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How to Test Your Sump Pump

During the rainy spring season, a properly working sump pump can be your basement’s best friend. But like most systems in your home, components can fail or malfunction without warning. Most homeowners discover their pump isn’t working when they need it the most - during a storm. Testing your pump on a regular basis can help avoid costly damages to your home and keep your head above water.

Testing a Sump PumpWhat Does a Sump Pump Do?

Generally found in a home’s basement or crawlspace, a sump pump is a system that helps protect your home against flooding. When groundwater around your home’s foundation begins to accumulate from rain, area drains, or other sources, it’s collected in an underground basin. Once the water reaches a certain level, the sump pump activates and pumps the water out of your basement and away from the house.

How to Test Your Sump Pump

Testing your sump pump is a fairly easy process that doesn’t require any plumbing experience. You’ll need a bucket, access to a nearby water source, a flashlight (if the sump pump is in a dark area), and something to clear any clogged pipes (wire hanger, cable auger, etc).

  1. Locate the outlet pipe on the exterior of the house. Inspect for damage and clear any debris to make sure there’s a clear path for water to drain properly.
  2. Find the water basin in your basement or crawlspace and lift the lid (if applicable) to access the sump pump. Inspect for debris or clogs and remove as necessary. Make sure the power cord is plugged in and free of cracks or damage.
  3. Slowly pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the basin until the sump pump activates and removes the water. Do not overfill the basin. The basin won’t completely empty; the water level typically stays around 8-12 inches below the basement floor surface.
    1. For sump pumps with a battery backup, repeat step 3 with the pump unplugged. Replace batteries as necessary.
  4. Keep an eye on the pump’s float switch (if applicable) during testing. This switch should be free of obstructions to ensure consistent operation when the water reaches the correct level.
  5. If the pump is working properly, return to the outlet pipe to confirm the water was sufficiently pumped away from the home.

Your sump pump’s failure to remove the water from your test should require immediate attention. The entire pump can be replaced, or a professional can troubleshoot further to identify if only certain components need replaced (like the float switch).

Periodically testing your sump pump is encouraged for peace of mind that your basement and personal belongings are protected. For additional prevention in high-risk areas, water sensors and alarms are a great investment.

The professionals at Raby Plumbing can help you test, repair, or replace your sump pump. Call us today and schedule an appointment - (918) 224-6471.

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Raby Plumbing does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.

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