Sump Pump Maintenance 101: A Guide for Homeowners



Sump pumps are essential for keeping basements and crawl spaces dry, especially during heavy rain or flooding. As a homeowner, it’s important to understand how sump pumps work and how to properly maintain them to ensure they function effectively when needed.

In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of sump pump maintenance.

If you’re looking for professionals to maintain your sump pump, consider J Blanton Plumbing.

Understanding sump pumps

A sump pump is a small, submersible pump that is typically installed in the lowest part of a crawl space or basement. It works by pumping collected excess water out of the house through a discharge pipe, preventing flooding and water damage.

There are two main types of sump pumps you can choose from: pedestal and submersible. Pedestal pumps sit above the water and are easily accessible for maintenance, while submersible pumps are fully submerged in water and typically require less frequent maintenance.

Regular maintenance

To ensure your sump pump is functioning properly, it’s important to perform regular maintenance checks. This can help prevent potential issues and extend the lifespan of your pump.

  • Check the power source: Make sure your sump pump is plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. In case of a power outage, consider investing in a backup system such as a battery-powered pump.
  • Test the pump: Pour water into the sump pit to test if the pump automatically turns on and drains the water. If it doesn’t, there may be an issue with the float switch or motor.
  • Clean the pump and pit: Remove any debris, dirt, or sediment from the sump pit and clean the pump itself. This can prevent clogs and ensure optimal performance.
  • Check the discharge pipe: Make sure the discharge pipe is free of obstructions and properly connected to an outdoor drainage area. It’s important to avoid redirecting the water towards your foundation or other structures.

Seasonal maintenance

In addition to regular maintenance, there are some tasks that should be performed on a seasonal basis:

  • Spring: With the arrival of spring, it’s important to check for any damage or wear and tear from winter. This includes inspecting the pump and discharge pipe for cracks or leaks.
  • Summer: During the hot summer months, sump pumps can become overwhelmed with excess water. Consider installing a backup system to avoid potential flooding.
  • Fall: As leaves and debris start to accumulate, make sure to clean out the sump pit and discharge pipe to prevent clogs. It’s also a good time to test your pump before the rainy season begins.
  • Winter: In freezing temperatures, it’s important to prevent the discharge pipe from freezing. Consider installing an insulated cover or redirecting the water to an indoor drainage system.

Final thoughts

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring your sump pump effectively protects your home from potential water damage. By following these tips and regularly checking on your sump pump, you can have peace of mind knowing that your basement and crawl space will stay dry.

Remember to also consult with a professional if you encounter any issues or have concerns about your sump pump’s performance. With the right care, your sump pump will continue to be a reliable safeguard for your home for years to come.