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Learn How to Check, Clean and Fix the Sump Pump

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Sump pumps are one of your first lines of defense against fast-rising groundwater or rainwater that threatens your basement. When they’re functional, they’ll eject water fast and keep the basement dry. However, these appliances can get damaged or fall apart due to neglect.

In this post, we’ll take you through sump pump inspection, cleaning and common problems plus the best fixes possible.

sump pump fix

While you may be able to handle some of these steps yourself, here are some actions basement waterproofing pros in your area may take in the maintenance of your sump pump system:

Inspecting the sump pump

  1. Locate the drainpipe that takes water from the sump pump. Check the inside of the pipe to ensure there’s no debris or dirt clogging it. If there is any, remove it. Inspect the sump pump in your basement. Trace the electrical cords from the pump to the outlet.
  2. Unplug the cord and check its outlet for debris or dirt. Clean up any you find. Next, check the sump pit for any debris or dirt. Don’t forget the inlet screen of the pump. Check the float if it’s moving freely.
  3. If necessary, recenter the pump, then plug back the electrical cord into the outlet. Pour a few gallons of water into the sump pit until the float actuates the pump.
  4. If none of this works, replace your pump. Get a backup battery system for it as well. In the event of a storm, you will still be able to pump out floodwater for at least two hours.

Cleaning the Sump Pump

  1. Remove the screen at the outlet and rinse any debris that’s built up in it.
  2. Check the pipe for blockages and clear them out. Re-insert the screen, then get back inside and unplug the sump pump or turn it off.
  3. Suck out any water from the pit using a wet-dry vacuum. You can also scoop out the water using a can or jar and empty it into a bucket.
  4. Pull out the sump pump from the pit by grabbing the handle.
  5. Loosen the drain pipe’s clamp and detach the pipe from the pump.
  6. Insert a drain snake into one end of the drainpipe, then gently push it toward the other end.
  7. Hold the pipe over a sink or bucket, then spray it with water from a garden hose. If the snake won’t dislodge the blockage, use a high-pressure nozzle.
  8. Run the snake through the drain and loosen any material that’s lingering inside.
  9. Rinse the drainpipe one more time to remove any lingering debris.
  10.  Re-attach the drainpipe to the sump pump and clamp it back to secure it.

Sump Pump Problems and Fixes

When the sump pump stops functioning, you need to uncover the underlying issue fast. Notable problems include:

Pump fails to run: When the pump doesn’t actuate, it means the motor isn’t running. The power cord could be disconnected, or the receptacle has poor contact. Replace the plug, clean plug prongs or replace the receptacle.

Pump turns on but doesn’t eject water: The impeller could be loose or clogged. Try replacing the key or tightening its fasteners. Cleaning the impeller or volute might also help.

Pump cycles repeatedly: Excessive water flow or defective check valves are the likely causes. Readjust the control floats and clean the gate of the valve. If these don’t work, buy a bigger pump.

Pump turns on and off: If the sump pump keeps turning on and off, an obstruction could be impeding the float operation. Debris could also be blocking it or the float rod could be bent. Try pouring a few gallons of water into the sump pit. If that doesn’t work, readjust the control floats or weights.

The pump is noisy: Hammering, grinding, or squealing sounds could mean the impeller is rubbing the inlet plate or sump casing. A loose impeller or obstruction to rotating parts might be the cause. Try to fasten the fasteners and coupler. If both don’t work, get a new sump pump.

Pump runs for a short time then shuts off: This is likely to happen when the pump motor overload trips or if there’s a motor problem. Contact your electrician.

Pump runs continuously: When all the water is ejected, you’d expect the sump pump to go off. If it doesn’t, the problem could be a faulty level switch. Turn off the power and inspect the impeller and shaft. Try replacing the key and tightening fasteners.

Remember, it’s best to seek the advice and guidance of basement waterproofing professionals when it comes to the operation and technical aspects of your sump pump.

Don’t let a defective sump pump jeopardize your basement waterproofing efforts. Talk to the experts at Ohio Basement Authority and uncover the problems affecting your pump. We provide free sump pump and basement waterproofing inspections and quotes to our customers in Cincinnati, OH.

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Serving Greater Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky

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1270 Hillsmith Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45215

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Obetz, OH 43207

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Beavercreek, OH, 45440