DIY Sump Pump Inspections in 5 Steps

The sump pump is the heart and lungs of a home’s waterproofing system. When properly installed and maintained, its the most important tool you have to keep your basement dry. If your sump pump stops working for any reason, your home’s waterproofing system will probably fail and your basement may get wet.

How a Sump Pump Works

A sump pump’s job is to eject water away from the foundation. Here’s how a sump pump works:

Excess moisture in the soil around the home’s foundation flows into a drainage pipe and gets channeled into a sump pit. When the water in the sump pit reaches a certain level, the sump pump kicks in and releases the water away from the foundation. 

There are a few things you should regularly check to make sure your sump pump is ready to do its job this season.

5 Steps for DIY Sump Pump Inspections

Before you start, make sure to unplug any electrical power leading to your sump pump.

1) Check for Debris in Sump Basin

Make sure the sump pump pit is free from debris. You might be surprised at the kinds of things that can end up here as part of typical home life- children’s toys, items stored nearby that fall in, etc.

Anything that falls into the basin can get into the sump pump unit and interfere with moving parts, particularly the float mechanism. The float mechanism has a key role in sump pump operation, so be sure there is nothing interfering with it.

2) Test the Float

Fill the sump pump pit with water and make sure the float starts and stops the sump pump as designed.

3) Inspect the Check Valve

The check valves ensure that no water will go back into the sump pump pit when the sump pump shuts off. However, sometimes these are improperly installed.

An arrow on the check valve points in the direction the water is supposed to flow, which should not be towards the sump pump.

4) Clean the Weep Hole

Some sump pumps have a weep hole between the sump pump and the check valve. You can clean this with a toothpick or other tiny object. Be careful not to break anything into the weep hole.

5) Clean the Impeller

The impeller is a small filter that can become clogged. If your sump pump has stopped running suddenly or is making a whining noise, this could be the problem.

The impeller should be connected to the sump pump with bolts and may need a thorough cleaning to work properly.

Two More Common Sump Pump Problems

1) Odor in the Sump Pump

The sump pump trap always retains some water. But when the water doesn’t flow into the basin during the dry seasons, an odor often forms.

You can help eliminate the odor by cleaning the basin with a 5-part water/1-part bleach mixture. You could also fill the basin with water until the sump pump engages, which will cycle the water and help eliminate odor.

2) Back-Up Power Source

Having a backup power supply or generator is a great way to avoid overflow if there is a power outage. Most power outages happen during heavy thunderstorms that bring a lot of rain in a short period of time, which is exactly when you need your sump pump most. If you lose power, the backup system will take over to get rid of the water as the basin fills up.

There are also water-powered backup systems that tap into your home’s water supply to provide the energy needed to run the sump pump.

A backup power source is a great investment to make in order to avoid the costs of a flooded basement.

Professional Sump Pump Maintenance

We offer a comprehensive 20-point sump pump inspection as part of our Deluxe Maintenance Plan (DMP). Contact us to learn more about sump pump installation and inspection.

For more valuable articles like this one to keeping your Kansas City metro area home dry, visit our Ultimate Guide to Waterproofing Your Kansas City Home.

Working hard to keep families dry and strong through Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair done right the first time in Johnson County, Missouri including Warrensburg and Odessa.