When you think of all of the appliances and equipment in your home, I am sure that your sump pump is very low on that list. Heavy rains and the future spring rains quickly approaching, your sump pump should be first on that list! After all it is the one thing that keeps your home dry, comfortable, and flood free.
Understanding how your sump pump equipment works, and what it does is the first step in keeping your home dry.
Sump Pump Basics
In the diagram you can see that during construction of the home, pipes with small holes are installed with gravel around it to allow the ground water to weep through the gravel, into the perforated pipes. The perforated pipes then run into the sump pit where the groundwater fills the pit.
Inside the pit is the sump pump. The pump has a float on it, and as the water level rises the float rises. Once the float reaches a pre-set level, it triggers the electric motor to the pump which then pumps the water through the discharge pipe where it flows outside of your home.
These systems have been around for years, and when everything goes right, you tend to forget about your sump pump and pit. But when these systems fail, it can be a mess. So to avoid this mess, and extend the life of your sump pump, below are a few tips to help keep things in your home dry and clean.
Sump Pump Tips
- Take the cover off of the sump pit and look inside. If you see an oily substance floating on the top of the water, you may have a problem with the pump. Most pumps are oil cooled, which means they have oil inside the pump housing to help keep the mechanism from overheating. If oil is in the pipe, then it is leaking from the motor and may be a sign your pump has failed, or is about to fail
- Take a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with water. Dump the water into the pit and see if the pump triggers and is working.
- Make sure the pit is clean and free of debris. Unplug the pump, and reach into the pit and feel around the bottom of the pit and the pump. Remove any debris or build up in the pit.
- Make sure the check valve is working properly. The check valve is a one way valve that allows water to flow out, but not flow back into the pump and pit.
- Check the float on the pump. Make sure it is not obstructed, or pressed against the side wall of the pit.
- Check the discharge pipe and make sure it is open and flowing far enough away from your foundation. The water has to be discharged far enough away from your home to make sure it does not just get pumped out and seep back down into the foundation drain.
If you follow these tips every spring, it will help you prolong the life of your pump, and keep your basement dry. If you are having problems with your sump pump, or if you just want to have one our licensed plumbers come out and inspect your system please call us at 513-793-BEST today to schedule an appointment.