How Do You Clean a Sump Pump? | Rinaldi's Air Conditioning & Heating

How Do You Clean a Sump Pump?

Aug 15, 2023
How Do You Clean a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is vital equipment in many homes, particularly those susceptible to flooding. It works to redirect water away from the foundation, preventing water damage. However, a sump pump needs regular cleaning and maintenance like any other appliance to function effectively. This blog will cover everything you need to know about sump pumps.

How Do Sump Pumps Work?

To properly maintain your sump pump, knowing how it works is essential. Typically located in a sump pit at the lowest point of your basement or crawl space, the pump is designed to activate when it senses increased water levels. Once activated, the pump will redirect the water through a discharge pipe to a safe location, effectively preventing flooding.

How to Clean a Sump Pump

Step 1: Disconnect Power

Unplug the sump pump from the electric outlet or turn off its circuit breaker for safety.

Step 2: Remove Debris from the Sump Pit

Wearing gloves, remove debris like leaves, pebbles, or dirt from the sump pit, as these can clog the pump.

Step 3: Detach and Inspect

Carefully lift the sump pump out of the pit for closer inspection. Look for signs of wear and tear or other damage.

Step 4: Clean the Pump

Wash off the outer surface using a hose, and then open the pump to clean internal components if possible. Some models have screens or filters that should be cleaned or replaced.

Step 5: Test Run

After reassembling the pump, place it back into the pit and do a test run by filling the cavity with water.

Step 6: Reconnect Power

Once you’re confident it’s working well, plug it back in or turn the circuit breaker back on.

Sump Pump Preventive Maintenance

Knowing how to troubleshoot common issues that arise over time is essential. Understanding sump pump maintenance can save you time and money in repairing a bigger problem. Here are a few common troubleshooting tips.

Failure to Activate

Check the power source first if your sump pump doesn’t turn on. Ensure it’s plugged in and that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Also, inspecting the float switch as a malfunctioning one can prevent activation.

Inadequate Draining

If the pump activates but isn’t draining effectively, the issue could be a clog or an undersized pump. Check for obstructions and clean the impeller, the blade that pushes the water out.

Short Cycling

If the sump pump turns on and off quickly, or “short cycles,” this could wear out the motor. This usually happens when the float switch is not correctly adjusted.

Unusual Noises

Grinding or gurgling noises could indicate a clogged or damaged impeller. A thorough cleaning might resolve the issue, but if it persists, consult a professional.

Importance of Sump Pump Covers

A cover for your sump pump pit can help keep out debris and dampen noise. A well-fitted body is a worthwhile investment that could save you on future maintenance costs.

Sump Pump Replacement Indicators

Knowing when to replace your sump pump is just as crucial as knowing how to maintain it. Here are some signs that it’s time for a replacement:

Frequent Malfunctions

Most sump pumps last about ten years. If yours is older than that, consider a proactive replacement. If you find yourself frequently troubleshooting, it might be more economical to replace the unit.

Increased Noise Level

An unusually noisy pump could indicate internal wear and tear, signaling the need for a replacement.

Lack of Power

If you’ve had to upgrade the power level of your sump pump due to an increase in water levels, consider a more robust, more efficient model.

When to Get a New Sump Pump

If you are in the market for a new sump pump, consider models with advanced features like battery backup systems, alarms that notify you when the pump activates, or even intelligent pumps that can be navigated through a mobile app.

Who to Call for Sump Pump Maintenance

Understanding how to clean a sump pump and engage in preventive maintenance will extend the life of this essential home appliance. Whether you prefer the DIY approach or opt for professional service, timely upkeep is crucial.