Sump Pump Checklist
July 19th, 2015
At least twice a year, preferably before the local wet season, sump pumps should be checked for proper operation. Manufacturer instructions should be used as the primary guide for pump installation and maintenance, but here are some general guidelines.
With the pump cord disconnected:
Make sure there is a grounded three-prong receptacle for the sump pump.
Ideally the receptacle should be installed at least 18 inches above the floor.
The receptacle should also be close enough so that the pump cord (usually maximum 6-feet long) can be plugged directly into the receptacle.
Inspect the sump pit for any silt or debris that might obstruct the float or clog the pump impeller or discharge tube.
Make sure the pump is positioned so that the movement of the float that turns the pump on and off is not obstructed by the walls of the pit or other objects.
If needed set the float height to start the pump at a lower or higher level. The float should be set that it keeps the water toward the bottom at the normal high water line.
Check the drain line from the pump to the termination point on the exterior for any signs of corrosion, holes, damage or leaks.
Once the visual check is made, an operational check can be performed:
Confirm the pump is securely plugged directly into the receptacle.
If the sump pit is empty, add enough water, if possible, to confirm the pump turns on and off properly.
With a type sump pump with automatic preset sensor switches, if water exceeds the top of the pump before turning on, or if the pump does not shut off when water drops again, there may be a defective sensor or other problem. Refer to the manufacture set-up instructions.
If the pump uses an adjustable float switch, the pump should turn on at the set-on level and off when the water level drops.
The pump should not have to run all the time. If it does, try setting the float or pump higher in the pit. If this doesn’t help keep the water from the top of the sump; a larger pump may be needed.
Check the drain line for any leakage.
In areas subject to freeze temperatures, precautions must be taken to make sure the drain line does not freeze up or get blocked by ice or snow.
Sump pumps should not be connected to sanitary sewer systems (unless locally approved) or private sewage (septic) systems.
If your sump system is equipped with battery backup, check the manufacturer maintenance instructions. It may be necessary to check the battery water level to make sure it covers the cells.
If you have a high water alarm, it should activate when the float is raised, or if sensor type, when water hits the sensor.
Depending on the set up, an alarm may sound when the primary is unplugged or when the backup activates.
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.