Before Winter Hits, Tackle These Sump Pump Maintenance Tasks

Posted on: 22 November 2016

As winter quickly approaches, it is more important than ever to make sure your sump pump is working properly. All it takes is one unseasonably warm day that melts a lot of snow, and your basement could easily flood if your sump pump is not up to the task of pumping the water out! Here are three sump pump maintenance and inspection tasks to tackle before winter comes in full-blast.

Clean the pit.

If your sump pump's pit is filled with debris like gravel or dirt, this could easily plug the pump and keep it from working when you need it most. Take a minute to fish any debris out of the pit. If your pit is concrete-lined and you can do so easily, you may also want to give it a good scrub with a scrub brush and mild detergent. This will get rid of any mold or algae that could clog the pump.

Test the backup battery.

Hopefully your sump pump has a backup battery. Otherwise, if the power goes out and you don't have a generator, your basement might flood. If you have an older model without a battery backup, you should strongly consider making an upgrade. If you do have a backup battery, take a minute to ensure it works. Turn off the power to your sump pump (at the breaker box), and pour a bucket of water into the sump pump pit. The pumps should turn on and pump out the water. If the water just sits there, you either need to charge or replace your backup battery.

Make sure the float is free.

Your sump pump uses a mechanism called a "float" to detect when there is water in the pit and turn the pump on in response. This float looks like a plastic or rubber balloon. It should have risen to the top of the water when you filled the pit with water to test the battery. If the float's string or chain gets wrapped around another component of the pump, it won't properly trigger the pump to turn on. Just untangle the chain, and you should be good to go. If the chain is untangled and the float still is not floating, it probably has a hole in it. You can purchase a new float at the hardware store. Put it in place by simply unhooking the old one and hooking the new one in place.

If your sump pump does not appear to be working properly, contact your plumber for repairs. It's important to have everything in working order by the time winter comes. Contact a company like Assured Plumbing & Heating for more tips.