How to Test your Sump Pump to Ensure it is Working Efficiently
Anytime a hurricane or intense rainstorm happens there is an immediate concern for flooding. However, there are less severe events that can also cause water damage to a home. For many people in flood prone areas, the solution to keeping a basement dry is a sump pump. These pumps are installed below the floor of a basement in order to keep water below a set level. When a sump pump is working properly, you save your house from moisture damage. The other risk with a malfunctioning pump is that water is wasted because the system is constantly cycling water. This can greatly increase a utility bill in both electricity and water. For all of these reasons it is a good idea to conduct a test annually.
If you discover through testing that the sump pump is not working properly, a plumber can service, diagnose, and fix the problem before severe water damage occurs.
1. Check Outside Pipes
Go outside and find the location where the sump pump drains. Check the pipes that lead to this area and ensure they are free of debris and cracks.
2. Check the Running System
In order to see if the pump is running, you should unplug all plugs and then plug them back in. The plug that connects the float should be plugged in first.
3. Turning Pump Off
Turn off the pump in the basement.
4. Overfill the Hole in the Basement
The only way to really tell if a sump pump is working properly is to fill a basement with water and watch it drain. This is an impractical solution for most people! However, taking a bucket and filling water beyond the float level will serve as a test to see if the water drains. It is imperative that you watch this process because it is entirely possible for the pump to start running but to be unable to drain the water.
5. Turning Pump On
The pump now needs to be turned on in order to make sure it will drain the excess water. Wait until the water is completely drained below the float line in order to make sure that the pump will turn itself off. If the pump does not turn off, restart it and try again. 6.
6. Seek Help
If the sump pump is not draining properly, you need to call a plumbing expert to diagnose the issue.
Sometimes the issue can be easily fixed. For example, if there is a buildup of leaves in the pipe that connects to the sump pump, this is easy to remove. However, if there is a problem with the power, motor, or float, then a plumber needs to be called. It is always better to call a plumber to fix a sump pump when there is no water in a basement. Waiting until the basement floods to find out the sump pump does not work is a recipe for wasted money and possible mold growth.