A sump pump is what stands between your home and the forces of nature. The sump pump beneath your basement, crawl space or lowest level collects groundwater and diverts it safely away from your home. Without your sump pump, that groundwater could easily build up and flood through your foundation. Flooding is damaging, costly, and dangerous, so your sump pump is an essential element of home safety. Making sure it works properly is an essential home safety maintenance task.
To keep your sump pump working correctly, you’ll have to clean it semi-regularly. Luckily, this is an easy and quick DIY plumbing chore. We’ll help! This is our sump pump cleaning step-by-step routine. Pull out this walkthrough whenever you’re cleaning your sump pump, and you’ll get it done right every time:
Gather the supplies you’ll need.
Grab a piece of plastic sheeting, a scraping tool, a large bucket, a garden hose, and a shop vac.
Make sure your water is off.
Technically you don’t need to turn off all the water in your home. Turn off water at any area where a fixture drains directly into the sump pump, like the washing machine. If you can’t turn off the water, make sure no one’s using fixtures while you’re working on the pump. Make sure you never try to clean your sump pump on a rainy day. Choose a time when you’re sure water won’t drain out of the pump while you’re trying to clean it.
This is usually as easy as unplugging it from a basement outlet. You could also switch off the circuit supplying power to the pump at the breaker directly.
Wrap your pump in a plastic sheet.
Try to remove the pump from the pit without letting it make a mess all over the floor. Sludge and dirt may be caked onto the pump, so you should carry it outside to clean it thoroughly.
Clean the pump.
Use your garden hose to rinse off the pump. Once the first layer of grime is removed, you can start scraping with your tool. It doesn’t matter what that tool actually is as long as it can scrape off anything caked on. Rinse it with the hose again for a final cleaning.
Drain the check valve in the sump pit.
Place your bucket beneath the existing check valve where water would drain into the pump. Open it and let any existing water drain into your bucket for disposal.
Use the shop vac to remove leftover standing water.
Vacuum up any water you still see inside the bottom of the sump pit. That way when you reconnect the pump itself it’s not going straight back into a messy pit.
Reconnect your pump.
Connect the pump back to the discharge pipe and check valve. Plug it back in. It’ll be shiny, clean, and good to go.
Having a sump pump is a regular part of many homeowner’s plumbing. If you have one and want it checked out or don’t have one and are interested in installation, give Mike Diamond a call. We’re always happy to help.