Have You Checked Your Sump Pump?

Nothing can ruin your day like finding out the extra freezer or fridge in your basement has gone to appliance heaven.  I've learned the hard way to check on them every day to avoid the headache (and heartache) of discovering meals I had lovingly and painstaking prepared and frozen sitting in a freezer that had decided to die while we were out of town.

Throw in the mix a sump pump that has conveniently died during a December thaw.  If your marriage can survive that, you're guaranteed to celebrate many anniversaries to come.

With heavy spring rains heading our way, there is no time like now to give your sump pump a check up.  

The average lifespan of a sump pump is about 10 years.  I can attest to the fact that yes, they do wear out.  

Here are a couple of tips to keep you proactive regarding your sump pump staying happy:

• Keep your float mechanism peppy.   When's the last time you checked your sump pit for debris?  It doesn't take much to hinder the float mechanism.  Make sure nothing has fallen in, rolled in (think pet toys, children's action figures, etc)

• Time for a pop quiz.  You're not the only one who can get burned out, so can your float.  You'll want to test it now and then.  Fill the pit up with water.  Does it stop?  Does it start?  Excellent.  Now go put on ESPN and relax.  Your work here is done.  

• Are you heading in the right direction?  The check valve’s arrow should not be pointing toward the sump pump.   Be certain the valve has been properly installed, meaning when the sump pump shuts off, no water will go back into the sump pump.

• There's no crying in baseball and to avoid crying in your basement, check your weep hole.   Some pumps have a weep hole (usually located between the sump pump and the check valve.)  If it's clogged, carefully clean it out with a toothpick.  Take your time - a broken toothpick in the weep hole, well, let's not go there.  

• As long as you're cleaning...give the impeller a once over, too.  If your sump pump isn't working, or is making a noise that makes small children run, this small filter may be clogged.  

• What IS that smell?   While the trap always retains some water, during the dry seasons of the year an odor may start to form.  Use a bleach-water mixture of one part bleach to five parts water to cleanse the basin.  Another option is to fill the basin with water until the sump pump engages.  This will cycle water and helping to eliminate the odor.

• Literally prepare for a rainy day.    Invest in a hydraulic sump pump back-up or a generator.  Picture staring at your lifeless sump pump via flashlight during a power outage.  Heavy thunderstorms not only bring huge amounts of rain very quickly, but they are a sure-fire way to knocking out the power.   If you lose power the hydraulic systems will tap into your home’s water supply and provide the energy needed to run the pump. 

Suzanne Prezio

Suzanne Prezio

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, CBR
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