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Test and Maintain Your Sump Pump Now

sump-pumpDo you have a sump pump installed in your home’s basement? We recommend most homes in the area have one, since it’s the best plan to prevent damage from flooding due to weather or a burst pipe. A sump pump activates automatically to remove the excess water from the lowest part of a house and transport it out to the wastewater system, a well, or an outside drainage ditch leading to the storm drains.

You already have a sump pump? That’s great. But do you know if you can depend on it to come on and work in case of flooding? A back-up emergency system isn’t much good if it won’t work when it’s supposed to. This is why you always test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors—and it’s why you should check your sump pump in spring and have it maintained.

How to Check and Maintain a Sump Pump

It’s not difficult to see if your sump pump is working to detect water, activate, and then properly remove the water from the sump (the actual pit). We’ll take you through the steps, and then you’ll know if you’ve got a sump pump that’s ready to go—or if you’ll need to have a plumber repair it.

First, check the sump itself and clean it out. You don’t want any debris in the sump, since it could potentially clog up the pipes and intakes of the pump. The sump may have a cover over it that you’ll have to remove to make the checks.

Second, turn on the pump to make sure the motor is running. You don’t want to run it for long this way—just enough to know the motor works—because sump pumps aren’t designed to operate without water moving through them.

Third, take a large bucket filled with water and pour it down into the sump. Watch to see if the float connected to the lever arm rises with the water level. As the float rises, this should cause the pump to turn on. Stop pouring the water and watch to see if the pump empties out the water and then shuts itself off, completing the cycle. If it does, replace the sump lid—it appears you’ve got a working sump pump!

You May Need Repairs

If something goes wrong with any of these steps, don’t attempt to DIY-fix the trouble. You’ll need to have a professional plumber see to it. If the sump pump is more than ten years old, we recommend you look into getting a new one. For a sump pump that have to rely on direct electrical power, it’s a good idea to have the unit replaced with one that has a battery back-up. That way you won’t have the sump pump shut down in case of a power outage—something that’s common during major storms.

If you have a broken sump pump, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber in Burlington, VT to solve the problem. You want to be sure you can depend on your sump pump in the case of flooding or a major plumbing accident.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC provides professional plumbing services to Northwest Vermont & Northeast New York.

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