Although Portland doesn’t deal with massive flooding like other parts of the country, we do receive enough rain that soggy basements are a relatively common occurrence. In most cases, this is because of a leaky basement foundation, poor yard drainage, or the home has been situated below grade.
If you’ve ever dealt with flooding in your home, you know how destructive it can be. Not only can it ruin the contents of your home, but the structure itself. Wet flooring, baseboards, drywall, and more also become breeding grounds for mildew, mold, and other potential airborne health hazards.
When flooding is a consistent issue, a sump pump becomes a very important part of your home. It will pump incoming water outside before it can damage the inside of a home. While it mostly works on its own, regular sump pump maintenance is needed to keep it operating well. A sump pump is usually located in a crawlspace, basement, or wherever standing water is an issue.
The two most common types of sump pumps are submersible and pedestal. Submersible pumps are placed in a basin at the lowest point of the flooded area. A pedestal pump is placed on top of the surface. While all pumps need a power supply, some are equipped with backup batteries in case there’s a power outage.
Sump Pump Maintenance
As with any appliance in your home, if the sump pump is maintained or regularly serviced, it could conk out when it’s needed most. When you consider that discharge pipes could run 20 feet or more away from the home, there’s a tremendous amount of water that needs to be constantly moving.
If not operating at full capacity, your pump may not be able to do its job. Neglecting your sump pump could lead to disaster: water damage and expensive repairs. In Spring, the soil around your home may be saturated after Portland’s winter rains and all that moisture can lead to excess moisture beneath your home. Here are some important sump pump maintenance tips.
#1: Test it regularly
You can test your sump pump to confirm it’s working properly. Pour a bucket of water into the sump pit: When you do this, the pump should turn on right away. Remove the water from the pit, then shut it off in a couple of seconds. Be sure that the float switch and the check valve can move freely and that nothing is in the way.
In addition, check the discharge line to be sure it is not obstructed or frozen. Also, if the inlet screen is clogged, clear it of any residue or debris. Anything that causes the sump pump to run or work harder than it should may lead to failure.
#2: Change batteries
If your sump pump is backed up by batteries, be sure that the batteries are replaced every two to three years, or as directed by the manufacturer. By performing regular tests, you ensure the batteries are still in good working order.
#3: Sump Pump Maintenance – Keep It Clean
At least once a year, you should take out the pump. Begin by disconnecting it from the power source. Flush it out well with water to remove any standing debris and make sure the pump screen is clean. While it’s out, remove stones, mud, debris, or anything else that is inside the sump pit.
Then put the sump pump back in and reconnect it to the power. Test the unit by pouring a bucket of water into it to ensure the sump pump still functions properly. Regular cleaning and testing will help keep your basement dry even during the wettest months of the year.
#4: Be sure the outside of your home is maintained well, too
Basement flooding can be incredibly damaging. To avoid this, seal any cracks in your walls, windows, or foundation. In addition, clean gutters and downspouts regularly so things can drain properly. Also, make sure that the grading around your home is designed properly.
The ground should slope away from the foundation so water can be washed away. Water buildup can happen quickly. If your home’s exterior isn’t being taken care of, you could see damage in your basement right away. A sump pump works well in normal conditions, but it can’t overcome a faulty design.
If you have done all you can to keep up on your sump pump maintenance and it’s still not functioning properly, contact Meticulous Plumbing. We’re experienced in providing professional plumbing services around the Portland Metro area and can make sure your sump pump gets fixed or replaced quickly.