Sump Pump Maintenance

Get The Most Out of Your Pumps
Sump Pump Maintenance

Sump Pump Maintenance is something that every DIYer can do with a couple of tools and a few materials. You should check the operation of your sump pump quarterly, just to be safe. Sump pumps are relatively simple machines that work, until they don’t.

For quarterly maintenance/check up, simply fill a couple buckets of water and pour them into the pit. You will need enough to lift the float (5-10 gallons is usually enough). Pour the water in and wait for the pump to activate. When it starts running, give it a quick listen, it should sound like a motor running smoothly, no bangs, no grinding, and very little vibration. If you have a second person on hand, have them check the external discharge, they should see the water come out (unless tied into a dry well or it travels underground to a storm drain).

Annually or Biannually depending on your situation, we recommend cleaning the pump with a mild chlorine bleach solution. Mix in a pressure hand sprayer 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. Thoroughly spray the entire pump, the float, and the side walls of the sump pump pit. Allow to sit for 1 hour. Pour the remainder of the solution into the pit and rinse everything very well. Using a can of compressed air, blow out the switch area (where the float is connected to the pump) to force out any debris. This is sufficient for most sump pumps. If you have iron ochre bacteria present (rust colored slime on the pump and/or pit) you will need to do this routine quarterly and may need to hit the pump with a scrub brush to remove the bacteria. Iron ochre bacteria is not harmful to people, but will slowly eat away at the iron housing of the pump and create a slime that can clog the discharge line.

If you have iron ochre present, we recommend having Sump Pump Gurus professionally clean your system annually. Additionally, when we replace or install a pump where it is present, we install an additional cleanout port so the line can be jetted or snaked if needed.