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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Can your sump pump handle it?

5/15/2019 (Permalink)

Keeping your sump pump working is an important part of keeping your basement dry. See below for tips on sump pump maintenance

Step 1: Inspect

Start by checking the sump pit for any debris that could interfere with your pump's operation. If there is an "oil slick" on the surface of the water, the pump could be releasing coolant and may need replacement. Unplug the pump and take a look at the intake on the pump, and clean it out if necessary.

Plug the pump back in. If you're plugging into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet, make sure that it's fully operational. While newer GFCI outlets will alert you or stop working when their circuitry goes out, older outlets will not. Also, if you notice any frayed wires or exposed connections, have them repaired by a licensed electrician as soon as possible. Water and exposed electricity is never a safe combination.

Step 2: Test
Add a few gallons of water to your pit, enough to raise the float or reach the switch, to see if the unit is functioning properly. If the float rises too high without turning on, or the switch doesn't activate the pump, unplug the unit and check again for debris in the unit and the pit. If the pump does operate correctly,  look at the discharge pipe. If flow appears to be reduced, look for any blockages. 

Step 3: Plan Ahead

Do you have a backup pump? Even if the power stays on, there is always the possibility that your pump won't be able to deal with all the water of a particularly powerful storm. 

Stay Informed

Like a backup pump, a high water alarm or flood prevention device is a very good idea. If you have a sump pump, you're obviously concerned about flooding and water damage. If you already have an alarm set up to alert you when the water level is too high, overflows, or when the pump malfunctions, test its operation by either raising the float arm to activate it or placing water on sensors. You can also tune in to your local weather station to see if you have particularly powerful storms headed your way. Checking before the storm can give you time to fix any problems you might have.

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