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How to Test a Sump Pump

Sump pumps are important to keep your home safe from water damage. During a flood or heavy rainfall, sump pumps remove excess water around the foundation of your home, transporting it away from your home’s perimeter. Properly maintaining and testing your sump pump ensures that it does its job when needed in order to prevent potentially expensive water damage. Testing your sump pump takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require special skills. Here’s how to test a sump pump:

  • Locate the exit pipe that drains out water from the pump outside your home. Inspect the pipe and make sure it’s not clogged with dirt or debris. Also, make sure it directs water away from your home’s foundation.
  • Go to your sump pump, which is usually installed in the basement or crawlspace, near the walls of the foundation. Remove the lid (if it has one) and remove any debris you find to ensure the pump will not clog.
  • 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. Unplug both cords, then plug only the pump cord into the outlet. The pump should turn on immediately. If you hear a humming sound, the pump works. Plug the two cords back as they were (the float cord first, then the pump cord into the back of float plug). Not all sump pumps have two cords, and if yours doesn’t, use the methods below.
    • Pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the pump pit at a slow pace until you see the float rise. At this point, the pump should kick on. Make sure to watch as the water gets pumped out and the pump turns itself off when it pumped all the water. Repeat the test to ensure the pump works.
    • If pouring water into the sump pump is not an option, lift the float with your hand and check that the pump turns on. However, don’t let the pump run for more than a few seconds to prevent damage to the pump motor.

If these methods of testing your sump pump don’t work, have it serviced immediately. Test your sump pump twice a year, before the spring and fall seasons. For professional fire, water, and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.

PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company. Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more. 
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