Time: 2-3 hours
Your home is sewage-free thanks to your ejector pump, but what about all the water from the raining and the pouring (or even just the everyday moisturing)? Keep your home’s foundation safe from all sorts of water by maintaining your sump pump.
*PSA: If your sump pump has a motor sitting just above the sump pit, it’s a pedestal pump, so these instructions won’t do. Sorry. *
What's in it for you?
- Prevent basement floods
- Increase the life of your sump pump
- Get rid of a basement odor source
Maintain Your Sump Pump to Prevent Basement Floods
Find your sump pump (it’s in your sump pit). Look for a covered hole in the lowest point of your basement or crawlspace that’s roughly two feet across and two feet deep. Open up the (sump pit) cover and tada — there’s your sump pump.
Cut the power to your sump pump. If the pump is plugged into a GFI, just unplug it. Don’t see a plug nearby? Find your breaker box — check the basement walls or garage, storage rooms or hallways — and flip the switch labeled sump pump.
Disconnect the sump pump from the check valve. Unscrew the sump pit cover and lift it up. Find the check valve, an irregular-shaped fixture connecting the discharge line to the pipe sticking out of your sump pump. Grab a screwdriver and unscrew the connectors on the check valve’s bottom end. Pull the pipe free so you can remove the sump pump.
Clean the the sump pump. Phone a friend (or a put on a back brace) and lift the sump pump out of the sump pit. (Keep your floor clean by spreading some plastic sheeting down first.) Grab a wire brush and scrub the gunk off the outside of the pump. Don’t forget to scrub the grid-like water intakes around the bottom of the pump.
Clean the sump pit. Grab a pair of rubber gloves, a mask, and some goggles — it’s going to be goopy in your sump pit. Use a wet-dry vacuum to suck up excess water and as much of the glop as you can. Finish the job by using a garden trowel to scoop out whatever is left in the pit.
Put the sump pump back into the sump pit. Lower the sump pump back into the sump pit, making sure the pipe coming out of the sump pump lines up with the discharge line and check valve above the pit. Reattach the sump pump pipe to the check valve by pushing the pipe into the bottom of the check valve. Remember: you’re either screwing the bottom connector back on or retightening the hose clamps from there.
Pro tip: Check the float switch to make sure it can move freely, or your pump won’t start when you need it to. Can’t find it? Look for a metal ball on a metal rod or a bottle-shaped object on a rubber cable.
- Make sure everything works. Plug your sump pump back in and give the “RESET” button on the GFI a firm push to make sure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped (or flip the breaker switch back on). Dump some more water into the sump pit and wait for your sump pump to switch on and empty the pit. Everything hunky-dory? Put the sump pit cover back on and replace the screws.