Whether your house came with a sump pump, or you installed one yourself, properly maintaining your sump pump system is key to making sure it works when you need it. The last thing you want is to find out your sump pump isn’t working while your basement floods from a heavy rain. It may take a professional to install your sump pump system, but you do not need to be a professional to do simple maintenance that will extend your pump’s lifespan.

Sump pumps are considered low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean no-maintenance. You should test your sump pump periodically. This is as simple as dumping a bucket of water into the sump pit. The sump pump should turn on, remove the water, and shut itself off.

Because sump pumps are sucking in ground water, it is possible for them to become clogged. Check the inlet screen for any debris or blockage. If there are any obstructions remove them. Make sure the discharge line is not blocked.

Some sump pump systems have a battery backup system in the event of a power outage, like during a severe storm. If your system does have a battery backup, ensure it still holds a charge and works. These batteries should be replaced every 2-3 years.

Once a year it is recommended to unplug your sump pump and give it a thorough cleaning. Remove the pump from the sump pit and flush it with clean water, making sure to remove any dirt or rocks from the system. With the pump out, take the opportunity to clean out the pit itself, removing any mud build up or rocks. You don’t want to take the time to clean the pump only to have it clog right back up with the debris in the pit. Once everything is cleaned out, reconnect the power and test the system by dumping a bucket of water into the pit.

Owning a sump pump can be a lifesaver for your basement, especially if you live in an area with severe weather. You do not want to figure out that your sump pump isn’t working during a big storm. By performing simple maintenance and checks on your sump pump system, you can ensure it will keep working for years to come.