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How Do I Check to See if My Sump Pump is Working?

One of the biggest nightmares a homeowner can experience is having a flooded basement. A sump pump is designed to protect your home from water damage by moving this would flood water out from your basement and away from your home.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

The role of a sump pump is to prevent water from accumulating in your basement, leaving enormous structural damages and eliminating the need for costly water damage restoration. Typically, a sump is a pit constructed below the surface of your basement floor. 

In the pit, there is a sump pump. The sump pump has valves that can detect when the water levels and pressure start escalating. The sump pump will automatically turn on and pump the excess water from your basement and into an effluent (usually a discharge line). The effluent drains the water into a designated drainage area. 

How Do You Check if your Sump Pump is Working?

The first thing is to locate the exit pipe (effluent). It is the passage that drains water outside you home. Once you locate it, check to ensure that it does not contain dirt or debris. The dirt can lead to clogging, which can prevent the pump from functioning. You also have to ensure that the pipe is directing water away from your home’s foundation.

If you find any debris or dirt in the pump, remove it to prevent the pump from clogging. 

Testing Your Sump Pump

  • To test the functionality, you first have to locate the sump pump’s two electrical cords – the pump cord and the float cord. You have to note that the pump cord plugs into the back of the float cord plug. Unplug both cords and plug only the pump cord into the outlet.
  • Next, turn on the pump, and if you hear a humming sound, the pump works. 

Once you hear the humming sound, you can connect back the two cords as they were initially. i.e., first connect the float cord, then connect the pump cord into the back of the float cord plug).

For single-corded sump pumps, test them as illustrated below:

  • Slowly pour approximately 20 liters of water into the pump pit until you notice that the float rises. Once the float rises, the pump kicks on and starts pumping the water out of the pit. When all the water gets drained, the pump automatically turns off. 
  • Repeat the test to ensure that the sump pump is fully functional. 
  • If you cannot pour water into the sump pump, you can choose to lift the float. Lifting the float will automatically turn on the pump. Check if the pump turns on. Make sure that you turn it off within a few seconds to avoid damaging the motor. 

In case the above tests fail, your sump pump needs servicing immediately. Be sure to contact a technician for maintenance of the sump pump to prevent water damage. 

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