3 Easy Steps to Testing your Sump Pump

A Sump Pump

Check Your Sump Pump

Spring in the Akron area means lots of rainy
days with the occasional downpour. Check your sump pump now before you desperately need it to work. By then, you may end up with an overflowing sump pit and water in your basement. Here are our tips so you’re prepared for those April showers.

Identify Your Lid Type

Before the testing, you need to identify your lid type. Sump pits usually have either no
lid, a removable lid, or a sealed lid. If you have a sealed lid it’s a little harder to test.
We’ll address that at the end.

  1. Visually Inspect Your Pump
    Use a flashlight to look down into your pit. You’ll see your pump and maybe a back-up
    pump (if you have one) as well as the discharge pipe(s) and the cord(s). If your pit is
    full of mud or has debris floating around, it may be best to have it cleaned as the mud or
    debris can clog up the pump. Also, look at the check valve. That should be located
    somewhere on the discharge pipe(s) within a few feet of the actual pump. You want to
    make sure it doesn’t look crooked or like there’s a lot of stress on it.
  2. Test Your Pump
    There are two ways to test your pump. The simplest (but less accurate) is to just reach
    down into the pit and raise the float ball or arm with your hand. If your pump is working,
    you’ll hear the pump turn on. Once you release the float ball or arm the motor should
    shut off. The better way to actually fill up your pit with water to see how it works under
    real conditions. Keep in mind, it may take a couple of 5-gallon buckets to get the water
    high enough for the pump to turn on. You can also hook up a hose to your water heater,
    laundry faucet, or even an outside hose faucet to fill it that way.
  3. Inspect the Discharge
    Take a trip outside to see where your sump pump discharges and make sure there are
    no leaks and that the drain it discharges into is free from leaves or other debris.
    Pumping the water out of the house is the first step, but it’s outside the house you want
    it to freely flow down the drain to the road or ditch.

The Sealed Lid Problem

Radon mitigation companies seal the lid on sump pumps but, unfortunately, it makes it
really hard to inspect your sump pump. If you have a sealed lid you can either remove it
(which may affect how the radon system works if it’s not put back on properly) or you’ll
have to find a floor drain in the basement that drains into the sump pit. If you can find
one, just use the buckets or a hose to run water down the floor drain. Eventually, it will
fill up the pit and you’ll hear the pump come on.