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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lockwood Plumbing

What New Homeowners Should Know About Sump Pumps

If you have recently moved to a home with a sump pump, you might wonder what these devices do and how they work. Essentially, they protect your home from flood damage by pumping water out of your basement or crawlspace to ensure it can safely drain away. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about this important part of your home's plumbing system.

How Should You Maintain a Sump Pump?

Your sump pump sits in a hole in the basement floor called a sump pit. If water reaches a certain level in the pit, a float switch activates the pump, which drains the water into the sewer or a drainage system outside your home.

Performing annual maintenance will help ensure your pump is ready when you need it. To do this, unplug the pump, remove it from the pit, and inspect it for any rust or corrosion. You can then clean debris out of the pit and ensure the pump's suction screen is clear.

To test your pump, put it back in the pit and plug it in. Slowly pour about a gallon of water into the pit and watch the float switch to make sure it can move freely and activate the pump. When the pump engages, you'll need to check that it drains the water and turns off once the pit is cleared.

How Can You Tell if Your Sump Pump Is Damaged?

Over time, your sump pump can become damaged through normal wear and tear. If you notice an unusual grinding or rattling noise when it runs, it could indicate the impeller, which draws water into the pump, is failing.

If your pump runs continuously even when the pit is empty, it could be a sign that the check valve, which stops water from flowing back into the pump, needs replacing. Fortunately, a professional plumber can repair your sump pump to ensure it is in optimal condition when you need it.

How Should You Use a Sump Pump Safely?

During times of heavy use, your sump pump motor can overheat and pose a fire hazard. To minimize this risk, keep the area clear of combustibles like paint thinner or gasoline. Luckily, most pumps shut off automatically when they get too hot. The pump should then automatically restart once it reaches a normal temperature.

Additionally, your sump pit can also pose a safety hazard, potentially leading to dangerous trips and falls or allowing debris to fall in that could clog the pump or obstruct the float switch. Covering the sump pit helps avoid these issues and protects the pump from damage and additional wear and tear.

If you notice signs of a damaged or unsafe sump pump, contact the experienced plumbers at John Lockwood Plumbing in Ontario, NY. Having served the community for more than 40 years, this family-owned business has the expertise to solve any plumbing repair or installation issue. Call them at (585) 265-0736 to schedule an appointment, or visit them online to learn more about their services.

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