An important part of homeownership is knowing how to test a sump pump.
They are an essential component of the drainage system that can help prevent your basement from flooding.
However, if your sump pump isn’t functioning correctly, you could end up with a messy and expensive situation on your hands.
Here are some quick and easy ways for you to test a sump pump for proper functionality.
Open The Drain Pipe
If your sump pump has a drain pipe located at the bottom of the unit, it’s important to open this drain before testing any other components or valves.
This will allow water to flow freely away from the unit so that you don’t have a backup in your basement.
Check for Clogs
When you notice that you have standing water around the base of the unit, it could mean that something is blocking the pipes.
In order to fix this yourself, you’ll need to use a small stick with a screwdriver attached to the end. Insert the stick into the pipe and pull it along until you feel resistance.
Once you reach the obstruction, simply remove the object and continue pulling the stick through the pipe. Repeat this process until you find what’s causing the blockage.
Check For Electrical Current
After ensuring that there’s no water coming out from the unit, now check for electrical current.
You may need to take one of the wires connected to the unit out of its socket.
Once you do this, plug the wire back into the outlet. Then, flip the switch on the wall socket to ensure that the unit is receiving power.
Test The Valves
Now that you have verified that everything else is working properly, you’ll want to test each valve. First, turn off the power source.
Then, check to see if any valves are closed. If they are, try opening them again to confirm that they’re still working.
Check For Water Flow
Next, check to see if the unit is operating properly by checking for any water coming out of the unit.
If there’s water flowing from the outlet, then the unit should be working fine. If not, proceed to the next step.
Test for water to rise
Test the unit one last time to find out exactly where the problem lies. While you’re doing this, make sure that only one person is holding onto the drain pipe and that there aren’t any objects obstructing the flow of water.
Once the unit starts draining water, stop immediately. If water continues rising up the drainpipe, then you know that the problem is somewhere upstream from the unit. In this case, you’ll need to check the float switch.
Check the float switch
Once you’ve tested everything using these steps, it’s time to check the float switch. There may be a small bubble under the float.
If there is, remove the entire assembly and inspect the float. It should be free-floating. If it isn’t, then you may need to replace the switch.
Replace The Float Switch
If the float isn’t floating properly, then you’ll need to replace it.
This is because the switch has probably become stuck due to debris. Simply unscrew the two screws that hold the switch together and dispose of the old switch. Then, screw in the new one and tighten both screws.
Test The Motor
Finally, you’ll want to check whether or not the motor is spinning. Again, turn off the power supply first.
Then, look inside the motor housing to see if it’s moving. If it is, then everything seems to be working as it should. Otherwise, things might be a little more complicated than they seem.
Before turning on your power source (electricity), make sure that there is no electricity flowing through the unit. If there is, turn off all electrical devices in your home until you’ve tested the unit.
At this point, you should be able to test the sump pump once more to verify that it’s working properly. If it is, great!
However, if the pump doesn’t work after following these steps, then read over your troubleshooting guide again. Hopefully, this should help you figure out what went wrong.
Read More: How to Replace a Sump Pump?
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Sump Pump Troubleshooting:
The Sump Pump Is Not Working Properly – If the sump pump isn’t working at all, then you’ll most likely need to replace it. Unfortunately, replacing an electric sump pump isn’t easy and requires proper training and equipment. You can learn how to do it here.
The Sump Pump Has Stopped Working – If the sump pump stops pumping water, then it could mean that something is clogging the pipes. To fix this, you’ll need to clear the blockage so that the system can function normally again.
Something Is Obstructing The Drain Pipe – Sometimes, you won’t even notice when something gets stuck in the drain line. When this happens, the sump pump will stop functioning properly. To fix this, simply unplug the pump and give it some elbow grease.
The Sump Pump Won’t Turn On – Occasionally, the sump pump won’t turn on. This can happen due to several reasons. One reason for this is that the battery needs to be charged before it works correctly. Another reason is that the wiring harness may have been damaged during installation.
Water Gets Into the Electrical System – If water enters into the electrical system, then the sump pump won’t work correctly. In this case, you’ll need to contact your local electrical company, which may require a licensed plumber.
The Backflow Preventer Isn’t Functioning Correctly – If the backflow preventer isn’t working properly, then it can compromise the effectiveness of your sump pump and put your basement at risk of flooding.
To address this issue, follow these steps:
Inspect the Backflow Preventer: Check the backflow preventer for any visible damage, debris, or signs of wear. Make sure it is properly installed and aligned. If you notice any issues, consider consulting a professional plumber to repair or replace it.
Clean the Backflow Preventer: Sometimes, debris or sediment can accumulate in the backflow preventer, hindering its operation. Turn off the sump pump and water supply, then carefully clean the preventer using a soft brush or cloth. Be gentle to avoid damaging the valve.
Test the Backflow Preventer: Once you’ve cleaned the backflow preventer, test it to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Turn on the sump pump and observe the water flow. The preventer should allow water to flow in one direction only, preventing any backflow.
Check for Proper Sealing: Ensure that all connections and seals in the backflow preventer are tight and secure. Leaks or loose fittings can render the preventer ineffective, so tighten any loose parts as needed.
Replace the Backflow Preventer: If you’ve performed all the necessary checks and cleaning, and the backflow preventer is still malfunctioning, it may be time to replace it. Contact a professional plumber to assist with selecting and installing a new backflow preventer.
Remember, a properly functioning backflow preventer is crucial for the overall efficiency of your sump pump system, especially during heavy rainfall or flooding events.