How to Check If a Sump Pump Is Working

Sump pumps are devices that help keep properties safe from water damage. When a storm occurs, sump pumps remove excess water around the foundation a property, transporting it away. Maintaining and testing a sump pump ensures that it works properly when needed. It takes only a few minutes to test a sump pump and doesn’t require special skills. Here’s how to test a sump pump:

  • After locating the exit pipe, which drains out water from the pump outside the home, it should be inspected to ensure it’s not clogged with dirt or debris. Also, the pipe should direct water well away from the home’s foundation.
  • Any debris found inside the pump should be removed to ensure the pump will not clog. The sump pump is usually installed in the basement or crawlspace, near the walls of the foundation.
  • The first way to test the sump pump is to trace the two electrical cords of the sump pump. The pump cord plugs into the back of the float cord plug. Both cords should be unplugged and only the pump cord should be plugged into the outlet.

If a humming sound is heard when turning on the pump, the pump works. The two cords must be plugged back as they were (the float cord first, then the pump cord into the back of float plug). Since not all sump pumps have two cords, here’s how to test single-corded pumps:

  • Approximately 20 litres of water should be poured into the pump pit slowly until the float rises. At this point, the pump should kick on. While it’s on, the water must be pumping out and the pump should turn itself off when it removed all the water. The test should be repeated to ensure the device works.
  • If pouring water into the sump pump is not an option, the float should be lifted and the pump must be checked that it turns on. However, the pump must not run for more than a few seconds to prevent damage to the motor.

If these methods of testing a sump pump don’t work, it should be serviced immediately. Sump pumps should be tested twice a year, before the spring and fall seasons.