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AM Wall Anchor & Water Proofing Resource Article:

How to Maintenance a Sump Pump

sump pump installed in existing basement

Similar to any appliance in the home, a basement sump pump requires routine maintenance to ensure it’s properly functioning when you need it most. While homeowners don’t traditionally need to use a sump pump often, it could save you thousands of dollars in repairs in the event of a harsh storm or heavy snowfall.

Read on to find out why a sump pump is useful to have, how to perform sump pump maintenance, and how long you can expect to have your sump pump last by performing the important recommended maintenance.

What is a Sump Pump useful for?

A sump pump is installed in a pit that’s dug into the ground from your basement or crawl space. It’s key objective is to help avoid flooding in your home. How does it do this? When the soil surrounding the pump becomes oversaturated (from rain or heavy snow), and water begins to fill the pit, this activates the pump. The pump then pushes the excess water to a nearby drain, ensuring that water does not rise and flood your basement or crawl space.

There are a number of benefits that come from having a sump pump installed in your home:

  • Keep your basement & foundation dry
  • Preserve wall paint
  • Keep any basement appliances in tact
  • Reduce mold & mildew
  • Avoid larger repair bills in the future

Proper Sump Pump Maintenance

Even though most homes don’t use a sump pump regularly (maybe a couple of times per year), it’s still important to complete regular sump pump maintenance every few months. This will ensure that when heavy rains and flooding do occur, you can have peace of mind knowing that your basement and home are safe from damage.

Here are a few sump pump maintenance items you should complete every 3 months:

  • Confirm the power cord is connected and working
  • Clean the pump inlet screen
  • Pour a few gallons of water into the sump to test the pump and ensure it performs properly

Here are a few sump pump maintenance items you should complete annually:

  • Remove & inspect the pump to ensure it’s working properly, replace pump if necessary
  • Clean out the sump itself 
  • Research to confirm if you need to grease the pump bearings. This is not always required but depending on the model of your pump this could be helpful

How long does a sump pump last?

Similar to many appliances in the home, a sump pump does not last forever. Of course with routine maintenance you’re likely to have yours last longer, but the average lifespan for a sump pump in your basement is about 10 years. 

It’s important to check that your sump pump is properly performing often, as the last thing you want to experience is a heavy storm that causes flooding because your pump has malfunctioned.

Here are a few things to look for that indicate it’s time for a new sump pump in your basement:

  • Corrosion around the base or float
  • Sump pump malfunctioning during maintenance and testing
  • The pump is constantly running (meaning it’s working harder than normal to get the job done)

Another very important component to look for when purchasing a sump pump for your basement is a battery backup. This ensures that in the event of a powerful storm that causes electricity in your area to go out, your sump pump can continue working as it needs to in order to avoid flooding. You’ll want to replace these batteries about every 4-5 years.

Protect Your Investment

If you don’t already have a basement sump pump installed, we highly recommend reaching out to a local professional to discuss next steps. It’s a smart way to protect your investment long term, and avoid costly repairs and headaches in the event of a flood in your home. If you’re local to western PA, reach out to us today to schedule a free inspection and estimate. We’ll be happy to come out & survey your home and let you know a time and cost estimate on a sump pump installation!

If you’ve already taken the first step and have the equipment installed, just make sure to set aside time for routine sump pump maintenance. Spending 30 minutes or less every few months is well worth it to keep your basement intact.

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