Forgetting to check your sump pump can have some not-so-friendly consequences

Published: Mar. 12, 2019 at 6:07 PM EDT
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(03/12/19) - Much like maintaining a car with an oil change, a sump pump also requires maintenance. If ignored, it can lead to severe consequences.

A sump pump's purpose is to lift water from the ground under your basement floor out and away from your home.

"Right now, the snow is melting and we're coming into the spring, and you get a lot of rain and a lot of surface water. Water may be coming off your roof, so the collection of water is at a much higher rate than it is during other times of the year," Andy Coates said.

Coates, the owner of Coastes Plumbing, says even before you test your sump pump, it's first important to know that it's carrying the water far away like in a ditch or storm drain.

"If the water comes out of your house, you don't want it pooling at the edge of your foundation. It will just run back in and need to be pumped again," Coates said.

If the flow outside is correct, you'll also want to make sure you know the age of your pump.

"The pump should be in new or like new condition all the time otherwise you're at risk, so it's not as simple as I should replace my pump every five or ten years. It's really based on your specific application," Coates said.

Once you've determined a good-working sump pump, you can then do a test run.

"One of the things you want to know is how high should the water get in your crock. Make sure that the water is not coming above that level. Make sure that your sump crock is clean. There's no floating debris in it that shouldn't be there. You can fill it with water with a hose to watch that watcher discharge all the way out," Coates said.

Coates recommends checking it once per year at the very least.

Mother Nature's heavy rains can also be a good reminder to check it before the water floods your basement and your wallet.