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Testing Your Sump Pump

 

 

NOBODY LOVES A FLOODED BASEMENT!

The sump pump is a water pump located in a sump pit that is connected to the weeping tile that goes around the foundation of your home. Its purpose is to keep water away from your foundation to prevent settling and cracking and potentially collapse of the home.  It is important to make sure you know how to test to make sure it is functioning properly.  The sump pump is usually located in the utility or mechanical room in the basement. Though it can be found in just about any area of the basement. It is normally covered with a small plastic board.   There should be two cords coming out from under the plastic cover and plugged into a receptacle. The two cords should be plugged into each other. Meaning the one cord plugs into the receptacle and the other cord plugs into the back of the first cord.

To test your sump pump it is best to remove the plastic cover. The cover is usually screwed down and you will need to remove the screws first to visually examine the sump pump and its connections. After cover is removed check the water level. Normally you want the sump pit to be less than half full.

There are two ways to test your sump pump.

First Method:

  1. Power:  Make sure it’s plugged in, there will be 2 cords, with one plugging into the other that should be plugged into a working outlet.
  2. Access: Take the cover off of your sump pit, usually this will require a screwdriver.
  3. Unplug Cords:  Simply unplug the cords from the receptacle.
  4. Plug in Second Cord:  Take the cord that was plugged into the back of the first cord and plug directly into the receptacle. You should hear the sump pump running at this point and the water level starting to go down.

Second Method (perhaps more effective):

  1. Power: Make sure it’s plugged in, there will be 2 cords, with one plugging into the other that should be plugged into a working outlet.
  2. Access: Take the cover off of your sump pit, usually this will require a screwdriver.
  3. Float Switch:   At the bottom of the pit you’ll see the pump and the float switch (usually a  ball shape device on the end of a cord that floats at the top of the water). When this switch floats higher due to rising water it will turn the pump on.
  4. TestThe best way to test the pump is to simulate the water rising by lifting the float up until it’s vertical (a long stick works great for this). This should turn the pump on and it should start pumping water out of the pit if there is any water in there.
  5. ResultThe pump should make a uniform humming sound when its running and should easily pump water up and out of the pit.

Symptoms of problems with your sump pump:

  • Makes strange noises. Sounds coming from your pump can indicate worn or damaged parts.
  • Vibrates Excessively when Running. Pumps that have sucked up hard debris can have their impellers bent or damaged. …
  • Runs continuously
  • Irregular cycling.
  • Visible rust.
  • Seven Years Old or Older.  It may be time to replace your sump pump at this time.