Castle Home Inspection How To Check A Sump Pump

How To Check Sump Pumps

Friendly reminder from Castle Home Inspection: check on your sump pumps.

What is a sump pump?

A sump pump is a device used to pump water out of a basement, well, or other low-lying area. It’s a water pump with a motor and impeller mounted in a bucket or basin that can be submerged in water. A float switch turns the pump on when water levels rise high enough to activate the system. Your sump pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. If it’s not working properly, you could be in for some serious flooding. It’s a good idea to test your sump pump before you go out of town and after major storms to make sure it’s working properly. Here’s how to check your sump pump and what you should look for when you test it.

Testing Your Sump

Most sump systems have a simple way to test they are functioning as intended. Some sump pumps are equipped with two plugs where the second plug is inserted into the first (the one that goes into the outlet). In this double plug configuration the float powers the pump motor when the water level reaches a certain threshold. To test, unplug and separate the power cables and plug in the pump directly. This should cause your pump to immediately activate and discharge water. If nothing happens you’ve got a problem! 

Other sumps have a float that you can reach and manually lift to activate the pump. If you lift the float and nothing happens you’ve got a problem! Be sure to check the user manual for specific pump instructions, use caution, and follow safety protocols as instructed by your user manual. When in doubt, reach out to a contractor for help.

Additional Steps

Even though during an inspection with Castle Home Inspection our inspectors will check to ensure your sump is functional, checking on your sump pump is a great habit to get into as a homeowner as sump failures can be a cause of flooding. Mechanical components unfortunately can fail at any time. To help safeguard your sump you can install a battery backup system, a high water level alarm system, or even add a second backup pump.

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