Do Sump Pumps Need Maintenance? 

February 23, 2022

Sump pumps are much more commonplace these days. With less green space due to increased housing, our collective penchant for asphalt, and fewer mature trees and gardens to soak up heavy rainfalls, you run an increased risk of basement flooding without one. Is sump pump maintenance required?

Every sump pump suffers from being ignored and forgotten until we’re reminded of their thankful service to our homes during a major rainfall. So every sump pump needs maintenance to ensure it’s ready to do its essential job.

The most common reason for pump failure is a power outage. However, a simple thing like forgetting to plug the sump pump back in, or even a lightning event that trips your building-code-compliant, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet can mean unfortunate future flooding to your lower levels. 

Read our post, ‘Do I Need a Sump Pump in London, Ontario? Learn environmentally friendly ways you can easily help lessen flooding near your property. 

To be human is to want to save money, but choosing a small, more affordable sump pump means depending on a lesser product to take on a crucial role in protection against a possible deluge. 

A small pump’s pumping efficiency is less, the smaller motor will burn out more easily during a major downpour or spring melt, and its less durable internal components give up sooner. 

How else do sump pumps fail? Float switches, especially those that move freely on the water’s surface in the sump basket, will sometimes get caught against the pump, power cord or discharge pipe. When this happens, your pump will not turn on. 

Not sure what you have or don’t have? Give us a call at (519) 453 4650; we are always happy to answer any sump pump questions you may have.

Plumbhouse Plumbing, Heating & Electrical carries only quality and Canadian equipment where possible. Call us or contact us online here. We correctly size, service, and maintain your sump pump with honesty and integrity, and we have fantastic clients who’ve left glowing reviews to prove it. (See our testimonial link below)

What, on a sump pump, should be cleaned by a homeowner or professional?

  • Once a month, if the wastewater from your washing machine runs through your sump pump, clean the pump screen or the water inlet opening once a month. Unplug the pump before touching it, in this case, to clean it. Remember to plug it in again afterward.
  • Or, once every three months, if the wastewater from your washing machine does not run through your sump pump,  the pump screen or the water inlet opening should be cleaned once every three or four months.
  • Once a year, remove the sump pump and clean the pump and the pit.

What, on a sump pump, should be inspected by a professional?

  • The outdoor discharge point needs to be in a location that ensures correct drainage.
  • The reservoir cover of the sump pump must be on
  • Consider getting an alarm or App that will alert you if it ***has stopped working.
  • Check your battery backup system – If you like, we can install one in addition to your existing sump pump system.
  • Check the check valve to make sure it is functioning correctly
  • The size of the sump pump pit matters – go big

1) The outdoor point of discharge needs to be in a location that ensures correct drainage

One of the most crucial aspects of your sump pump is the correct positioning of the outdoor point of the water discharge. Optimally, it should be located at least 20 feet away from your house. 

This condition cannot always be met in tight urban areas, so soil grading and the assurance your pump water does not discharge onto your neighbour’s property is of the utmost importance. 

According to the Ontario Building Code online, the water should discharge into a sewer, drainage ditch, or dry well.

In rural communities, your sump pump water cannot drain into your septic system located in your yard.

2) The reservoir cover of the sump pump must be on

Make sure your sump pump has a lid. Check that the cover is fitted correctly and is closed for three reasons: 

  • To keep the water in the pit from evaporating.
  • To keep debris out of the pit (especially during renovations) that could otherwise suck through the inlet screen and seize the impeller.
  • To protect children in the area. The Ontario Building Code online stipulates the cover must be designed to “resist removal by children” and be sealed.

3) Make sure the high water alarm or SmartApp is functioning to alert you if the pump has stopped working

Only specific sump pump systems allow for a SmartApp. An alarm can alert you when the water level is too high in the pit, as in, “the pump should have engaged by now” Your alarm should be tested twice a year when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. 

4) Check your battery backup system – If you like, we can install one to your existing sump pump system

A backup system is entirely separate from your existing sump pump system. Small battery systems, when pumping, will last from 12 – 53 hrs depending on how often it comes on, which is determined by the amount of rainfall. A larger battery system will last longer per charge and comes with a more sophisticated charger. 

  • Battery terminals must be cleaned twice a year due to corrosion in a wet location. An easy way to remember to clean them is to do it when you change your clocks in spring and fall.
  • A larger battery will cost more than $100 and must be replaced every five years.

5) Check the check valve to make sure it is functioning correctly

The check valve is located on the discharge pipe and prevents water from running back into the sump pump pit after the pump turns off. It should be examined to make sure it is in functioning condition.

6) The size of the sump pump pit matters – go big

According to the Canadian Insurance company, RateHub, a sump pump pit is at least 18” in diameter by 2’ deep with a gravel base. 

Here’s a map of floods in Canada in 2019 that may help you determine whether you should have a sump pump.

Plumbhouse Plumbing, Heating & Electrical believes our employees are the key to our success; we encourage their advancements and support them in their goals to serve our London clients in the best way possible. Read more about us.

Our testimonial link / leave us a review on Google.

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