If you're like many homeowners, you don't think much about your sump pump until it breaks, leaving you with inches (or even feet) of water in your basement. But by taking the time to clean and maintain your sump pump, you can prevent these malfunctions and be assured that your sump pump will do its job when you need it. Here are four cleaning/maintenance tasks to tackle.
Clean the filter screen.
Debris like dead leaves, dirt, and pebbles will build up in your sump pump's screen overtime. If you don't remove these materials, your sump pump will have to work extra hard to propel water through the screen. This can cause extra wear and tear and perhaps even cause the motor to burn out. To clean the filter screen, you'll need to unplug your sump pump from the outlet and then take the whole apparatus outside. Locate the filter (it should be pretty obvious – it looks like a screen), and wipe it off with a cloth. Use a hose to rinse the screen off if needed.
Clean the pit.
You can tackle this task while the pump is still outside after you've cleaned the screen. Removing debris from the pit will help keep the filter and drain lines clear, reducing your chances of a clog. Put on some gloves, and scoop out any larger debris in the sump pump pit. If your pit is lined with concrete, you may want to give it a quick scrub to remove algae and the like, but you can skip this step if it's just a dirt or clay pit.
Replace the backup battery.
Many sump pumps have a backup battery that will power them if the electricity goes out. Check your user's manual to see how often it recommends replacing the battery. Most need to be replaced every few years; you don't want to find out your battery has failed in the middle of a storm.
Run a test.
The best way to ensure your pump is working properly is to do a test run every month or two. Pour a bucket of water into the sump pit, and make sure the pump kicks on and pumps it out promptly. If it does not, it's time to call your plumber to do some repairs before a big storm rolls in.
Keeping your sump pump clean and well maintained is a lot less of a struggle than manually bailing water out of your basement! Check out websites like http://www.rite-waywaterproofing.com for more information.