Sump pumps are not just for removing excess water during rainy periods. Here's why maintenance is important...
In New Jersey and all along the northeast, we're getting our fair share of snow this winter. After several snow storms, the volume of snow builds up. At some point, perhaps not the next day, the temperature will begin to warm up, and the snow will begin to melt. Melting snow invariably increases the water table as the melted snow seeps into the ground, and therefore the possibility of ground water finding its way into your basement increases. This becomes your ultimate concern.
Here are some tips
to maintain your sump pump.
- Test your sump pump at least twice a year, especially during snowy or rainy seasons by following these steps:
- In order to test the operation of your sump pump, you must create or simulate a 'full' pit. If there is some water in the pit, you may add some by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. If the pit is currently empty and dry, pouring water into it may not be an option, as the ground area may be completely dry and the water will absorb into the ground. An easy way to do is is to simply lift the float.
- Make sure your pit is clean and void of debris.
- When the water engages the float, your pump should automatically kick on and begin the water removal process.
- CAUTION: Do not allow the pump to run more than a second or two, with a dry pit, as it will damage the pump.
- If your pump does not activate, call your local professional plumber for service.
- Check your sump pump discharge line, ensuring it is doing the job of removing the water.
- During sub-freezing temperatures, be sure you're not creating an icy patch for a family member or neighbor to slip on.
- It is desirable, and some towns insist on it, that your sump pump discharge line be directed away from your property. Local plumbing ordinances require discharge lines not be drained into municipal sewers.
- Consider a sump pump pit cover to keep your pit clean. Small toys, socks, and other household items seem to make their way inside sump pump pits. A cover will prevent that problem. (Your local plumbing contractor can install one for you!)
- Debris can cause the float of the sump pump to 'hang up'. A cover will prevent this problem.
And, while we're talking about Sump Pump maintenance, let's discuss the maintenance of your Water Powered Backup Sump Pump, too!
- Unplug your primary pump. This will simulate primary pump failure. Once water reaches a pre-set level, your emergency backup pump takes over. (And don't worry about losing power, these backup pumps work on your local domestic water pressure!)
- Fill the sump pump pit with water or simulate by lifting the float.
- Verify that the backup pump starts and stops at the desired ON/OFF points. (This was established at the time the backup pump was installed)
- Be sure your primary pump has been reconnected to an electrical source and is ready to operate.
These simple steps can avoid a flooded basement and therefore damage to your personal possessions and home. Spend a few minutes every few months, particularly in anticipation of higher ground water levels or heavy snow accumulation and rainfall, testing your pumps. Contact your local plumber to arrange sump pump service.
Water-activated backup sump pump systems operate without a powered electrical source which is an important feature if you have ever lost power or are concerned with potential power outages. Learn more here!