When and How to Check Your Sump Pump
Spring has officially arrived and the warmer temperatures mean snow is melting everywhere. Compared to wintery snowdrifts, puddles of water on sidewalks and roadways are a welcome sight. Unless you have the misfortune of an untimely sump pump failure and find yourself dealing with major puddles in your basement! These are the months when your home’s sump pump is put to the test. Stay dry this spring with these helpful tips on how and when to check your sump pump.

When should I check my sump pump?

Ideally, you’ll want to ensure your sump pump is in prime working order before the melting season gets underway. Unfortunately, for homeowners who don’t perform an annual sump pump check, the first sign of trouble tends to be a flooded basement. Seasonal changes in Alberta can be unpredictable, but as long as you schedule your sump pump inspection before the mercury is consistently above zero, you should have plenty of time to address any concerns before the flood waters appear.

Okay, I just figured out where my sump pump is—now how do I check it?

If your knowledge of sump pump operation is on par with your knowledge of quantum mechanics, don’t worry; you’re not alone. The important thing to know is that your sump pump is responsible for removing underground water and pumping it back up and away from your home. To ensure your sump pump is operating properly, here are a few things you can check:

  1. Examine your sump pump unit
    Ensure your sump pump unit is plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). If a short occurs while the sump pump is submerged, the GFCI helps protect against accidental electrocution. Remove the sump pit cover and look for any obvious signs of debris or blockage.
  2. Test operation
    Using a bucket of water, slowly pour it into the basin and watch and listen for the sump pump to cycle on as the water level rises.
  3. Check the sump float
    If your sump pump has a float that activates the pumping mechanism, examine the float carefully to ensure it is functional and doesn’t catch on the lid or against the basin. If you’ve manually lifted the float to test operation, make sure you lower it back down after only a few seconds of testing.
  4. Check for clogs in the pump
    A sump pump that is receiving power, but not activating might mean there is mud clogging the pump. Try removing debris from the pit and pour clean water through the sump pump to help clear out the build-up.
  5. Inspect the outlet pipe
    The outlet pipe is located outside your house and is where excess water drains as the sump pump pumps it out. Check for any damage or blockage and ensure water can easily drain out and away from your home’s foundation.

Much like quantum mechanics, your sump pump may not be something you think about on a regular basis, but its fundamental importance should not be overlooked. On average, sump pumps last approximately 10 years and with the upgraded backup functionality and monitoring features of newer sump pump models, replacing an older model may be a worthwhile investment. In fact, homeowners may benefit from a discount on their home insurance premiums—as much as 5%—with the installation of a sump pump and backup system.

Still not too sure if your sump pump has what it takes to keep the flood waters at bay this season? Consulting the Edmonton plumbing  experts at First Call means you can rest easy knowing your sump pump will work when you need it the most. Just think of us as the Albert Einstein of all things sump pump and plumbing related…

Contact us or book an appointment to discuss any additional questions you may have about sump pump repair or installation.