From a freak heavy rainfall to a totally predictable spring thaw, your basement is susceptible to flooding for several reasons. If you've dealt with a flood in the past, you know how devastating and costly the mess can be. Having a sump pump installed by a professional is a great way to prevent flooding in the future, especially if the unit is inspected on a regular basis – both by you and a professional. Here are a few tips to help you know what you can inspect on your sump pump and what you should leave to a professional plumber:
Inspecting the Pump Yourself
To ensure your sump pump continues to keep your basement free of standing water, it is important that you inspect it periodically. According to the Cushman Insurance Group, you should perform a yearly inspection of your pump. Here are a few things you should check over during this inspection:
- Check the sump pump's source of power, including the cord. Ideally, your pump should be connected to a GFCI, or a ground fault circuit interruptor. Look over the cord for any signs of damage. If you notice any, replace the cord immediately.
- Examine the main pump unit. Look for any damage and make sure that it isn't tilted. The shaking that often occurs when the pump is running can cause it to tip over. If the pump is tipped, adjust it until it is straight.
- Clean the pump inlet screen, which is found directly below the pump inside the basin. Lift up the pump and set it aside. Clean any debris or dirt with a plastic scrub brush. Once the screen in clean, replace the pump unit.
- Test the pump by dumping a bucket of water into the basin. When you do this, the float should automatically rise and you should hear the unit turn on and start pumping. If this doesn't occur, begin by rechecking the outlet to ensure the pump is plugged in. If the pump has power, contact a professional plumber immediately to determine the reason why your pump isn't functioning properly.
What You Should Leave to the Professionals
Performing a yearly inspection is critical, but there are certain aspects of maintaining your pump that should be left to a professional. For example, many pumps come equipped with an alarm that sounds each time the unit is activated. If your unit features an alarm, you should contact a professional to have it inspected. The alarm's inspection schedule will vary depending on the model, so ask your plumber how often you should have it tested.
Your pump is attached to a drainage area and check valve outside of your home. The check valve is located on the end of the drainage line, and it helps ensure no water flows back through the pipe. The check valve and drainage area must be inspected and maintained by a professional to ensure that the pump can effectively drain water from your basement.
A professional should also inspect the basin that the pump unit sits inside. They should look for any issues that could obstruct the pump's ability to drain properly. Finally, if your sump pump comes equipped with a backup power source, it should only be inspected by a professional. Remember, this is an integral component of your pump and it will prove invaluable if there is a power outage.
Work with your plumber to determine which aspects of your sump pump should only be inspected and maintained by a professional and how often they should come out and look over the unit.
If you've ever suffered a flood, you know how important it is to have a functional sump pump. Inspecting the sump pump on your own at least once-a-year, and having it looked over by a professional, is the best way to ensure the unit runs properly.