Last Updated on January 9, 2021 by Sophie Turner
Is your basement full of water again, even after installing a sump pump? Something is wrong somewhere.
Maybe you did not install properly, or there is a lot of debris in the pipes. It could be that the power source is not properly connected, and you do not have a battery backup.
Learn some essential tips for using a sump pump to get the best performance.
Why Do Sump Pumps Fail?
Sump pumps fail because of several reasons, most of which can be prevented without calling a professional.
The work of a sump pump is easy; only if you use the device the right way. By using a sump pump correctly. You maintain moisture and mold-free house, you also avoid unnecessary water and electricity bills, not to mention expenses incurred in renovating a weakened structure.
Regardless of whether you have a pedestal or submersible sump pump, you must carry out regular maintenance. This will make sure the sump pump saves you every time your crawlspace starts flooding. You will also increase the shelf life of the pump in the process.
To help you achieve this, here are great tips for using a sump pump correctly.
Tips for Using a Sump Pump
- Start with proper installation
It is essential to ensure that you install a sump pump the correct way. All sump pumps come with an instruction manual and a list of all the tools you will need to complete an installation effectively. Follow all the instructions to the latter. Call a professional if the installation process becomes difficult for you.
Proper installation means:
- Place the pump on a level solid surface
- Dig a pit that is big enough – no less than 24 inches depth and 18 inches width
- Ensure the discharge pipe does not lead to the street or walkway
- Make sure nothing obstructs the pump and that the pump is not leaning on the wall
- Install weep hole below the check valve to prevent lockout
- Test the pump before placing it into the sump
- Cleanliness is next to godliness
After how long should you clean the sump pump? Is it monthly, quarterly or annually? Sump pump cleaning depends on how often the pump is used. If you use the pump to drain water from the washing area (which should not be the case), it is recommended you clean the pump after every three to four months.
Otherwise, you can clean the sump pump annually to free it from any debris and particles.
- Test the sump pump during dry season
You cannot afford to sit and wait for when the storm comes back to check if the sump pump is still in good condition. You may be disappointed. Occasionally during summer, test the pump by pouring a bucket full of water into the pit. Wait to see if the water drains out without any problems.
If it does, the sump pump is still functioning optimally.
- Clean drainage pipes
Continuous use of the sump pump leads to gravel, dirt, and debris accumulating in the discharge pipes. It is good practice to clean the pipes and remove all these particles.
If not removed, the accumulated debris block the pipes, causing the pump to work harder when draining the basin. This greatly increases the chance of the sump pit overflowing.
While at it, also remove and frozen waters that may be blocking the pipes.
- Check power source
For your sump pump to work effectively, ensure the entire unit plugs into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. The GFCI should be in good working condition. When connecting to the GFCI, check to see that the power cords do not have any damage signs.
- Level the sump pump
To get the most out of your newly installed sump pump, let it sit on a leveled solid surface. Never should you place it on the earth directly. If you do not place it on level ground, the pump will be knocked down easily from the hard work of pumping water out of your basement.
- Have the pump inspected
Annual sump pump inspection by a professional is mandatory. This will give you an idea of whether your pump is working properly and if you need any repairs and or replacements.
During inspection, the professional plumber will look at:
- Power back up availability and its working condition for proper functioning when there is a power shortage.
- The sump pit to ensure it is large enough to collect and drain out floodwaters.
- The check valve to ensure connection to the discharge pipe was done properly. This prevents water from flowing back into the pit when the pump turns off.
- Discharge location: he or she will inspect the discharge location to ensure that water does not drain out to other peoples’ homes or walkways. The discharge location should also be at least 20 feet away from your house to prevent water from draining back to the house.
- Sump pump cover to ensure it fits properly
- The alarm (if installed); the expert will test the sump pump alarm to make sure it can alert you in case of water build-up or when the pump stops working.
- Invest in a battery backup
Out of the many great tips for using a sump pump is buying a battery backup. The battery backup serves the purpose of supplying power to your pump when there is electricity shortage.
With this battery, you can rest assured that your pump will continue working even in the absence of electricity. It works best during stormy weather or if you are in an area that experiences frequent power outages.
The above tips should help you know what to do to prevent sump pump failures. Remember, the key to avoiding sump pump failures is proper installation and regular maintenance. So, use the above tips for using a sump pump to keep floodwaters away from your basement for as long as your pump is not more than ten years old.