreign object, it could easily cause a malfunction or ruin your pump entirely.
Remove as much of the debris as possible with your hand. You should always unplug the pump while performing this task. You can also check the small hole between the check valve and pump. You can clear debris from this hole with a small screwdriver or toothpick, but be careful not to damage the pipe.
Inspect the Inlet Screen
Your pump’s inlet screen is designed to prevent debris from entering the pump. While most sump pumps are powerful enough to continue moving water with a clogged screen, it makes the motor work harder. Over time, this added stress can cause the motor to burn out.
Function-Test the Float Switch
The float switch is a vital component of your sump pump. It is designed to detect the water level within your sump tank. As the water rises, the switch will float higher and will activate the pump. If the float switch is not working, your pump will not turn on, leaving you with a flooded basement.
Testing the switch is extremely simple. All you need to do is pour several gallons of water into your tank. The float should rise and activate the pump. If it does not turn on, then it is time to contact a professional plumber so that they can replace your switch.
Test the Check Valve
Your pump’s check valve sits along the discharge line, usually a few feet above the top of the sump pit. The check valve contains an internal flap, which should easily swing back and forth.
If your valve does not swing properly, rinse it with vinegar and water. A 50/50 mix should work fine. The vinegar will break up any mineral deposits and allow the flap to move appropriately.
Flush the Drain Pipes
Your valves and pump are not the only areas that can get clogged with debris. Sometimes, these foreign objects can make it into your drain pipes. If your drain pipes are blocked, your sump pump will have to work extra hard to get rid of excess water.
You should check the flow of water from your drain pipe. If it appears that the water flow is slow, you likely have a clog. Usually, pouring hot water into the pipe can clear any obstructions. If not, then it may be time to call a professional plumber.
Check for Oil Leaks
Like any motor, your sump pump requires an adequate amount of oil to lubricate its moving parts. Without this lubrication, the heat caused by the friction will damage and ultimately ruin your sump pump. The oil is kept within the system using a variety of seals and gaskets.
While you cannot replace these yourself, you can keep an eye out for signs of damage. After you have completed cleaning your sump pump and can see the unit, check for signs of oil leaks. If you find any, then your pump may need immediate service to prevent damage.
If you find anything concerning when performing these simple maintenance tasks, don’t ignore it. Doing so can cost you thousands of dollars in damages to your home. Instead, contact Steve’s Plumbing and let us help! Our dedicated professionals can provide prompt and friendly service to get your sump pump ready for spring.