How to Test Your Sump Pump
There are several ways you can check that your sump pump is working correctly. The simplest way is to unplug the pump’s power, then plug it back in. If the pump doesn’t turn on immediately, your pump may need to be repaired or replaced.
When you examine the outlet where your sump pump is plugged in, you may see two separate plugs. One is for the float switch and the other is for the motor. In this instance, unplug both, and then plug in only the electrical connection going to the pump. If the pump doesn’t turn on immediately, your pump may need to be repaired or replaced. If the pump worked properly, reconnect the other plug and you’re done.
The next way to test your sump pump is by running water through it. Fill your sump pit with enough water to raise the float until the pump kicks on. If you’re filling the pit and the water level gets near the top of the pit, but the pump doesn’t activate, you may have a bad switch. If the pump does activate, it should lower the water level in the pit, removing most of the water.
Lastly, you can lift the float arm up and see if the pump turns on. This method won’t confirm water will actually be pumped out, however. If you test the pump without water, don’t let it run more than a few seconds. Otherwise, you risk damaging the pump motor.
These simple tests could save you from a flooded basement.
Some other considerations:
- Typically, sump pumps last around 10 years, but the lifespan really depends on how often it runs and how clean the water running through it is.
- If you have an older unit, or if there is a lot of sediment or debris in your sump pump pit, it’s a good idea to test the pump more often.
- If you don’t have a backup sump pump, you should proactively replace your pump before it stops working.
- If your area is prone to power outages, if your home lacks a gas generator, or if your generator power connection doesn’t extend to the sump pump circuit, consider a replacement with a self-contained battery backup. In the event of a severe storm you’ll have the peace of mind that your sump pump will function even if the power goes out. Schaible’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning have many models to choose from, many with battery backups. Some even have smartphone app connectivity.
If your sump pump is in need of replacement, contact Schaible’s and speak with one of our customer service experts.