EI2S Home Inspections

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Sump Pump inspection during the winter?

Have you ever performed a sump pump inspection during the winter months? Why not? Winter is actually a good time to check your sump pump and pit. The reason is that typically during the winter months your sump pump doesn’t run. Without water accumulating in the pit, you have access to it without the risk of flooding your basement.

Clean sump pit with new pump

I always inspect the sump pump and pit during home and commercial property inspections. It seems to be one of those items that nobody thinks about until it starts running again. It’s a very good idea for you to inspect your sump pump and pit periodically.

How to inspect your pump.

Inspecting your sump pump can consist of a simple visual inspection with a quick run, or physically removing the pump, inspecting the impeller, electrical connection, and general condition of the unit. While you have the pump removed, you will want to inspect the check valve to ensure proper function and the condition of the discharge pipe to ensure no leaking has started. The pipes move every time the unit cycles on, so the possibility of leaking exists. Some pumps have screens that should be inspected for debris accumulation.

What pump should I buy? How often?

Sump pumps require periodic replacement due to normal wear. Their service life varies greatly depending on several factors, e.g. number of run cycles, condition of your sump pit (clean or dirty) and brand of pump. The brand of pump you purchase is a personal choice. However, if your pump only runs a few times per year, you may opt for a lower priced unit and proactively replace it on a set schedule, say every 4-5 years. Lower priced units usually have plastic cases and can be priced under $100.00. If your pump runs often, you may opt for a more expensive unit with a cast iron case and stainless steel parts. The higher end units may run in excess of $175.00 but are designed for heavy use and typically last much longer.

To float, or not to float?

Last but not least. If your sump pump does run often throughout the year and you don’t have one already, you might consider installing a piggy back variable level float switch. Installing one of these will dramatically reduce the amount of run cycles and may greatly increase the life of your pump. Again, if you are not qualified, I highly recommend these items be installed by a licensed plumber because improper installation can end up being a very expensive mistake.

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