Spring thaws and rainstorms water your grass and result in lush gardens and thick lawns. But they can also cause serious damage in your basement if the sump pump is not working well. This plumbing support system is a wise addition to your home and does require a certain amount of maintenance for the optimal performance.
Basics of a Sump Pump
Your basement may be equipped with a sump pit. This hole in your basement floor is where the water from your weeping tile collects and helps to maintain a safe level of moisture underneath your basement slab.
The pit is regularly emptied by a sump pump and the water is then pumped away from the house through a discharge line. This system relies on power and the pump action is triggered by a float or sensor within the unit.
What Happens When Things Go Wrong?
There can be a serious back up of water into your home when the sump pump is either not working or has been installed incorrectly. Basement flooding can result in all sorts of damage, from the destruction of furnishings and fixtures to the growth of mold and mildew. Avoiding these situations is well worth the minimal amount of maintenance that a sump pump plumbing support system requires.
Can You Install or Repair Your Own Sump Pump?
The most important issue with sump pumps is the capacity. Deciding on the proper size of sit, pump and pipe depends on the climate, the size and scope of your weeping tile and the location of the water table in respect to your house. Although there may be some guidance out there for homeowners, only a licensed plumber is qualified to do the calculations necessary to choose the best system.
So, the design and installation of your sump pump system are best left to the pros, but what about the repairs and maintenance? There are certain things that ambitious homeowners can tackle on their own to ensure this area of plumbing is operating well.
In the early spring it's a good idea to clean out the pit. Check for sand and debris that may have gotten into the pit due to a build up of ice. Now is the time to clean the screen in the pit as well. And in the summer when the water in the pit may sit stagnant for days, a quick flush out with fresh water is simple. Fill the pit with water from your tap until the pump activates and moves the stagnant water down the discharge pipe.
Check your pump every spring as well, to make sure that it's ready to handle the spring thaw. Wash it annually and pay special attention to the models that operate with an electronic sensor. Check if the float is holding up well — it's time for replacement if the float is cracked or split.
When rains and thawing snow are bringing water uncomfortably close to your home, the sump pump system should do its work to protect the basement and lower the water table to a safe level. This essential plumbing support needs to be professionally designed and installed, but homeowners can easily handle regular maintenance. Keep it reliable and the sump pump system will be of great value to your family.