How to Troubleshoot Sump Pump Problems

If you have a basement, you should have a sump pump. A sump pump keeps water from backing up into your basement and helps to prevent flooding. It keeps your basement clean and dry. Usually, a sump pump runs smoothly for many years. However, like any other appliance in your home, occasionally something goes wrong. If your sump pump doesn’t seem to be working quite right anymore, use this guide to help you troubleshoot your sump pump problems.

Installing or Replacing a Check Valve

  1. 1. If your sump pump line doesn’t have a check valve, you can add one. Choose a valve that is equal in diameter to the existing drain pipe or larger. You will also need couplings and adapters to connect the valve. Cut out a section of pipe using a pipe cutter or hack saw. Use a metal file or utility knife to clean up the edges.
  2. 2. Now you can install the new valve. Place one of the flexible couplings over the pipe that connects to the sump pump. Place the other coupling over the pipe that connects to the drain. Now add the valve. The valve has an arrow on it that indicates the direction of flow; be sure that the arrow is pointing away from the pump.
  3. 3. To remove an old check valve that is attached to the pipe with an adapter or flexible coupling, use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the steel strap. Then you can twist the coupling off. If the valve has been glued or welded on, you will have to cut the pipe. Cut close to the edges of the valve, and discard the valve.
  4. 4. To reverse a valve that has been incorrectly installed, cut the pipe about two inches from each edge of the valve. If you need to reinstall a valve after reversing the direction of flow, just place the coupling over the remaining pieces of pipe on the valve and tighten the straps.

Clearing the Screen and Impeller

  1. 1. Begin by unplugging the pump and disconnecting it from the discharge piping. Remove the pump from the sump pit.
  2. 2. Take the housing off the pump so that you can get to the screen and impeller. Use a wrench to remove the snaps or bolts.
  3. 3. Clear any debris from the screen and rinse it thoroughly. Check the impeller for any debris that may be lodged in it, and carefully pry the debris out.
  4. 4. Before placing the sump pump back into the sump pit, clean out the pit and remove any debris that could be causing clogs.

Sump Pump Safety Tips

  1. 1. Any time that you perform work on a sump pump, you should always unplug it from the electrical supply first.
  2. 2. If the floor is wet, be sure to wear rubber boots when unplugging the pump.
  3. 3. Use a cover over your sump pump pit. This will protect the pit from foreign objects that could fall in and also protect people from slipping or tripping into the pit.
  4. 4. The sump pump should be plugged into a separate, grounded 15-A circuit. Be sure that the grounding prong on the plug is intact.

If you are having sump pump troubles, call the professionals at Scott English Plumbing. We are available 24/7 to deal with emergencies so that we can keep your sump pump running and prevent a flooded basement. If your sump pump isn’t working properly, just give Scott English Plumbing a call. We will make the necessary repairs promptly.