Sump Pump 101: What They Are, What They Do and Tips for Maintaining Them
Most homeowners may have heard of a sump pump – and some may even have one in their home. In case you’re wondering exactly what a sump pump does or how you should be maintaining it, then you’re reading the right blog! We’ll begin with the basics by outlining what a sump pump is, what it does, and some common problems. Then, we’ll provide some simple guidelines for keeping your sump pump operating the way it should.
What Is a Sump Pump? Besides being a pair of nicely rhymed words, a sump pump performs an important function in homes that have them. First, since most readers will know what a pump is, let’s understand what a sump is. A sump is a drainage chamber that lies beneath your basement floor. Rain, melted snow, and groundwater collect there as a means of keeping those forms of water from entering your basement.
What Does a Sump Pump Do? Your sump pump removes – or pumps out – the water that fills the sump. By pumping the water out of the sump, your basement remains dry. Sump pumps are electric, and they turn on automatically, triggered by the water level in the sump chamber. The pumped-out water discharges to a storm sewer drain or somewhere outside your home at ground level.
What Stops a Sump Pump from Working? The most common reason sump pumps stop working is because of power outages. When your household’s electrical power goes out in a rain or snow storm, your sump pump stops pumping water out of the sump, and water flows into your basement. Unless that is, your sump pump has a battery backup to provide power when your electrical power is down. As well, like all other mechanical devices, sump pumps have parts that eventually wear out or break down, resulting in mechanical failure. Mechanical failures usually depend on three factors: the age of the pump, how often the pump runs, and how well it is maintained. While you can’t control your sump pump’s age or how often it kicks on, you can keep it running longer with some basic maintenance.
What Can I Do to Maintain My Sump Pump? Assuming the unit has power, if the sump pump does not immediately kick on, pump out some water, and shut off, call a plumbing professional for help. Your sump pump may have an electrical problem. Keep it clean – One of the easiest things you can do to keep your sump pump operating efficiently is to regularly check the sump chamber for debris that could clog the pump’s intake area. The intake is usually on the bottom of the pump and covered by a screen. If the screen is filled with mud or small rocks, remove the screen and clear out the debris so water can freely enter the intake. Also, be sure to clear the impeller, which draws the water through the pump. The impeller lies inside a hole in the bottom of the pump, beneath the screen. A small hole in the discharge pipe – known as the weep hole or air bleed – may also become clogged and affect your sump pump’s performance. Be sure to also clear those areas.
If you’re still unsure about your sump pump or if you decide you’d rather call a plumbing professional for help, make an appointment today online or call us at 513-771-7588. We are here to help you with all your plumbing needs.